Global Climate Strike: education for the environment


This week many students and young people in Europe and around the world are taking to the streets for Global Climate Strikes, 20-27 September (today in Brussels).

These young people demand meaningful political action on environmental issues. They are worried about extreme weather phenomena, melting icecaps, burning forests and poisoned wildlife.They are looking for solutions, not only outside but also inside the classrooms, asking teachers what can be done to save the environment. Preventing excessive climate change and environmental damage is about changing our economic system. This moment offers trade unions an opportunity to discuss this issue with young people and integrate it into trade union debate, looking at the social impact of climate change.

ETUCE member organisations stand in solidarity with the young people who strike and demonstrate this week for a healthier environment and the sustainable development of our planet. At EU level we should ensure that education trade unions raise their voice in the development of the EU Green Deal.

Education International (EI) has declared a climate emergency in education during the Week of Climate Action and is joining the protest in Brussels on 20 September. This follows two Resolutions addressing the role of education and research in protecting the environment, which were adopted at EI’s World Congress in July EI. A number of European education trade unions (for example in Italy, Spain, and France) are also supporting this call by participating in the demonstrations and promoting it through their media channels. Some ETUCE member organisations (for example in Germany) are also demanding that education authorities officially suspend classes on the day of the strike to avoid holding teachers responsible for students who participate in demonstrations.

What are the key points relevant to education trade unions when it comes to environmental issues?

The Eurydice article ‘How can education contribute to awareness and action on climate change?’ explores the reasons why education about environmental issues and climate change should be integrated into all levels and aspects of education systems.


Want to know more about the link between education and environment?

How can education contribute to awareness and action on climate change? Eurydice, 18 June 2019.

Paris Agreement on Climate Change, 2015.

Not just hot air: putting climate change education into practice, UNESCO, 2015.

‘Changing minds, not the climate: The role of education’, UNESCO, 2017.

EI Resolution ‘Education and Research Play a Crucial Role for the Environment and for the Future of Humanity’, 2019.

EI Resolution 'Defending Education, Sustaining the World', 2019.

EI Guide for Education Unions and Educators ‘Education: A Powerful Tool For Combatting Climate Change’, 2019.

European Parliament Resolution on a ‘European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement’, 2019.

European Student Association (ESU) Resolution regarding climate change, 2018.

ETUC Guide For Trade Unions ‘Involving trade unions in climate action to build a just transition’, September 2018.

ETUC Resolution ahead of the Katowice Climate Conference, 2018.

ETUC Resolution on the ‘Follow-up of the Paris agreement on climate change - ETUC views on COP23’, 2017