Press Release

Campaign Urges Governments at Next Year’s UN Climate Conference to Back Compulsory Climate Education and Literacy

Urgent Action Needed to Equip All Youth with the Knowledge and Skills Needed to Join Green Economy

Washington D.C. — EARTHDAY.ORG today launched a global campaign aimed at ensuring that all students receive quality, wide-ranging, climate education in schools across all grade levels and disciplines.

The campaign encourages governments attending the crucial United Nations climate summit in 2021 to make climate change and climate literacy a core feature of school curriculum across the globe. In addition to EARTHDAY.ORG, early backers range from trade unions and teachers’ unions to environmental organizations, NGOs, and Mayors from around the globe such as the International Trades Union Confederation, National Wildlife Federation, and Labor Network for Sustainability. 

“At COP26, we need stepped up action and ambition right across the Paris Agreement, and that includes ambition in respect to climate education. We need to better educate our children and youth on the science and the risks, but also the excitement of building a better world; generating more good jobs in sustainable businesses and the benefits of being greener consumers and more active citizens. I welcome this global initiative and look forward to it stimulating excitement and enthusiasm among all governments and all sectors of society,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Backers believe the campaign is a critical step to bridge a cavernous gap in society’s response to humanity’s greatest existential challenge.

“Climate and environmental literacy is a key component to protect the planet,” Fr. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Coordinator of the Sector of Ecology and Creation at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

David Edwards, the General Secretary of Education International, the largest federation of teachers’ trades unions, said, “Climate change is the most important issue humanity faces today. Our 32 million members all over the planet have repeatedly raised the alarm, together with youth and students. Our World Congress last year passed a resolution calling for education systems to ensure comprehensive climate change education—that is not happening, and we need to change it.”

Climate education can also help foster a new generation of citizens with the interest and the skills needed for jobs in a growing green economy, to make better, sustainable consumer choices and to hold governments — both national and local — accountable for their decisions.

Kathleen Rogers, President of EARTHDAY.ORG which is one of the key organizations behind the campaign, said, “An educated and civically active citizenry is the best bet the world has for overcoming the climate and environmental emergency. It is the key to building strong communities, an engaged workforce, and the sustainable economies needed for the 21st Century. It has to start in schools, and it has to start now. Together, we can change this.”

Rogers praised the governments of Italy and Mexico for stepping up their ambition in advance of COP26 with measures that underline some of the bold, far-reaching changes needed.

“The goal for all governments at COP26 in the UK next year is clear. Compulsory and assessed climate education is required linked with real-life civic engagement — so what is taught in the classroom is reinforced by real world experience whether it be learning how to install solar panels on a school roof or restoring a degraded forest and will flow out into our companies and higher education institutions,” said Kathleen Rogers.

In a letter to the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa and governments, the campaigners concede that every country must be free to choose their roadmap for implementing climate literacy.

“We also urge governments to find ways and means to advance climate literacy at home and support poorer countries’ efforts to meet their climate education goals,” says the letter.

“Introducing civics and climate literacy tools in the classroom can help those most affected by climate change, the vulnerable and marginalized communities, by building knowledge and skills for the growing green economy,” said Kathleen Rogers. 

Increased Climate Education Backed by Scientists

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier in 2020, researchers argue that education is one of the key social tipping points to realize the aim of stabilizing the Earth’s climate by 2050.

The researchers, drawn from centers in Africa, Europe and the United States, state, “These social tipping interventions comprise removing fossil-fuel subsidies and incentivizing decentralized energy generation, building carbon-neutral cities, divesting from assets linked to fossil fuels, revealing the moral implications of fossil fuels, strengthening climate education and engagement, and disclosing greenhouse gas emissions information.”

Wide-Spread Public Support

There are strong indications of wide-spread public support for a dramatic step up in climate education and literacy, including in schools, worldwide.

A survey by World Wide Views, conducted in close to 80 countries before the 2015 Summit that adopted the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement, found that close to 80 percent of those questioned thought climate education was the strongest policy for reducing emissions followed by action to protect tropical forests.

Earlier this month the views of the UK citizens climate assembly, with people drawn from all walks of life, were announced on how they thought the country could achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The citizens proposed many direct measures such as taxing frequent flyers and reducing red meat consumption, but the overarching recommendation was information and education.

Nations meet in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November 2021 to raise ambition across the areas of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Climate education falls under Article 12 of the Agreement known as Action for Climate Empowerment.

