When you think Italy, you probably think charming seafront villas, adorable old towns nestled into rugged countryside, free-flowing wine, and bountiful plates of amazing food.
However, now thanks to a new law, you can think of Italy as the first country in the world that will make the study of climate change in schools compulsory – because it is. The education minister made the announcement on Tuesday.
As Lorenzo Fioramonti stated about the new law, all state schools will be dedicating about an hour per week to the study of sustainability and climate change issues – beginning at the start of the next academic year. This means that about 33 hours per year will see students being educated on our plant’s changes.
The minister said to The Telegraph, “This is a new model of civic education centered on sustainable development and climate change. It’s a new subject that will be taught from grade one to grade 13, from the ages of six through to 19.”
The syllabus is going to be based on the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals and will include such concerns such as how to live more sustainably, how to combat the pollution of the oceans, and how to address poverty and social injustice.
“Italy will be the first country in the world to adopt this framework,” Mr. Fioramonti stated.
“There are countries like Bhutan which focus on happiness and well-being rather than GDP, but this is the first time that a country has taken the UN agenda and turned it into a teaching model,” added the minister, who is a member of the Five Star Movement – a coalition aligned with the center-Left Democratic Party.
Fioramonti was appointed to the role of education minister two months ago when the new coalition was formed in the wake of the previous government’s collapse – which was precipitated by Matteo Salvini of The League withdrawing his support.
In September, after millions of young students around the globe participated in the Fridays for Future marches, Fioramonti caught some criticism for showing support by saying Italian children should be allowed to miss school for the day.
The new coalition is only two-months-old, yet it’s already at odds within itself as the two parties are warring over the 2020 budget, along with a humiliating defeat at the hands of the League in a regional election in Umbria.
The hard-Right League, despite being in opposition, still remains Italy’s most popular party, having secured more than 30% of voter support.
Mr. Fioramonti said he remains confident the coalition will last but that even if it does not, at least his initiative will survive.
“The law has been passed. So unless there is a new government that really hates the law and destroys it, it will be implemented. It goes beyond this government.”
Let’s hope that it lasts. We really need more movement on the climate change front – every little bit of positivity counts.
What do you think of the new law? Wouldn’t it be nice to see something similar implemented throughout American schools? Let us know!
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.