Students help write youngest MP’s Climate Education Bill
Parliament’s youngest MP Nadia Whittome has introduced a new bill that would see climate change and sustainability taught throughout the national curriculum in schools. The 25-year-old Nottingham East MP said young people needed to be prepared for the future and it would be a failure for them, and the planet, if they were not given more lessons about human impact on the climate crisis.
Her Ten Minute Rule Bill, backed by Conservative Education Select Committee chair Robert Halfon, the Green Party’s
Caroline Lucas, Liberal Democrat Layla Moran and Labour’s Yvette Cooper, was co-written by students from climate education group Teach the Future.
Presenting her bill to the Commons, and in front of students watching from the public gallery, the Labour politician said: “If our education system isn’t preparing young people to help mitigate and deal with the impact of climate change then it is failing them.
“If it isn’t teaching them the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the net-zero society, then it is failing them.
“If young people are not taught to understand the impact of human interaction with the natural world, the need to maintain bio-diversity, and cut our carbon emissions, then it’s failing them and our planet.”
The proposed legislation, called the Climate
Education Bill, would make climate education mandatory throughout the national curriculum, rather than being restricted to specific subjects.
Whittome said the 2050 net emissions zero target would fall in the middle of current young people’s working lives, so it was important primary, secondary and vocational students all received more help to prepare.
A Department for Education spokesperson said climate change was already firmly established in primary and secondary school curriculums, adding: “By 2023, all teachers in all phases and subjects will have access to high-quality curriculum resources, to further support the teaching of sustainability and climate change.”
The Bill passed its first stage and has its second reading in January.