Notes to Editors

EARTHDAY.ORG is driving the campaign for increased climate education and literacy. Learn more here: 

The sign-up letter that will be presented to Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and the more than 190 governments or ‘Parties’ attending COP26, can be signed here: 

For more information on Action for Climate Empowerment, which includes education, please visit:

Media Contacts

Nick Nuttall, International Strategic Communications Director, EARTHDAY.ORG [email protected] 

Olivia Altman, Publicist, EARTHDAY.ORG [email protected]

List of Campaign Supporters

1 Million WomenNatalie IsaacsFounder/CEO
Accelerating Climate ActionRenard SiewCo-Founder
Africa Environmental and Health Advancement NetworkCordelia AdamuFounder/President
African Climate Reality ProjectNicole RodelCommunications Officer 
African Climate Reality Project Amy GiliamBranch Manager
AGEREF/CLMamadou KaramaSecrétaire Exécutif
Alberta Council for Environmental Education (ACEE)Gareth ThomsonExecutive Director
Alliance for Climate Education, ACEReb AndersonDirector of Education
Alliance for Climate Education, ACEMaayan CohenDirector of Partnerships and Campaigns 
Animals Are Sentient Beings, Inc.Sarah StewartPresident
APNEK TUNISIAYoussef kKhelifPrésident
Applied Research Institute-JerusalemJad IsaacDoctor
AquaworldPaul AyomideFounder/Team Lead
Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED)Najib SaabSecretary General
Arab Network Popular Education (EPEP)Elsy WakilCoordinator
Arab Youth Climate Movement QatarNeeshad ShafiExecutive Director
Arava Institute for Environmental StudiesCathie GranitProgram Director
Asociacion Peru Sembrando VidaMrs. Mafalda LeguiaPresident
Association of Science and Technology CenterCristin DorgeloPresident and CEO
Association of Zoos & AquariumsDan AshePresident and CEO
Association of Zoos & AquariumsAmy RutherfordDirector, Professional Development & Education
Australian Parents for Climate ActionSuzie BrownNational Director
Bibi ProductionsBibi RussellFounder
Bow Seat Ocean Awareness ProgramLinda CabotFounder and President
Bulacan State UniversityDr. Richard ClementeDean
Bureau for Rights Based Development (BRD)Khan Agha DawoodzaiExecutive Director
Campaign for Environmental LiteracyJim ElderDirector
Canadian Parents for Climate ActionFiona KozaFounder
Care about ClimateNatalie LucasCEO
Center for EcoliteracyAdam KesselmanExecutive Director
Center for Green Schools at USGBCAnisa HemingDirector
Centro Mexicano de Responsabilidad Global CEMERG, A. C.Ney VillamilSecretary General
Change Can Change Climate Change (C5) FoundationVishnu P RCEO
CinemaplanetaEleonora IsunzaCo-Director
CLEAN NetworkFrank NiepoldLeadership Board Co-chair
Clean-Tech Republik CICHira WajahatFounder
Climate Action Network Uganda
Climate CardinalsRohan AroraExecutive Board Member and Director of Research and Development
Climate DadsJason SandmanCo-Founder
Climate Generation: A Will Steger LegacyKristen PoppletonSenior Director of Programs
Climate Reality Leadership CorpsArby Paulyn Rae DueroClimate Reality Leader
Climate Reality ProjectKenneth BerlinPresident and CEO 
Climate Strike Thailand 
ClimateMamaHarriet ShugarmanExecutive Director
Club of RomeSandrine Dixson-Declève Co-president
Club of RomeMamphela RampheleCo-president
CommunitopiaKatie ModicExecutive Director
Congolese Youth Biodiversity NetworkMarie Nancy ChimanukaMember
Conservation Music LesothoReekelitsoe MolapoCo-founder
Contact BaseAnanya BhattacharyaSecretary
Cork Environmental ForumBernadette ConnollyCoordinator
Design for ChangeSanjli GidwaneyCo-Director
E3 WashingtonSylvia HadnotCo-Chair
Earth Uprising International Alexandria VillaseñorFounder and Youth Staff Coordinator
EarthEcho InternationalPhilippe CousteauFounder
EcoAction ArlingtonElenor HodgesExecutive Director
Eco-Friends AJKGhaznain IqbalCo-Founder
Education InternationalDavid Edwards, PhDGeneral Secretary
EDUCAIñigo OrvañanosPresident
EDUCAMonica CincoGeneral Director
Enab BaladiMasoud BetarPR Officer
