Sustainability is an issue of great importance to the Northern Territory, and to young people across the globe. It is also one of the three over-arching themes of the Australian curriculum.
Target <2 Degrees
The United Nations Paris Climate Conference (COP21), held in November 2015, involved representatives from 195 countries. COP21 achieved a legally binding and universal agreement to combat climate change. COP21 concluded with an objective to ‘strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:
- Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;
- Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production’.
Schools play a critical role in helping to work towards the objectives of this universal agreement through the education of young Australians, in understanding climate change and its impact, and through collaborative actions. Australian governments recognised the role of schools in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, where they acknowledged that changes in the world place new demands on education, such as ‘complex environmental, social and economic pressures such as climate change’ that ‘pose unprecedented challenges, requiring countries to work together in new ways. To meet these challenges, Australians must be able to engage with scientific concepts and principles, and approach problem-solving in new and creative ways.’ The Australian governments committed to support young Australians to become active and informed citizens, who ‘work for the common good, in particular sustaining and improving the natural and social environment.’