Adult education has a critical role to play in combatting climate change, not only in supporting changes in behaviour but also, and much more crucially, in giving people the means to challenge, change and galvanize political will, argues Paul Stanistreet
You know that moment
in a disaster movie when a TV anchor conveys the terrible news that the world
is facing a catastrophic threat and hope is all but lost. Well, it happened
yesterday for real. The funny thing is, hardly anyone noticed.
4 April 2022 may go
down as one of the darkest days in the late history of humanity, a marker not
only of our inhuman treatment of one another, the harrowing cruelty of war, but
also of our failure to act on climate change, despite a mountain of evidence
and the starkest warnings yet from climate scientists that we are passing the
point of no return when it comes to staving off its worst effects. Continue reading →
The devastation caused by floods in Europe is a wake-up call with regard not only to climate change, but to lifelong learning too, writes Paul Stanistreet
At the time of writing, the death toll from the
sudden, catastrophic flooding in western Germany and Belgium has passed 170,
with many more people reported missing. Thousands have lost their homes, after two
months of rain fell in just two days, causing buildings to collapse and large swathes
of terrain to be submerged under water. Roads crumbled and landslides reshaped
the topography, all in a matter of hours. It was a demonstration both of the ferocious
destructive power of nature and of the reality of the climate emergency.
Experts predict that extreme weather will become more common as a result of climate change. For people in the Global North, largely sheltered from the worst effects of the climate crisis that have thus far fallen disproportionately on the poorest, the events of the past week have been a shocking, heart-rending lesson. As Malu Dreyer, the Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate, noted, climate change is ‘not abstract any more. We are experiencing it up close and painfully’. There are no safe places; no exemptions for the wealthy. Continue reading →
As we mark World Environment Day 2019, Jennifer Kearns-Willerich argues that lifelong learning must be at the heart of our efforts to live sustainably
The significant gap between where we are today and where we want to be by 2030 is nowhere more evident that on the issue of climate change.
As the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all, observed, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s call for ‘urgent action on climate change’ to ‘support the needs of the present and future generations’, is some way from being heeded, with environmental sustainability a still-distant prospect and the gears of policy still seemingly stuck in neutral when it comes to the climate crisis.
Education and lifelong learning, the report contended, have a central role to play ‘in the creation of a green and inclusive economy with sustainable models of production and consumption, and new and retooled sectors, industries and jobs’. They also have an important part to play in changing hearts and minds and galvanizing political will. Continue reading →