One in five young people are so worried about climate change, it gives them nightmares, a poll of 2,000 eight to 16-year-olds found last year.
The survey, commissioned by BBC Newsround, also showed that 41% of young people don’t trust adults to tackle the climate crisis.
With statistics like these, it’s little wonder that psychologists say they are treating increasing numbers of young people with ‘eco-anxiety’.
Looking at the state of our planet, this anxiety is understandable.
There’s been a 68% decline in the populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians over the last 40 years. And in under 30 years, 1.3 million square kilometres of forests have been decimated – the equivalent of 800 football fields in an hour.
Our young people feel a sense of burden for the future of our planet and deep concern about the impact of environmental destruction on their futures. At the same time, many feel resentful of the lack of action on climate change and frustrated that their voices too often go unheard.
It’s for these reasons that we at EVERFI have launched a new course free for UK schools and aimed at 11- to 14-year-olds – Sustainability Foundations.
We’ve designed the course to empower young people by showing them that they can make environmental choices that are not just good for them here in the UK, but good for those living on the other side of the planet too. Crucially, the course teaches young people to think critically about the world around them and to consider our responsibilities when it comes to earth’s precious and limited resources.
We’re now looking for environmentally-conscious businesses interested in supporting the roll-out of this free course across UK schools.
Like all our courses, Sustainability Foundations is interactive and can be done at a pace suitable to each student.
The content has been written and developed by subject specialists and then tested and reviewed by UK teachers. All teachers using the course receive comprehensive impact reports that show how much their pupils have learnt and understood. The course is based on robust evidence and has been successfully used in the US and adapted for the UK.
Sarah Wood, a science teacher in Scotland, was one of a number of teachers who tested the course. “I love the games that have been used to engage pupils – it makes the learning meaningful and memorable,” she says. “The teacher guide is also clear and the lesson structure is extremely helpful. The course is exactly what teachers are looking for.”
How my business can get involved
If you or your organisation is interested in supporting our Sustainability Foundations course in schools across the UK, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us here and we’ll be in touch.