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Italy Will Make Climate Change Required Learning in Schools

Starting in September 2020, students in state schools will be required to have 33 hours per year of courses that incorporate climate change, sustainability, and environmental footprints.

Italy is set to become the first country to add a mandatory curriculum for schools that focuses on studying the climate crisis.  

Starting in September 2020, students of all grades in state schools will be required to have 33 hours per year of courses that incorporate climate change, sustainability, and environmental footprints. Traditional subjects will also incorporate elements of climate study like geography, math, and physics. 

The decision comes as youth around the world have been mobilizing and protesting lawmakers’ inaction on the climate crisis. Millions of people joined global climate strikes in September.

Italian Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti said in a tweet that he wants “Italy to become a leader against climate change.” He’s been an avid supporter of fighting the climate crisis, and was criticized by his opposition in the past for encouraging young people to take action, and for his proposed taxes on airline tickets, sugary foods, and plastic. 

“The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the education model,” Fioramonti told Reuters. 

Fioramonti is also a professor of economics at South Africa’s Pretoria University and has written books about gross domestic product no longer needing to be the country’s main source of success. 

A panel of experts will help build the new curriculum, including Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of Columbia University's Center for Sustainable Development, and American writer and economic and social theorist, Jeremy Rifkin. 

A spokesperson for Fioramonti said the idea of the new course study is to get young people ready for a climate emergency in the future. 

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