Panel L.02 — Climate change, education, social justice: main characters, processes, educational implications
Convenors Monica Guerra (University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy); Gabriella Calvano (University of Bari, Italy)
Keywords Climate change, sustainable development, ecological awareness, education, social justice
In an ever-changing world, humanity faces complex challenges. Among these, the climate crisis and the consequences of climate change play a prominent role. For a long time, climate issues have been approached primarily through the natural sciences. However, with the emergence of intersectional studies (Collins, 2022), climate change has also become an issue of justice. Already recognised in the Paris Agreement of 2015 (UNFCCC, 2015), climate justice aims to take action to limit the inequalities that are created or exacerbated by climate change (Sultana, 2022).
The issue of climate justice and its strict relation to social justice is particularly felt by the younger generations, who perceive its relevance and, in heterogeneous ways and forms, call attention to this question. Conversely, in educational and formative processes, at all levels and particularly in formal education processes, the issue of climate justice continues to receive limited attention and not to be assumed as a central theme of all education and of an education that wants to develop fully in an ecological sense. The same urgings that come from documents at the national and international level that appeal to the urgency of education for citizenship and sustainability are often disregarded, taken up only formally but not substantially.
What is the state of play in education for sustainable development? What is the most effective way to educate and teach about ecological, environmental and climate issues? How important is the issue of climate justice in the processes of education on climate change? What are the contributions to sustainable development, global citizenship and climate justice made by schools, universities, and non-formal education? How are gender, climate and education linked?
The panel finds its foundation in the conviction that educational and formative fields can still be a lever for a change in the direction of real ecological, environmental, and climate justice, but intends to discuss under what conditions this is really possible. Indeed, the failure of many interpretations and practices is corresponding to a growing orientation to rethink the form and meaning they can take in order to generate real and widespread ecological awareness. Such awareness is understood as the main foundation for authentic change oriented toward caring for oneself, others and the environment.
Assuming the relationship between climate justice and social justice, the panel intends to contribute to the debate through research and proposals that allow to elaborate new ideas of ecological, environmental and climate justice to be put into participatory and solidaristic practice at various levels.