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About

We are Students For Survival, a new group led by secondary school and sixth form students from across the UK who have had enough of inaction on the climate crisis. We demand the education system Teach Us The Truth. In today’s rapidly-evolving society and deteriorating climate, we cannot be taught information just to sit an exam- then forget it all immediately. We want the truth laid plainly: something we will value and remember for the rest of our lives. We will not leave school until we learn the truth: take action with us on March 14 at your school and demand the truth.

Who we are?

Teach us the political and economic truth.

The climate and ecological crisis stems from political and social injustice. Teach us to face these root causes and develop our respect for other ways of life.

Teach us the skills to adapt to a deteriorating world.

The climate and ecological crisis stems from political and social injustice. Teach us to face these root causes and develop our respect for other ways of life.

In order to effectively and holistically carry out this education, we demand:

1. The climate and ecological crisis is included everywhere across the whole curriculum* and exam syllabi for primary and secondary education.

 

The root causes and current / future impacts of the climate crisis must be taught in depth, addressing issues such as climate justice, economics, intersectionality and consumerism. This means the whole truth runs through the entire curriculum, not just Geography and Science.

2. There is compulsory annual national teacher training for all staff in primary and secondary education about the science, root causes and impacts of the climate and ecological crisis we face, and how to support and teach students about this.  

 

70% of teachers feel they haven’t received adequate training to educate students about climate change.

3. Climate education is integrated into every school’s informal curriculum, and tools are given to schools to enable this. (E.g. documentary screenings in schools, outdoor / nature focused school trips, facilitated discussions, expert speakers talking to students)

 

*The climate crisis is the current global temperature increase caused mainly by greenhouse gases from coal, oil and gas. 

*The ecological crisis is the spoiling and destruction of nature caused by humans, which is also damaging our planet.

*The curriculum is the plan of lessons to be studied - it is set by government.

Letter to the Dept. of Education

Targets

Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP

Secretary of State for Education

Rt Hon Daminan Hinds MP

Minister of State for Schools

The Secretary of State for Education is responsible for setting the program of study (curriculum) of each subject, and announcing changes to the curriculum. Our letter is addressed as such to the Secretary of Education.

The Minister for Schools is responsible for the quality of education and regulation of schools; we demand the quality of climate education be raised and examined upon with the vigour and scale needed.

Dear Gillian Keegan, Secretary of State for Education,

 

UK school students have one simple demand: Teach us The Truth.

 

The Climate and Ecological Emergency is putting the future of every young person in the UK in jeopardy. In November 2023, average global temperatures exceeded 2℃ and as we speak, irreversible tipping points are being crossed. (1) We, the next generation, must be prepared to mitigate the worst outcomes of the climate crisis, adapt our relationships with the planet and each other and build resilient societies.

 

Our education system insufficiently guides us in these respects and so we demand an immediate change in the teaching of the climate crisis, as well as the social and economic systems which fuel it.

 

Our three demands are: 

 

Teach us the scientific truth.

Teach us the science behind the climate and ecological crisis. Develop our skills to live with and mitigate it.

 

Teach us the political and economic truth.

The climate and ecological crisis stems from political and social injustice.

Teach us to face these root causes and develop our respect for other ways of life.

 

Teach us the skills to adapt to a deteriorating world.

Teach us to become citizens of the future - by teaching us the skills to slow the climate crisis and how to adapt to and cope with the massive challenges we face as well as remembering ourselves as a part of nature.

 

In order to effectively and holistically carry out this education, we demand that: 

 

  • The climate and ecological crisis is included across the whole curriculum* and exam syllabi for primary and secondary education. The root causes and current / future impacts of the climate crisis must be taught in depth, addressing issues central to our futures such as climate justice, economics, intersectionality and consumerism. This means the whole truth runs through the entire curriculum, not just Geography and Science.

 

 

  • Climate education is integrated into every school’s informal curriculum, and tools are given to schools to enable this. (E.g. documentary screenings in schools, outdoor / nature focused school trips, facilitated discussions, expert speakers talking to students).

 

This involves creating an atmosphere geared towards taking climate action, but also calling on schools to do assemblies, workshops and events to facilitate discussion. In addition, implementing concepts like eco-anxiety and ecocide into the PSHE curriculum.

 

We also call for climate education to be taught through an intersectional lens, that of climate justice - one that acknowledges the multifaceted nature of the problem and the roles of certain social, economic and political systems in fuelling the climate crisis. By demanding the truth about this crisis, we also demand to learn the truth about the global and social inequalities that make it possible. Climate change is a product of the continued material and cultural exploitation of poorer, more vulnerable countries; for example, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest to produce meat, palm oil, and other goods for our country has harmed many indigenous tribes at a time when durable environmental practices should be learned from indigenous people. This is a long-term impact of Western settler-colonisation (2) - another issue amiss from the curriculum in a country so diverse, where so many students’ lives and histories are shaped by colonial history. Our curriculum divides these topics by subject and we demand to be taught the links.

 

Moreover, discussing climate solutions like electric vehicles, recycling and renewable energy is encouraged in school, but teaching is often misleading, inaccurate and overlooks critical details: despite a public emphasis on recycling - less than half of our country’s waste is recycled (3) - and accountability is avoided by exporting it to poorer countries. We demand to be taught the truth about the true impacts of our actions and that effective, long-term change must come from economic and political change. 


 

Attempts to educate the public on these issues, by various organisations, have been publicly subdued by the Department of Education due to the groups’ political affiliations (4) and condemnation of political decisions harming the planet. This is a harmful infringement of free speech and encourages closed-mindedness. We demand the right to use sources telling us the truth and educate ourselves if the curriculum won’t.

 

Our current education system undermines the scale of the crisis and prevents it from being coherently or wholly taught, instead focusing valuable lesson time on comparatively trivial subjects in a manner objected to by over 50% of teachers. However we don’t blame our teachers, we blame the national curriculum and exam syllabi they are obliged to teach. As students, we must be educated to find the courage and skills to tackle this, and today’s other linked social crises. Adults are failing us: we are stepping up.

 

The national curriculum is therefore the crucial factor in significantly improving the quality of climate education, and it must also serve as a link allowing schools to unite for action. We demand that our education equips us with the skills needed to adapt to a bleak future by taking an approach centred on compassion, cooperation and community.

 

We believe a better world for all is possible and we will be the generation to make that happen. We demand to see our future - our survival - taken seriously in our education system. If the current government will not clean up the mess it has made then we have the right to be taught to clean it up ourselves.

We are angry that you are failing us. If we don’t get a meaningful response to our letter within 2 weeks we will take action into our own hands in our own schools across the UK.

 

For Our Futures,

Students for Survival 

Respond to: studentsforsurvival@protonmail.com

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