COP 27 and Education

December 12, 2022

The recent COP 27 meeting in Egypt continued to highlight important issues of Climate Change and its associated problems for human survival (eg. climate justice issues and biodiversity loss).  But in the global efforts to come up with manageable solutions, I see education as a key missing component.  

My ongoing collaborative research (funded by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and sanctioned by the BC Ministry of Education and the BCTF among others) hopes to richly describe both the promise and practice of environmental learning topics, such as Food Literacy, Climate Solutions and Place-based Education in BC through a multi-year effort of teacher action research. Fundamental to this is to imbed ideas and actions related to Climate Education and Remediation throughout the BC K-12 curriculum. Partners affiliated with the Institute for Environmental Learning (IEL) in BC, as well as a network of linked international researchers, envision this as a collaborative engagement project which can develop, model and then evaluate an environmental learning framework through a series of linked domestic case studies.

As an active representative of several education groups in BC, and as the lead writer for the earlier Environmental Learning and Experience document published by the BC Ministry of Education in 2007, I feel passionately that this framework will need to be continually revised in accordance with renewed curriculums and with the changing expectations for educational processes in this province. I envision that a revised handbook will explicitly engage with the fact that Place-based education is an expectation of many jurisdictions, while acknowledging that First Nations Principles of Learning and processes linked to the core competencies (e.g. Social Responsibility) would be logical starting places for augmenting the current focus for environmental learning. 

Consultations with local BC teachers on these issues have already begun. Because action research is an emergent process, IEL members are attending partner workshops and events and listening to teachers about how they see topics such as Food Literacy and Climate Education unfolding in local K-12 curriculums.  Once our data is collected, we will review the research, select a writing team, share drafts for review with educators, and then publish our revised educational resources and case study materials.  The publication of a renewed framework for environmental learning will then be followed by an essential curriculum and eco-system mapping process that will identify where the interdisciplinary opportunities for topics such as Food Literacy and Climate Change education may be imbedded in the K-12 curriculum.  This process would be followed by an intensive program of teacher professional development.

Learn more about Dr. Zandvliet's ongoing collaborative research here