Environment AmericaAndrea McGimseySr. Director, Global Warming Solutions Campaign
Environment AmericaWendy WendlandtActing President
Environment Savers of ZambiaEnock MwewaExecutive Director
Environmental Citizenship ProgramMahnaz KadhemiMember
EURONATGuenther Seidel
European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA)Tanya BascombeJoint General Manager
Fondo para la Comunicación y la Educación Ambiental, A.C.Teresa Gutiérrez
Foreldreløftet (Parents’ Pledge)Veslemøy Klavenes-BergeCo-founder
Foundation EarthRandy HayesExecutive Director
Fuji Office Machines FZEAmir AliCEO
Fundación Moisés BertoniRaquel FrattaLider de Iniciativas para la Nueva Economía
FutureSavers Sustainable Development Initiative NigeriaBernard Ogechi DestinyRegional Supervisor
Global Shapers New Delhi HubMitali NikoreCurator
Gray2Green MovementKelo UchenduFounder and Lead Strategist
Green Cross BelarusVladimir ShevtsovDirector
Green HopeKehkashan BasuFounder
Green Our PlanetCiara ByrneFounder and Co-Executive Director
Green societyAsmaa HanafiFounder
Green Vigil FoundationKaustav ChatterjeeFounder
Green Vigil FoundationSurbhi JaiswalTeam Lead
Greenpeace AfricaNhlanhla SibisiClimate & Energy Campaigner
Guardianes De La TierraFrancisco Javier Vera ManzanaresFounder
Happy Community OrganizationJames NjugunaExecutive Director
Hip Hop CaucusRev YearwoodPresident and Founder
Ibdaa Foundation for the Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentDr. Yaser Baazab
Institute for Environmental Policy-AlbaniaEndri HaxhirajExecutive Director
Institute for Nature Conservation in AlbaniaGenti KromidhaPresident
Instituto Tecnológico Superior de XalapaLaura Ruelas-MonjardinDocente
International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges- IAAI GloChaMiroslav PolzerExecutive Director
International Trades Union ConfederationSharon BurrowGeneral Secretary
International Youth Council – YemenAla Mustafa Al-RabeeiEnvironment & Climate Change Program Coordinator
IvyPlus Network, India
Kabataang Lingkod Bayan ng PilipinasRaiza Mae TogadoDeputy National Secretary General
King’s Centre for Visualization in SciencePeter MahaffyDirector
Kupu Hawai’iYvonne YoroProgram Coordinator
Latino OutdoorsLuis VillaExecutive Director
Labor Network for SustainabilityJoe Uehlein President
Let’s Do It IndiaPankaj ChoudharyFounder
Liberian Youth for Climate Actions – LYCAEzekiel NyanforFounder & Executive Director
Malawi National Youth Network on Climate Change( NYNCC).Malango KayiraMember
Mass AudubonKristen ScopinichDirector of Education and Engagement
Moms Clean Air ForceMolly RauchPublic Health Policy Director
Mulanje Mountain Conservation TrustCarl BruessowExecutive Director
National Campaign for Sustainable Development NepalDaya Sagar ShresthaChairperson
National Center for Science EducationAnn ReidExecutive Director
National Children’s CampaignKimberly GutzlerCo-Founder and President
National Council for the Social StudiesLawrence Paska 
National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation – NNOCCILauren Watkins, PhD2021 Executive Chair
National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation – NNOCCIEmily Moberg, PhD2020 Executive Chair
National Wildlife FederationKevin CoyleCounsel to the President and CEO
Netzwerk Schweizer PärkeDominique WeissenGeschäftsführerin
Nikore AssociatesMitali NikoreFounder
North American Association for Environmental EducationJudy BrausExectutive Director
NY Sun WorksManuela ZamoraExecutive Director
Ocean FoundationMark SpaldingPresident
Our Kids’ ClimateFrida Berry EklundFounder and Senior Adviser
Parents for Climate AotearoaAlicia HallNational Coordinator
Parents for Climate Israel
Parents for Climate Israel
Parents for Climate Poland
Parents for Future Germany
Parents for Future Global
Parents for Future UK
PROCASUR Juan MorenoDirector 
Poly Prep Country Day SchoolBrian FiliatrautDirector of Sustainability
Rachel’s NetworkFern ShepardPresident
REEDUCAAna Paula Margain LeónGeneral Coordinator
The Resilient Foundation 
ReversibleRuben CorsCo-founder
RJS/ClimMiti Madina OuattaraBénévol
