Teaching sustainability

Georgia Robinson

She’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, appeared on the front cover of Time magazine and been described as the ‘biggest threat to the fossil fuel industry.’ And she’s only 16-years-old.

“Some people have chosen not to listen to us. That is fine; we are, after all, just children. But you do have to listen to the science [and] the scientists. That is all we ask – just unite behind the science.”

As some of you may have guessed, these opening words were spoken by climate activist, Greta Thunberg (in a speech at the French National Assembly, July 2019). She was referring to the reaction that many politicians, business owners and journalists have had to her – and other young activists – campaigning for immediate action against climate change.

As she addresses above, Greta’s opposition have often pointed to her youth to discredit her. However, when you consider that children will be the most affected by future environmental conditions, it’s only natural to see why young people are so passionate. 

So how can we help nurture bright young minds like Greta’s?

Inspiring younger generations and developing their sustainability skills 

Global Perspectives is a relatively new subject that is on the rise; it teaches integral skills through the study of modern issues. For example, topics in Cambridge IGCSETM and O Level Global Perspectives include education for all; poverty and inequality; sustainable living; and the impact humans have on the planet.

But knowing about current affairs is just the beginning. Where Global Perspectives truly provides the most value, is not only through teaching students about sustainability, but allowing them to critically analyse information and communicate valid arguments. In this way, it underpins all other school subjects by developing students’ transferable skills – skills they can use in English, maths, science and even when they leave school. You’ll often hear these kinds of skills referred to as ‘21st century skills’.

Global Perspectives empowers learners in an ever-changing and information-heavy world. Learning how to collaborate and communicate with others on a wide range of global issues is integral to this empowerment because it allows students to find their voice. Only by considering other people’s opinions can we truly understand our own way of thinking.

What do I believe in? What do others believe? Why? These are all important questions for students developing into globally minded individuals. An important element in our Global Perspective series for Cambridge IGCSE and International AS & A Level is the focus on different perspectives – not only global, local and personal, but also cultural perspectives and appreciating cultural diversity.

Future of education

There’s nothing quite like watching a young person expressing passion for a subject; their eyes sparkling, speech quickening and hands waving excitedly – it’s a joy to see! 

If we are to tackle the environmental, economic and social issues facing humanity today, we need to harness this energy and encourage the Greta Thunbergs of tomorrow.   

If you want to know more about the benefits of teaching Global Perspectives, get in touch with your local sales consultant today or browse our books and digital resources.