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How Education Can Help Combat the Climate Crisis

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

For too long, both education and the climate crisis haven’t been prioritised. Whilst we are now seeing more political will on climate change—with many countries committing to net-zero emissions by 2050—the crucial role that education can play in helping the world achieve these goals is still undervalued.

This role was the focus of a recent panel discussion at the Teach for All 2021 Global Conference, which featured Max McCabe, the Education Outcomes Fund’s Chief Operating Officer, alongside a panel of experts focusing on the critical work that the education sector must do to ensure climate education is delivered to all children.

Mr. McCabe shared the story of Harriet Cheelo, who was sponsored by Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) to study agricultural education, enabling her to learn new farming techniques that could be brought back to her community helping them to adapt their traditional methods of farming. Harriet now aids in the running of CAMFED’s first climate-smart demonstration farm in Chinsali, Zambia. This showcases the power of education to help individuals take direct action against the impacts of climate change, and the widespread benefit this area of education can bring to entire communities.

Investing in early-learning education that is accessible for all, emphasising climate welfare and sustainability, will have a domino effect later in life when those children enter the workforce. Mr. McCabe highlighted that currently “1.2 billion jobs are dependent on a healthy climate and eco-system and are at risk due to climate change.” It is essential that workers do not pay the price as we shift towards a sustainable economy. Education is a key component of creating jobs for the future which help communities adapt to the effects of climate change without leaving anyone behind.

Creating hands-on projects in schools, including opportunities for climate literacy, will change the dynamic of school education from learning from the past to learning for the future, demonstrating that “education has always been the greatest adaptive tool for change.” Mr. McCabe closed by noting that education is a fundamental human right, and by ensuring climate education for all children we are supporting a new generation of citizens working towards the systemic change necessary to protect our planet.

“We’ve got to educate to become better stewards for our planet.”

Find out more and watch the conference panels here:


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