A new DfID Topic Guide is available that "sets out the existing knowledge around the links between education, climate and environment [and] highlights the two-way relationship between these key areas." These include:
- The risks and opportunities posed by environmental and climatic factors on educational supply and demand at all levels (primary, secondary, tertiary) and modes (formal and informal).
- The role education and educational infrastructure can play in building the resilience of communities (particularly poor and vulnerable population groups) to climate and environmental change, and
- The potential opportunities provided by low carbon technology and environmentally-sensitive construction and design in that process.
Whilst there is much in this guide, I was disappointed not to find a decent summary. It ends with a list of "opportunities". See what you think:
Research and policy in education, environment and sustainable development – these areas have a long and rich history – beginning in the 1960s – which represent a wealth of knowledge and expertise on approaches to teaching and learning, curriculum development, and working with diverse communities around the world on environmental issues. The lessons learned from this research are directly applicable to educational responses to climate change, and emerging research on education, climate change and resilience represents a significant new area for future learning and development.
International networks of EE/ESD educators – these rich communities of practice, knowledge and understanding can be usefully drawn upon in formulating educational responses to climate and environmental change. Tapping into this expertise can help to build local and national capacity as well as to support mutual and organisational learning. Examples of key networks include the MESA network in Africa, UNESCO schools networks, the UNESCO Teacher Education Network, Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO’s network of ESD educators and facilitators, and United Nations University’s Regional Centres of Excellence in ESD.
Existing national ESD strategies – As a result of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development most countries now have national ESD strategies, although in many cases these have yet to be embedded or implemented. These existing policy frameworks provide important opportunities for embedding climate and environmental issues within educational programmes, and these can be usefully drawn upon and further strengthened in the future.
International community of DFID-funded development, educational, environmental and climate change experts and students – This includes a number of large alumni networks which could also be drawn on for further expertise and action in their home contexts. The UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, for instance, was established in 1959 and awards over 900 scholarships and fellowships for postgraduate study and professional development to Commonwealth citizens each year. These stakeholders and experts are well placed to provide locally relevant and culturally appropriate support and advice.
Wider policy linkages – Links are also increasingly being made between international efforts in education and the environment, quality, and Education for All (cf. Wade and Parker 2008; UNESCO 2014; Education First Initiative). Although the details of the post-2015 international development agenda have yet to be fully determined, there are also clear indications that greater attention will be focused in the future on the links between education quality and sustainable development (cf. UNESCO & UNICEF 2013). The convergence of these key international agendas – and their shared objective of providing education which develops human potential to address future change and challenges – provides excellent opportunities for innovative interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral collaboration.