Italy to make teaching climate change compulsory at school

Italy’s Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti

Italian students in every grade are about to get schooled in the climate emergency facing our planet.

"This is a new model of civic education centred on sustainable development and climate change", the minister told The Telegraph.

According to Reuters, all state schools would dedicate 33 hours per year, nearly one hour per school week, to climate change issues from the start of the next academic year in September.

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. By January, he said, the ministry will be ready to train teachers. Elementary-aged children will learn using what he called a "fairy-tale model" that connects the environment to stories from different cultures.

According to a report in United Kingdom newspaper The Telegraph the syllabus will be based on theUnited Nations' 17 sustainable development goals, including how to live more sustainably, how to combat the pollution of the oceans and how to address poverty and social injustice.

Italy will become the first country in the world to require climate change studies in classrooms alongside reading, writing, and arithmetic.

One cold spring day in Milan, Salvini, then the interior minister, appeared to trivialize climate change.

The Italian Minister's proclamation came at the same time U.S. President Donald Trump officially announced that America would be withdrawing from the landmark 2016 U.N. Climate Accords agreed in Paris during the Obama administration because it disadvantaged American businesses. "We are turning on our heaters". "And I want to secure this before there is any change in government that can imperil that kind of process".

"I have asked schools to consider as justified the absence of students who take part in the global mobilization against climate change", he wrote in a Facebook post at the time.

Still, many Italians are concerned that 5-Star's emphasis on environmental issues - or, perhaps, its failure to pursue such goals competently - is destroying the country's economy.

This month, Italy faced a new economic emergency when the foreign operator of a steel plant in southern Italy, Ilva, said he would retire because the Five Star-led government had made a decision to end criminal immunity for environmental violations, even when the company sought to clean up contaminated facilities.

One environmental activist expressed reservations that Fioramanti's plan may be too dogmatic.

'I want to represent the Italy that stands against all the things that Salvini does, ' Fioramonti said.

Mr. Fioramonti has also pushed for additional pro-environmental legislation in the government, including increased taxes on plastic and airplane tickets with the tax revenue going to battle climate change problems.

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