Making climate education mandatory in schools would “prepare young people for the future”, a Labour MP has suggested.
Nadia Whittome said that if the education system “isn’t preparing young people to help mitigate and deal with the impacts of climate change, then it is failing them”.
The MP for Nottingham East told MPs: “If it isn’t teaching them the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a net zero society, then it is failing them. If young people are not taught to understand the impact of human interaction with the natural world, the need to maintain biodiversity and cut our carbon emissions, then it is failing them and our planet.
“This bill aims to put this right, to prepare young people for the future and this bill is what young people are demanding.”
Ms Whittome’s speech was watched from the public gallery by school students from the Teach the Future campaign.
Young people, she said, would “continue to miss out” while teaching about the climate remained voluntary, and teachers needed to be “supported to deliver climate education”.
She added: “So this Climate Education Bill would make climate education mandatory, embedding it across the national curriculum and ensuring all teachers receive teacher training.
“It would be intertwined with every subject, a golden thread that runs through a young person’s schooling, just as the climate crisis and our actions to tackle it will run through every aspect of our lives.”
Her Climate Education Bill would integrate climate change and sustainability matters throughout the primary and secondary school curriculum as well as in vocational training courses.
She said: “We must decide, do we want to be remembered for what we did or for what we failed to do. Young people’s futures depend on us, we must not let them down.”
It was listed for a second reading on January 28 next year but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.