Climate change education enforced in Italian schools by September 2020

A student demonstration in September in Rome demanding action on climate change. The New York Times

A student demonstration in September in Rome demanding action on climate change. The New York Times

The minister of Education, Lorenzo Fioramonti, has announced that it intends to convert to Italy the first country in the world to include the study of the climate crisis in the compulsory education and has explained, in an interview with the agency Reuters, that from September, all schools will dedicate 33 hours per year, in around an hour a week, to address the issue.

The whole education ministry will now be dedicated to climate change education and sustainable development.

In a meeting in his Rome office on Monday, Fioramonti said all state schools would commit 33 hours out of every year, very almost one hour for each school week, to environmental change issues from the beginning of the following scholastic year in September.

"The idea is that the citizens of the future need to be ready for the climate emergency", Cramarossa said.

Other subjects that are taught in schools like Physics or Geography will also be taught in such a way that they promote sustainable development.

With this, the Italian education system will be the first system that puts the environment and climate first before anything else.

Fioramonti, a member of the pro-environment Five Star Movement, is the government's most vocal supporter of green policies and has previously come under fire for proposing taxes on airline tickets, plastic and sugary foods in order to generate funds for education and welfare. Yet the 2020 Budget of Italy did have a tax on both plastic and sugary drinks.

Fioramonti's vision for an environmentally sustainable curriculum comes at a time when young people such as Greta Thunberg and students in groups like Extinction Rebellion are leading the political charge in taking climate change more seriously.

Fioramonti made the announcement during a culture committee of the Italian Senate this week.

Fioramonti, 42, the author of several books arguing gross domestic product should no longer be used as the main measure of countries' economic success, has been a target of the right-wing opposition since becoming a minister in the two-month-old government of 5-Star and the center-left Democratic Party.

For Fioramonti, climate change is just one of Italy's existential threats.

'I want to represent the Italy that stands against all the things that Salvini does, ' Fioramonti said. "We have to build a different narrative and not be afraid of saying something Salvini may not like, because that's why we exist".

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