Education and the Environment

‘This is not a superficial makeover, replacing like with like; it is a metamorphosis – Rosalind Readhead

‘Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognising the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement.’ – Article 12, Paris Agreement

Our education system must teach the truth and prepare us for the future, because we are the future’ Teach the Future, UK Student Climate Network

Key policies

  • Fundamental to our democracy is to tell the truth: This means educating everyone about the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Both the science and the implications of the science. Building awareness.
  • Information must be communicated in ways that are easily understood by all citizens, whatever their age, ethnicity or sex. Tailoring the message to communities. Neither assuming knowledge nor coming across as patronising.
  • We will need to re-purpose the entire English education system around the climate emergency and ecological crisis. It is insufficient to include climate change in only in a few subjects. Teachers will need to receive retraining to fully grasp the new curriculum.
  • It will be very important to provide ‘Vocational courses in colleges to reskill the workforce to deliver the transition to a low carbon economy (e.g. retraining of plumbers away from gas fired boilers to solar, heat pumps, battery installation, etc.)’
  • Furthermore every citizen will need a customised pathway to net carbon zero. Citizens will require emotional as well as practical support to navigate this rapid transformation. Some may need extra counselling services.
  • Education and counselling will be backed up by a free (updated) handbook by Mike Berners-Lee on the ‘Carbon Footprint of Everything’ to help inform our lifestyle choices within a net zero carbon budget.
  • Conferencing facilities will be set up in every local library to facilitate education, awareness and global discussion.
  • Every citizen will need an understanding and awareness of the law of ecocide.
  • As Mayor of London I will take a leadership role in communicating this public information. And walk the talk, leading by example

Public information

How can we live within planetary boundaries?

What is a circular economy? How can we minimise pollution? How can we live without plastic? How can we eliminate waste? For instance how can we recycle steel from redundant fossil fuel cars into cargo bikes? Using recycled steel rather than high carbon primary steel. How can we recycle cement rather than extract high carbon new cement?

How can we ensure we have a reliable, safe water source?

High water usage in London is drying up our invaluable chalk rivers and putting ground water supplies at risk. How can we use water more efficiently? For instance low carbon 3 minute showers. How can we reduce the current average Londoner water usage of 140 litres per day down to the average Danish citizen of 80 litres per day? How can we install and use rain harvesters?

Preparing for net carbon zero lifestyle

Learning about the carbon footprint of a wide range of goods and services. Understanding what are the low carbon options. Acquiring basic carbon budgeting and carbon accounting skills to live within a net zero carbon budget.

How to cut energy use

Learning heating (keeping warm) and cooling (keeping cool) skills. The World Health Organisation recommends 18/19C room temperature for health unless you are a pensioner. Our current tropically heated homes and public buildings are sweltering in up to 25C. Often windows are opened, even in Winter, to cool buildings.

Jevons paradox means we use ‘efficient’ gas boilers as an excuse to ramp up temperatures and use with abandon. This means we don’t bank energy savings. We must not use ‘efficiency’ ‘renewables’ or ‘clean’ energy as an excuse to use more of something.

Likewise we often don’t fully understand UCE (upfront Carbon Emissions, sometimes known as embodied energy /embedded carbon) For instance Electric cars only break even with petrol cars once they’ve been driven further than anyone should drive. i.e. not a solution at all, but a way of continuing to cause all the problems caused by cars. Every km driven makes things worse, in every car

We must learn how to design and use data /software efficiently. Avoiding embedded videos and using black and white compressed images. Video on demand is a high energy user. Emails can be very carbon intensive. How to minimise an email carbon footprint by minimising attachments. Texts are low carbon but mobile calls are very high. How to use data sparingly. How device choice, broadband or 3G 4G increases data and energy use. How to travel via maps rather than use Google maps etc on the 3G 4G network.

What new skills will we need to minimise our carbon and ecological footprint. ?

Learning about regenerative agriculture and localised food growing. Understanding food security, nutrition and seasonal food. Learning to cook from fresh, using seasonal, local produce. Learning about plant, tree, bird, insect and animal identification. Understanding biodiversity and how to build resilience. Learning gardening skills without using damaging tools like leaf blowers.

Cycling and map reading skills. Building temporary shelters, repairing climate related damage to buildings and infrastructure. Flood protection. Survival skills. Learning mending skills : Repairing Electric appliances, clothes, basic home DIY Sailing, rowing and swimming skills. Community skills. How to engage in democracy and build communal resilience. Interpersonal skills. What is a healthy democracy? Enjoying low carbon art, poetry,dance, music, sport etc

The Mayor of London must lead by example

“It is really important that scientists, or other messengers who communicate with the public, model those behaviours that reduce carbon emissions to drive their point home,” – Professor Elke Weber, Princeton University.

This may explain why Greta Thunberg has succeeded more than others at communicating the climate crisis and galvanising social action. Thunberg has insisted on individual change—and modelled it—while advocating systemic change. Effective communication of climate science and advocacy of both individual behaviour change and public policy interventions are greatly helped when advocates lead the way by reducing their own carbon footprint. We find that people are more likely to support policies if the advocate for these policies has a low carbon footprint. Our new finding is that their carbon footprint also affects audience support for public policies advocated by the communicator. Some are just waiting for systemic to replace individual change. This study suggests that those who continue with this approach undermine their work’s message.”

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