New Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education sets out bold vision at launch event
26 April 2022
The launch event for the new UCL Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education (CCCSE) took place today (26 April 2022) as a new survey revealed that parents say their children are more worried about climate change than any other issue.
The event focused on the urgent need to equip teachers with the expertise to prepare young people for a climate-altered future and mapped out the Centre’s mission to transform climate change and sustainability education in schools.
CCCSE, based at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, is the first of its kind in the UK. It will conduct high-quality research into climate change and sustainability education and use it to create professional development for teachers and school leaders. Central to its work will be bringing together interdisciplinary expertise across UCL, as well as its national and international partnerships.
The event featured a range of speakers, including a keynote from Children’s Commissioner for England Dame Rachel De Souza. Professor Nicola Walshe, Executive Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education, and UCL President and Provost Dr Michael Spence also spoke at the event.
Professor Walshe set out the vision for the Centre and stressed the value of CCCSE working with a range of stakeholders, including teachers, young people, school leaders, researchers, NGOs and corporate businesses. She also highlighted the importance of ensuring every training opportunity and resource is research-informed and reviewed regularly to build confidence amongst teachers in a rapidly changing landscape.
The event took place on the same day that it was reported children are more concerned about climate change and the environment than racial and gender inequalities, crime, homelessness and Brexit. This was revealed in Public First poll of more than 1,000 UK parents that was commissioned by CCCSE.
Fifty percent of parents chose ‘the need to protect our environment and climate’ as one of the three topics that were most important to their child. This was above crime, chosen by 31% of parents, and racial discrimination, chosen by 27%. Forty-two percent of parents said that they had spoken to their child about climate change, compared to 29% who had spoken to their child about crime and 28% who had spoken about racial discrimination.
Professor Nicola Walshe said: “Young people’s lives will be affected by climate change and their future shaped by our actions over the next ten years. There is, therefore, an acute need for school students to deepen their understanding of the environment, of our place within it, and of climate change and climate justice, and to consider a range of alternative narratives about sustainable lifestyles. However, these ideas are complex and potentially overwhelming, they include, but also extend far beyond, the science of climate change, and they can lead to eco-anxiety or even fatigue and indifference.
“For this reason, there is an urgent need to support all teachers at all stages of their development so they can better support young people in ways that are honest but also empowering. Our new centre aims to do just this and ensure every child and young person in this country and beyond is fully supported to understand, engage with and face with confidence and without anxiety, the climate crisis we are facing.”
- Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education
- Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
- View Professor Nicola Walshe’s research profile
- View Dr Alison Kitson’s research profile
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 8515
Email: rowan.walker [at] ucl.ac.uk