IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE professor joins event looking at how to improve climate change education

5 October 2021

Professor Nicola Walshe has taken part in a British Council event today discussing the importance of climate change education across the curricula and beyond.

Protest for global environmental challenges and the role of education. Olivia Colacicco/Unsplash.

Professor Walshe joined as a panellist along with educators and environment leaders from the UK and Saudi Arabia in advance of COP26, the United Nations climate change conference that will be held in Glasgow, Scotland between 31 October and 12 November 2021.

The panellists talked about the integration of climate change in school curricula, and the need for a holistic approach that draws upon a range of disciplines and areas of expertise. They also examined the strategies needed for climate change education and the importance of decision makers developing and implementing relevant policies and strategies that can be integrated in education plans and budgets. The speakers stressed that to promote climate change education, it is crucial to strengthen teachers’ and educators’ capacities to deliver accurate information, integrate local content, promote critical thinking about and take action on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The event also covered the role of the physical learning environment in climate change education and the importance of green, safe and sustainable campuses.

Professor Walshe said: “As we look towards COP26 the global impact of climate change has never been clearer, and yet there remains considerable variation in how children and young people are educated about it in schools.

“While movements, such as the School Strikes, demonstrate the passion with which young people can engage with climate change action, the lack of education in many contexts brings about misconceptions as to the cause of climate change at best, and a sense of disempowerment and existential anxiety at worst. As such, climate change education has a critical role to play as part of the broader global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent further catastrophic climate scenarios, but it also needs to respond to emotional responses, such as climate-related anxiety, and empower children and young people to address climate change individually and collectively, now and in the future.”

In the build up to COP26, UCL has launched Generation One. Over the next few weeks leading up to COP26 and beyond, we have a full programme of activities and opportunities to get involved.



Photo by Olivia Colacicco on Unsplash