Although the actual leader of the global action against Climate Change is a Swedish teenager who screams out her anger against older generations, we want to kick-off the year 2020 with a forward looking message of hope and commitment on the role of education in increasing the environmental awareness of adult citizens, who can become real factors of change and role models in the world wide fight against Climate Change. Indeed, during the next three months, whoever has an active role in Adult education is invited to publish or suggest blog posts, news, events and resources on Environmental Awareness, as well as to take part at the next EPALE online discussion, whose date will be announced soon.
From the UNFCCC to the SDGs
The moment when the international concerns about global warming was translated into the first UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dates back to 1992, the same year of the European Union creation with the signature of the Maastricht Treaty and its following ratification from the members States. It is not a surprise then, if the Environment and its safeguarding has always represented a key priority for the Union that has continuously updated the policy agenda in consideration of the recommendations included in the UN protocols (Kyoto 1997) and accords (Marrakech 2001).
Addressing global climate change takes more than just science, moreover a holistic approach cannot be separated by including education as a strategic pillar for the achievement of successful results. Therefore, first with its Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014 and then with the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in 2014, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has invested a lot of efforts and resources in helping people understand and address the impact of global warming, increasing “climate literacy” among different target groups and empowering women and men to adopt sustainable lifestyles.
This long-lasting preparatory action has culminated in the most recent 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its famous 17 global goals, whose 169 targets will keep us occupied in training and raising the awareness of EU citizens for the next 10 years.
How to engage adult learners in Environmental related initiatives?
Within this political and educational framework, adult education organizations are called to prove themselves in designing new pedagogical approaches to increase the engagement and awareness of learners in environmental related programmes and initiatives. The European Commission has included a specific Horizontal Priority on environmental and climate goals for the selection of KA2 strategic partnership project proposals in 2020. Several EU wide networks and associations are launching topic-related working groups, such as for example the Europeana Network Association, which has inaugurated the ENA Climate Action Group to sensitize and mobilize cultural heritage professionals. Finally, it is worth mentioning the many coordination activities that are operating at local and national level in member states, among the others: the Danish Network for Sustainable Development Education and the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development.
Looking forward to receiving numerous contributions from EPALE users on good practices on Adult Environmental education and awareness, we encourage you to explore two precious resources for online learning: UN CC:e-Learn, a ‘one-stop-shop’ for accessing climate change learning resources and services offered by the UN system, and the eduCCate Global platform, an online Climate Change Teacher Training Academy.