Curriculum and Learning for Climate Action

Toward an SDG 4.7 Roadmap for Systems Change


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The world is on a track to true climate catastrophe, with unprecedented heat, floods, wildfires, and storms setting new records almost weekly. To avoid a climate disaster, we need rapid, transformative, and sustained action as well as a major shift in our thinking—a shift strong enough to make the climate crisis a center of our social, political, economic, personal, and educational life.

Curriculum and Learning for Climate Action is one of the best scorecards in comparative education for keeping track of this drama as it unfolds, shedding light on the global climate crisis like no other education writing today. This book turns to our curricula, our education systems, and our communities for a response on how to effectively achieve Target 4.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Universal Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), and Global Citizenship Education (GCED). The message from key stakeholders, including students, educators, and leaders of civil society, is driven home with passion and uncommon clarity: We can and must stave off the worst of climate change by building climate action into the world’s pandemic recovery.
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  • Introduction From Roadblocks to a Roadmap
Radhika Iyengar, Ph.D. (2011), Teachers College, Columbia University, is the Education Director at the Center for Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University. She directs many international education programs across sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia.

Christina Kwauk, Ph.D. (2014), University of Minnesota, is a Fellow at the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. She authored Roadblocks to Quality Education in a Time of Climate Change, on which this edited volume builds.
Foreword: Towards a Sustainable Future: Integrating Climate Change into Curriculum
Yao Ydo
Foreword: Climate Action: Transformative Change to Build Forward Better
Jeffrey D. Sachs
Notes on the Contributors

Introduction: From Roadblocks to a Roadmap: Transformative Education Pathways to Radical Change in the Midst of Climate Breakdown
Christina Kwauk and Radhika Iyengar

PART 1: Toward Education for Climate Action as the Priority

1 A Student Reflects on Her US Environmental Education
Alyssa Dougherty
2 Implementing a School-Wide Ban on Single-Use Plastic Cutlery in a New Jersey Elementary School: A Case Study on the Scope and Limitations of the Role of School Leadership in Incorporating Sustainable Development Practices into a School Agenda
Nidhi Thakur
3 A Whole Institution Approach to Climate Change Education: Preparing School Systems to Be Climate Proactive
Kristen Hargis, Marcia McKenzie, and Isabelle LeVert-Chiasson
4 Radical Transformation of Universities to Prepare the Next Generation of Climate Champions
Irena F. Creed, Meghna Ramaswamy, Matthew Wolsfeld, Stryker Calvez, Murray Fulton, Karsten Liber, Darcy Marciniuk, Jacqueline Ottman, Nancy Turner, Laura Zink, Erin Akins, Kevin Hudson, Jamie Bell, Autumn LaRose-Smith, and Jory McKay

PART 2: Toward a More Radical Vision of Education for Climate Action

5 UNESCO’s Framework “ESD for 2030”: An Ambitious New Initiative for Massive Transformation
Alexander Leicht and Won Jung Byun
6 Climate Change as Quality Education: Global Citizenship Education as a Pathway to Meaningful Change
Ricardo Roemhild and William Gaudelli
7 The Elephant in the Room: Why Transformative Education Must Address the Problem of Endless Exponential Economic Growth
Chirag Dhara and Vandana Singh
8 Learning to Recycle Isn’t Enough: Youth-Led Climate Activism and Climate Change Education in the UK
Richa Sharma

PART 3: Toward (E)quality in Education for Climate Action

9 Toward a Transdisciplinary, Justice-Centered Pedagogy of Climate Change
Vandana Singh
10 A Call for Transformative Learning in Southern Africa: Using Ubuntu Pedagogy to Inspire Sustainability Thinking and Climate Action
Yovita N. Gwekwerere and Overson Shumba
11 Ecology-Based Curriculum Design for Transformative Times: An Integrated, Context-Responsive Approach
Elisa A. Hartwig
12 Eco-Conscious Community Development in Non-Formal Education
Tara Stafford Ocansey and Emmanuel Nuetey Siakwa

PART 4: Toward Greater Accountability in Education for Climate Action
13 Perspectives from a Young Voice on Making Schools and Individuals Agents of Change
Kiana Carlisle
14 The “Ecosystem” of Education, Engagement, and Environmental Action in Higher Education
Isabelle Seckler
15 A Path to a Green Future
Ishaan Bharadwaj

PART 5: Toward Empowering Teachers as Agents of Climate Action

16 ESD in Malaysia: Challenges and Strategies
Pravindharan Balakrishnan
17 Educators’ Perspectives on Environmental Education in India: A Case Study in School and Informal Education Settings
Haein Shin and Srinivas Akula
18 Toward Education for Sustainable Development: Lessons from Asia and the Americas
Estefanía Pihen González
19 Empowerment, Resilience, and Stewardship as Learning Outcomes: Recalibrating Education to Nurture a New Generation of Climate Activists
William Bertolotti

PART 6: Conclusion

20 Roadmap to Transformative Change and the Achievement of SDG 4.7
Radhika Iyengar and Christina Kwauk

All interested in Sustainability, International Education, Environmental Education will find this book useful. This includes researchers, students, policy makers, global practitioners, as well as think tanks, and donors.
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