The question of sustainability education is not a simple one - although some might present it as such. Every student in the United Kingdom is taught about the causes of climate change, different forms of energy, greenhouse gases, global recycling processes, and more. But is this enough to equip young people to take the lead on solving complex, global issues relating to energy and the climate, which often involve varying interests, opinions, and cultural perspectives?
For sustainability education to truly prepare our students for the future, we need to give them the opportunity to apply every area of their learning to the climate emergency - from statistics in mathematics to communication in language acquisition.
What is sustainability in education?
Earlier this month, our Sustainability Project Leader, Martyn Steiner, took the lead on London Live to press the need to embed climate education into our curriculum. Martyn explained that it's "context, not content" that we need - for example, or analysing the campaigns of green charities and politics in English. Watch the interview on London Live!
Beyond science: empowering students to use their voice
Subjects from English to History can be used as catalysts for talking about global change. Martyn’s article in Ham and High delves into examples and ideas for this kind of teaching in further depth.
“At Halcyon, we emphasise the importance of teaching climate change as context, not content - finding ways for learning about it to be embedded across the whole school curriculum in topics that are already being taught.
All schools have full curriculums and busy teachers, so finding room to incorporate separate, disconnected, pro-environmental content into courses is unachievable as well as undesirable.”
COP26: Our Model United Nations team tackles climate justice
Encouraging young people to use a variety of knowledge and skills to address climate change has a positive influence on their confidence and their enthusiasm as problem-solvers.
Halcyon's Model United Nations club has always been a popular extra-curricular activity among our students. As engaged global citizens, our young learners find that MUN is an excellent way to find out about new perspectives and practice problem-solving - and putting themselves in the position of COP26 delegates is a great opportunity.
During our mock COP26 conference, students took the position of nations to discuss an agreement for transitioning to a cleaner global economy. The session featured a strong discussion of MEDCs (More Economically Developed Countries) honouring their commitments to LEDCs, particularly in the area of developing policy around fossil fuels, coal, and the transition to green energy. By selecting nations to lobby and nations to ally with, our students showed an impressive awareness of the impact of international inequality. We applaud our students, Mr Ashraf, and Ms Lodhi on this insightful conference.