Italy injects environment into curriculum

Katie Ramirez
November 10, 2019

"There will be more attention to climate change when teaching those traditional subjects", he explained.

Until August, 5-Star had governed Italy for more than a year with the nationalist League party, led by Matteo Salvini, who is still the country's most popular politician, and who has a skeptical view of climate change.

Now when kids show up to school next September, they'll have about an hour a week (or 33 hours per year) of a climate-change-related course.

Speaking earlier to Reuters news agency, Fioramonti said all state schools would dedicate 33 hours per year, nearly one hour per school week, to climate change issues.

On the very day Washington formally withdrew from the 2015 Paris climate accord, Italy announced that it will become the world's first country to make the study climate change and sustainable development compulsory in schools.

Fioramonti is from the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and has been an outspoken supporter of green and progressive policies.

"The entire ministry is changing so that sustainability and climate are at the centre of the educational model", he said.

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"I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school".

"That's the kind of nonsense we want to avoid by educating children that this is the most important challenge humanity has ever faced", Fioramonti said. He said the ministry will be ready to train teachers by January.

The New York Times reports that the school curriculum will be developed in part by environmental experts.

The syllabus will be based on the United Nation's 17 sustainable development goals, including how to live more sustainably, how to combat the pollution of the oceans and how to address poverty and social injustice, among many others. Additionally, the Earth just experienced it's hottest-ever October, and the Trump administration started the formal process this week to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord - a pact in which almost 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases.

Fioramonti came under fire in September after encouraging schools to permit students to skip school in order to participate in climate protests.

"The 21st-century citizen", he said, "must be a sustainable citizen".

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