Italy to include climate change on school curricula

Lorenzo Fioramonti, Italy's Education Minister, announced his decision to require 6 to 19 year olds to have a minimum of one hour a week on topics like ocean pollution, sustainable living and renewable resources as well as to incorporate the environmental theme across the Italian curriculum.

From next year, Italian school students in every grade will be required to study climate change and sustainability, in an attempt to position the country as a world leader in environmental education.

"The entire ministry is changing so that sustainability and climate are at the centre of the educational model", he said.

His proposal also reflects political divides within Italy: In September, Five Star Movement formed a ruling coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party in order to keep out the right wing League Party, led by Matteo Salvini, from the government. He said the ministry will be ready to train teachers by January.

According to a report in United Kingdom newspaper The Telegraph the syllabus will be based on theUnited Nations' 17 sustainable development goals, including how to live more sustainably, how to combat the pollution of the oceans and how to address poverty and social injustice.

He has been criticized for advocating for taxes on sugar, plastic, and flying, and for encouraging students to leave school to take part in the climate strikes last September.

In the first, schools in Italy will have sustainability and climate crisis as a compulsory subject in their curriculum.

One cold spring day in Milan, Salvini, then the interior minister, appeared to trivialize climate change. "We are turning on our heaters".

This, Fioramonti responded, is exactly "the kind of nonsense we want to avoid by educating children that this is the most important challenge humanity has ever faced". It's crucial that they are educated on climate change and school is the best place to start. Such a move could cost Italy more than 8,000 jobs.

Chicco Testa, president of the Assombiente environmental group, urged officials to ensure that children are exposed to varied opinions, including those who claim that climate change is not primarily caused by man. "Listening to people who say different things is good", he said.

"Italy will be the first country in the world to adopt this framework", Fioramonti told The Telegraph.

Fioramonti said that despite initial opposition to his ideas, the government seemed increasingly invested in greener policies.