Learn for our planet: What you need to know

10/05/2021

It is no secret: The way we live is not sustainable. Our planet is facing multiple interconnected crises caused by human behaviour. We are depleting the planet’s resources. Climate change is affecting us and all species, damaging ecosystems and leading to unprecedented environmental degradation. 2020 was the hottest year on record. One million species are at risk of extinction. The long, alarming list goes on. If we continue to live the way we do today, we will need the resources of three earths by 2050.

 

What is ‘Learn for our planet’?  

Learning is key to finding solutions and creating a more sustainable world. Transformative education is the long-term solution to help change the way we live and care for our planet. Yet, not all learners today are receiving the adequate tools and knowledge to be empowered to act for the planet. 45% of national education documents studied by UNESCO made little-to-no reference to environmental themes including sustainability, climate change and biodiversity; Less than half of those documents mentioned climate change.; and only 19% made reference to biodiversity. This must change.

That is why at the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO is launching a campaign – learn for our planet - calling on the world to invest in education for sustainable development and ensure that it is embedded in learning systems globally. For the survival of our planet, we need to #LearnForOurPlanet.

What is Education for Sustainable Development?

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) equips and empowers learners with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to act for the planet and address the global challenges we face. Through education, students are encouraged to be responsible actors who contribute to creating a more sustainable world. ESD promotes personal and societal transformative action in learners of all ages by providing them with the tools to design new sustainable systems and ways of living. ‘ESD for 2030’ is the global framework for this new decade of Education for Sustainable Development, aiming to address environmental, social and economic unsustainable practices and help transform society through education.

What is the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development?

The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development is a virtual event which will be held from 17 to 19 May 2021 in Berlin, Germany. It will gather decision-makers and professionals from the world’s education and sustainable development communities with the aim of enhancing awareness on sustainable development challenges and reaffirming global commitments to ‘ESD for 2030’. A key aspect of the Conference will be the promotion of transformative education to support learners to be responsible and active contributors to more sustainable societies and a healthy planet.  

UNESCO initiatives to engage citizens in ESD

Launched in September 2020, UNESCO’s Trash Hack campaign encourages young people to learn about sustainability through tackling waste. Trash Hacks are small things you can learn for the planet to help you act and live more sustainably. Thousands of young people around the world have been joining UNESCO to Trash Hack their homes, schools, communities and change the world.

The UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for sustainable development is awarded to exceptional projects that help people learn for our planet. It consists of three annual awards of US$ 50,000 for each recipient. The Prize and award winners recognize the role of education in connecting the social, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Meet and be inspired by our previous laureates and other exceptional projects.

 

Across the globe, a multitude of local and international projects are drawing on the energy and determination of citizens to bring about positive change. UNESCO Green Citizens is a platform promoting a selection of change agents across the globe. These innovative that can be easily replicated.

 

Photo: UMB-O/Shutterstock.com