Earth Day’s roots go back to the 1970s. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22nd April as International Mother Earth Day.
This year the theme of Earth Day was ‘Invest in our Planet’, and everyone from Government, charities, education providers, employers and local communities were encouraged to work together and take greater responsibility for the Earth to help make a difference.
In 2021, the Employment Services Directorate at Forward started to teach green skills as part of our new Adult Education Budget programmes in London and Kent. In London, we are teaching climate change and environment awareness alongside careers advice and we offer an exciting array of Green Career Pathways, including apprenticeship roles in sustainability.
In October 2021, just ahead of the COP26 UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, three-quarters (75%) of adults in Great Britain said they were worried about the impact of climate change, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).
Just over two-fifths (43%) reported feeling anxious about the future of the environment more widely in the past month.
We have found during our teaching that learners can also feel paralysed by the size of the problem and feel unable to act (i.e. to do their bit).
We have used Earth Day with our learners to help them think about what actions they can undertake in their lives to protect the planet for future generations. For example, learners have studied the use of ‘refill shops’. A refill shop is usually an independent store that sells non-packaged goods like food, toiletries and cleaning products. They ask shoppers to bring containers they already own and refill them from larger containers in the store, thereby providing an opportunity for people to do shopping but use less plastic. Refills shops are a network of amazing independent retailers. What they can do in local communities is phenomenal.
Some learners have discovered volunteering opportunities in conversation with our Wildlife Trust and Open Space partners. Other learners have discovered how to use technology such as carbon or environmental footprint calculators and are linking this to improving their overall health by walking more, instead of using the car. This is also being used to improve numeracy skills and knowledge on our Multiply programmes in Kent.
Through Spotlight sessions with key employer partners, such as Thames Water, The Compass Group, LDN Apprenticeships and The Felix Project, learners are being taught about how employers can integrate sustainability practices into their organisations and provide job or apprenticeship roles in the green or sustainability sector.
“I found the course very enjoyable and the course tutor was fantastic. I learnt a lot about sustainability and what is required not just from other people, but also from myself when it comes to all the things that we should be doing to look after the environment.”
– Learner on The Forward Trust Good Work for All Green Skills AEB Programme (London).
Happy Earth Day,
This blog was originally published by The Forward Trust. You can read the original post here.
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