Environmental education, essential to address the climate crisis

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Today is World Environmental Education Day, an event that aims to highlight the value of environmental education as a key factor in the development of the environment. key tool for raising awareness of environmental conservation among the world’s population and the problems associated with their lack of protection if appropriate measures are not taken.

An empowered and informed citizenry has the knowledge, skills and motivation to drive, both individually and collectively, the search for solutions to environmental challenges.

The origin of this world day dates back to the International Seminar on Environmental Education, organized in 1975 in Belgrade. This event, which brought together representatives from 60 countries, established the principles of environmental education within the framework of the UNESCO/UNEP International Environmental Education Program. During the closing day, the Belgrade Charter, a declaration containing guidelines and demands in relation to the environment and education, was adopted.

Education plays a fundamental role as a driver of social transformation and, consequently, education and sustainability must go hand in hand. According to professor and writer César Bona, “the big change is going to come from the schools upwards because education is where it all starts, what we are and what we want to be, and sustainability is where we need to go”. This expert in pedagogy, who starred in the ninth episode of Naturalmente, the Fundación Biodiversidad podcast, argues that the participation of children and adolescents is essential when facing environmental challenges.

Despite their importance, many educational curricula continue to fail to incorporate environmental concepts in primary and secondary education. This is according to the report “Learning for our Planet“, published by UNESCO in 2021, which analyzed the educational plans of 46 member countries. The result indicates that more than half of the curricula made no reference to climate change and only 19% mentioned biodiversity issues.

Thus, environmental education is an element to move quickly and actively to scenarios of social, economic and environmental sustainability and thus achieve a more just society. In this context, the Environmental Education for Sustainability Action Plan (PAEAS) is a strategic planning document that establishes the objectives and lines of action for Environmental Education for Sustainability to be developed between 2021 and 2025.

This document, prepared jointly by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) and the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports, proposes a plural, participatory plan open to society, offering useful, practical and achievable guidelines to contribute to a healthy and sustainable society-environment relationship.

The Biodiversity Foundation, in addition to coordinating some of the actions of this Plan, supports different projects with environmental education actions and has generated spaces for public participation where changes in lifestyles adapted to the climate emergency and a just ecological transition are promoted.