Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Italy to require schools to teach climate change, in world first

Should other nations start requiring schools to teach climate science, too?


Barbara Alper
/ Getty
  • Starting September 2020, public schools in Italy will have to incorporate 33 hours of climate-related lessons into their annual curriculum.
  • Italy's education minister said it's part of an effort to place "the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school."
  • In the U.S., not all states have implemented teaching standards that call for lessons on climate science, but about 80 percent of parents said they support such standards.


Italy is set to become the first country to make climate change education mandatory in public schools.

Starting September 2020, Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti said the nation's public schools will be required to implement 33 hours of climate change-related lessons into their curriculum. These lessons will be added to existing civics classes, Vincenzo Cramarossa, Fioramonti's spokesman, told CNN.

"There will be more attention to climate change when teaching those traditional subjects," he said. "The idea is that the citizens of the future need to be ready for the climate emergency."

Students, associations and movements, in the streets to demonstrate against climate change during the Friday For Future.

Pacific Press / Getty

Sustainable development will also be taught in classes such as math, physics, and geography. Fioramonti told Reuters that his ministry is working to put climate science and sustainability at the center of the national education model.

"I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school," he said.

Pew Research Center

Fioramonti, an economics professor at South Africa's Pretoria University, said he'll work with a group of experts — including Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Harvard Institute for International Development, and Kate Raworth of Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute — to help prepare climate curricula. Fioramonti belongs to Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which in 2018 became the largest individual political party in parliament. In 2018, he was criticized by conservatives for encouraging students to skip classes to attend climate change protests.

​Climate education in the U.S.

Many public schools in the U.S. teach climate science in some capacity. That's largely thanks to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a multi-state effort to raise teaching standards on topics such as evolution and climate change. Since 2013, 19 states have adopted the standards, while some 20 other states have developed similar standards based on "A Framework for K–12 Science Education." California, meanwhile, has its own California Next Generation Science Standards.

One reason some states haven't adopted these standards is a lack of federal funding; without these incentives, it'd be difficult for some districts to update curricula. Climate science also remains politically controversial in the U.S., and there are efforts in at least one state to make it easier to teach students that humans aren't the primary driver of global warming.

Recent surveys suggest that about 75 percent of Americans believe that humans are fueling climate change. A NPR/Ipsos poll from April found that more than 80 percent of parents support the teaching of climate science. A separate poll found that an even higher share of teachers — 86 percent — also supported teaching climate science.

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
Keep reading Show less

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Keep reading Show less
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast