Romania pushes to add climate change education in schools

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s president wants to add sections on climate change and environmental issues to the national school curriculum to allow students to learn more about the challenges the world is facing due to climate change.

President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday launched a public debate on a 141-page proposal and attended a meeting at the presidential palace about it with Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, the Romanian Ministers of Environment and Education, teachers, students and non-governmental organizations.

The report suggests increasing the amount of climate change and environmental education students receive, creating a national network of 10,000 environmental “mini inspectors”, supporting nature-based activities and to create digital learning materials on climate change.

The report’s longer-term goals include improving the sustainability of school infrastructure and halving the carbon footprint of schools by 2030.

“Education is one of the pillars of improving the response to climate change, because education leads to changes in human behavior, in the direction of greater responsibility to protect nature and the future of society as a whole,” Iohannis said Tuesday.

“What we want more than anything is to pave the way for a change in mindset…we all want a clean, litter-free environment,” he added.

Gabriel Paun, chairman of environmental group Agent Green, welcomed the report and said it was “of the utmost necessity”.

“Our generation failed to save the climate, but at least we can give the next a fighting chance with the best tool available, which is education,” he told The Associated. Press.

He said Romanian politicians now “lack ambition” in their efforts to tackle climate change.

According to the European Commission, 41% of funds from the EU’s Romania recovery and resilience plan – 29.2 billion euros ($33.1 billion) – are allocated to “measures that support the transition green,” including phasing out coal-fired power over the next decade.

“Although we still have a long way to go in the public consultation process… the report presented today allows us to start preparing now,” said Ciuca, the prime minister.

“What we have set out to do – which is to change the behavior and mindset of an entire generation – is a long process,” he added.

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Helen D. Jessen