The North of Tyne region in northern England is apparently one to keep an eye on when it comes to driving forward the fight against climate change.
The combined authority has announced plans to make it the first place in the world to have a UN-accredited teacher for climate change in every state primary and secondary school.
“This is our opportunity to be the first region in the world to meet the UN sustainable development goal,” said Jamie Driscoll, new mayor of the North of Tyne combined authority, who declared a climate emergency on his first day of taking office in May.
“It’s also a manifest commitment to give every child a world-class environmental education, and to make such progress so soon is fantastic,” he added in a statement published on Tuesday.
Kids will get lessons of global warning and the climate crisis, their impact, and strategies for mitigating and adapting to the impact.
The project is being led by Dr. Meryl Batchelder, a teacher a Corbridge Middle School in Northumberland, who said that educating children is the best way to promote understanding of the environmental problems facing the world.
“The Industrial Revolution started in the North of Tyne and now the Green Revolution begins in the North of Tyne,” said Batchelder, who’s also a UN Sustainable Development Goals ambassador.
“Education on climate change is essential for everyone in the north-east to understand the seriousness of the situation,” she said, adding that it would mean “that all schoolchildren will be given accurate, relevant information on the causes and effects of global heating.”
“Pupils also need to be aware of possible climate change mitigation strategies and adaptation measures,” she said.
She said that students would become more climate conscious with the help of the teachers — and could be the drivers of the green solutions of the future.
The combined authority has teamed up with a UN teacher training scheme called EduCCate Global, which approached them to ask for support for a regional launch of the Climate Change Teacher Course, according to the authority’s statement.
The eventual aim of the initiative is to have a UN-accredited climate change teacher in every school across the UK.
They’re trained up with an online course that takes about 15 to 20 hours, and covers areas like climate change science, adaptation planning, health, forests, climate change finance, and international negotiations.
The first 80 UK teachers have already completed the course, according to education specialist Melanie Harwood, while a further 1,973 UK teachers are working towards it — and up to 50 teachers a day are reportedly signing up.
“Young children are far more vulnerable to climate-related disasters and associated health risks than any other social group,” Harwood added. “We need to give them the tools to understand the effects of a changing climate so that they can take well informed and effective action in the future.”
“In these days of a climate emergency, now more than ever, teachers all need the knowledge… to ensure to deliver clear climate literacy to all their pupils,” she said.
The move comes after more than two-thirds of teachers in the UK polled this year reportedly said they wanted to see more teaching on climate change in British schools.