Rural Environmental Sustainability InitiativeHerbert MurungiOperations Director
Sanctuary Nature Foundation, IndiaBittu SahgalFounder
Sangguniang KabataanMarian Jule CedenoSangguniang Kabataan Federated President
SAVE FoundationWaltraud KuglerProject Director
Schools for Climate ActionNancy Metzger-CarterLead Teacher
Sea CleanersYvan BourgnonPresident-Founder
SEEPSimo RibajChairman
Solar Impulse FoundationBertrand PiccardChair
Soluciones Turisticas Sostenibles STS CR SARoberto Emilio Baca PlazaolaSoluciones Turisticas Sostenibles STS CR SA
Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and William C. Velasquez InstituteLydia CamarilloPresident
Sukaar FoundationGulab RaiSr. Program Manager
Sustainability and Education Policy NetworkMarcia McKenzieDirector
Sustainable Energy and Enterprise Development for Communities (SEED4COM)Clarence Gio AlmoiteProject Coordinator
SustainableOmanAgnes AstolfiFounder
SustainableQATARKatrin Scholz-BarthPresident
Take Action GlobalKoen TimmersExecutive Director
Tanzania youth biodiversity networkZuhura AhmadBiodiversity conservation
Tanzania Youth Biodiversity NetworkRhoda ChausaOrganization Representative
Techno India Group / Y-EastPauline LaravoireSustainability Director
The Community Check-UpRohan AroraFounder & Executive Director
The ErotemeRonnel Franco Landrito
The Global W.E./Global Warming ExpressGenie StevensExecutive Director
The Green GuerrillaMelissa Tan
The Hunger Project MexicoDiana Delgadillo RamírezManager of Advocacy in Public Policy
The Ianna Mallayka FoundationMallayka OddenyoDirector
The Parents’ Climate CommunityEileen McGinnisFounder
The Shri Ram schoolAditya MukarjiSecretary Environment
Timorese Youth Initiative for Development 
Together to protect Human & the Environment AssociationSaadiyah HassoonGeneral Director
Union of Agricultural Work Committeesدعاء زايدسيدة
Universidad Técnica de ManabíDr. Ezequiel Zamora-LedezmaProfessor
Utpravan YF
Våra barns klimatSofia BernettHead of Operations
We Don’t Have TimeIngmar RentzhogFounder and CEO
We Mean to Clean 
Women and Gender ConstituencyBridget BurnsCo-focal point
Women and Gender ConstituencyNdivile MokoenaCo-focal point
YES- Young European SocialistsAlícia Homs GinelPresident
Young Earth Savers ClubAndy AlegreMember
Young Environmental ForumLudwig FederiganExecutive Director
Young Environmental ForumElvira CapiliClimate Reality Leader
YOUNGOMarie-Claire Graf Co-Focal Point
YOUNGOHeeta LakhaniCo-Focal Point
Youth Action for Success and DevelopmentEdward MsiskaExecutive Director
YOUTH FOR OUR PLANETMaurice MungaRegional Mobiliser for Africa
Youth For Our Planet Africa
Youth Strike 4 Climate PhilippinesJefferson EstelaLead Convenor
Yuvsatta (youth for peace)Parmod SharmaFounder
(individual)Thomas Lovejoy, PhDConservation Biologist
Mark S. McCaffrey
Founder of ECOS and Co-founder of CLEAN, the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network. 
(individual)Mayor Mary Casillas SalasMayor Chula Vista, CA
(individual)Mayor Victoria WoodardsMayor Tacoma, WA
(individual)Mayor John DaileyMayor Tallahassee, FL
(individual)Mayor Jorge Munoz Wells Mayor of Lima
(individual)Mrs. Karla Raquel Taboada Falla Jefa de Educación Ambiental Municipal Government of Lima
(individual)Michelle Wyman Energy, Climate and Environment Expert 
(individual)Ricky KejComposer, music producer and environmentalist
(individual)Brenda MwaleEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Jeancy KangunzaEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Aditya DubeyEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Aditya MukarjiEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Batjargal AnkhtsetsegEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Belgutei ChizorigEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Hemang VelloreEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Ridhima PandeyEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Saddam SahitoEARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador
(individual)Sidharth Singh,EARTHDAY.ORG Ambassador