Climate Change

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Climate change is one of the biggest threats that we all face today. Everywhere, including in the UK, climate change is causing disruption, such as the increases to rainfall and temperatures that are impacting people’s lives and properties. Some people and populations are more vulnerable, and experience impacts more frequently and with greater severity. We are already on the path to warming so are going to experience more and more extreme weather, and urgent action is needed now and within this decade to ensure we limit further climate change and protect people and future generations from the changes that are already occurring.  

Tackling climate change is essential for ensuring a healthy future for our children and provides many opportunities to change for the better. Climate change can affect our physical and mental health in many different ways, including directly through extreme weather events (e.g., heatwaves, drought, fires, rainfall, storms, and flooding), and indirectly through impacts on the wider environment (e.g., diseases, food quality and availability, and air pollution). These things can also have knock-on effects, impacting work and income, and also causing people to become displaced. Addressing climate change has co-benefits on health, for example, reducing emissions reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution, and reducing emissions through measures such as active travel can also have additional benefits for respiratory and heart health. 

We know that children and young people care deeply about the environment, and climate change and inaction is a source of increasing anxiety. As key organisations within communities, schools have an important role in moving towards a more sustainable and liveable future as well as supporting pupils in the here and now. Increasing access to and improving the quality of education around the climate can promote the behaviours and attitudes needed to make the rapid changes that are necessary. Education is also a major strand in the UK’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, with a new GCSE in Natural History planned for 2025 focusing on environment and sustainability.  

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