Stone Soup Leadership Institute

Why is Climate Education Important?

While world leaders called for climate action at the 78th U.N. Assembly and business leaders at the 15th Climate Week, 75,000 young people — including many from our book, Stone Soup for a Sustainable World: Life-Changing Stories of Young Heroes — marched in New York City and millions around the world joined the 5th Global Climate Strike to fight for the future of our planet.

Just one week later, New York City was ravaged by flash floods during Friday’s rush hour. This challenges us all to reflect on how far we have come and what we must do to respond to this climate crisis.

We discovered important clues in the Institute’s 2023 Progress Report on Climate Education

Climate education affects us all. Scientists, universities, nonprofits, NGOs, and concerned parents agree that climate change is real: see IPCC Report. Young people hunger for solutions to the climate crisis. According to The Lancet, Planetary Health, 84% of young people have Climate Anxiety.

The U.S. is in the beginning stages of educating young people about climate change and sustainability solutions. European and Asian countries led by Portugal, Spain, Finland, Greece, and South Asia have been teaching climate education since they pledged to use the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a benchmark to focus their initiatives at the Paris Agreement in 2015.

So why aren’t we farther along? Our 2023 Progress Report on The State of Climate Education in U.S., Europe & South Asia  investigates the main reasons why teachers might not incorporate climate education into their lessons:

      • 66%: a lack of expertise or training.
      • 51%: a shortage of climate education resources.

With more and more young people suffering from climate anxiety, now is the time for urgent climate education. We know that young people want to make a difference when it comes to the climate crisis and a big step forward would be schools and teachers implementing climate education into their curriculum.

Let’s engage our leaders to bring these educational tools to our schools – and act with the urgency of NOW so teachers can lead the way to empowering their students to discover innovative solutions to global climate change.