Italy’s education minister, Lorenzo Fioramonti, recently announced that its public schools would soon require all students to study climate change and sustainability, a step he said would put Italy at the forefront of environmental education worldwide. The lessons will initially be inducted into the curriculum as part of the students’ civics education and will gradually transcend into a variety of subjects. Fioramonti called it a “Trojan Horse”- seeking to infiltrate almost all subjects.
While environmental advocates in Italy lauded the initiative, they also presented some pressing concerns. Edoardo Zanchini, vice president of Legambiente, Italy’s leading environmental group, said that while teaching children about sustainability is definitely important, people must, in the process, not forget that all responsibility cannot simply be passed on to children. He reminded how “Science tells us the next 10 years are crucial,” and that “We cannot wait for the next generation.”
Minister Fioramonti has a popular history as member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which puts environmental concerns at the heart of its identity. He has already been a target of conservatives for backing taxes on sugar and plastics, and for encouraging students to take part in climate protests last September instead of attending class. “The 21st-century citizen,” he said, “must be a sustainable citizen.”
Explaining the proposal further, he explained that “Starting in September 2020, teachers in every grade will lead lessons in climate change and environmental sustainability. That 33-hour-a-year lesson, he said, will be used as a pilot program to ultimately fold the climate agenda of the United Nations into the entire curriculum. Merely studying place names and locations in geography class? Forget that,” Fioramonti said. “Geography courses will soon study the impact of human actions on different parts of the planet, too.” he said.
5-Star, until August had governed Italy for more than a year with the nationalist League party, led by Matteo Salvini, who remains as the country’s most popular politician, and is skeptical of climate change.
But with President Donald Trump’s drive to pull the United States out of the landmark Paris Agreement this week, Fioramanti said that every country needed to do its part to stop the “Trumps of the world” and that his ambition was to show children there was another way.
Tags : Italy, Climate Change, Paris Agreement