What is an emergency declaration and why do we need one?
We are already feeling the effects of 1 degree of warming and more than 1 million species are threatened with extinction. If we do not address these issues we are at risk of ecological collapse. We have existing solutions and we need to act swiftly to implement them. A worldwide emergency response is needed to preserve climate and ecosystem safety.
An emergency declaration is the first step in mobilising a response at sufficient scale and speed to address the crisis. It is a signal to the wider community that we need to act urgently.
Why should educators declare?
Educators are key stakeholders in the future of those who will be most impacted by climate breakdown and biodiversity loss, young people. We are responsible for preparing children and young adults for the future. The twin ecological crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss threaten this future. Students’ well-being is already being impacted by climate change related events. The human right of access to education is at risk when students cannot safely attend educational institutions due to extreme weather events. We have a responsibility to advocate for a safe future for our students.
Educators can impact on practices within their workplaces. Educational organisations can reduce their own ecological footprint and be a model for the wider community. Educators can support students who are active in the climate action movement. They can support students’ understanding of climate and biodiversity, and of how we can effect change.
Educators are a large group, with many people employed in educational institutions. We can add a strong voice to the emergency declaration movement. Educators are well placed to advocate for and support humanity’s transition to an ecologically responsible future. We can use our existing skills and networks to advocate for emergency action.
Who can sign?
Educators worldwide, from preschool teachers to university lecturers. This could include teachers, teacher’s aides, school principals, tutors, environmental educators, tertiary and vocational educators, early childhood educators or community educators. Retired educators are also welcome to sign the declaration.
Educational organisations such as schools, universities, education unions or professional organisations may also sign the declaration.
What else can we do?
By signing the emergency declaration we make a commitment to taking action on climate change and biodiversity loss. We can do this by:
- Advocating for action within our workplaces and other organisations we are part of. We can ask organisations to conduct a climate and biodiversity audit and make improvements based on it, make an emergency declaration and action plan, divest from fossil fuels, integrate climate and biodiversity education, and join climate and biodiversity action networks.
- Lobbying for action in the wider political context. We can ask our political representatives to act on climate change and biodiversity to ensure a safe future for our students. We can ask them to support the provision of climate and biodiversity education for students. We can take part in climate strikes or other actions, and support students who are engaging in activism.
- Educating students on climate change and biodiversity loss. In some places a framework exists for this education, in others it is up to educators to incorporate it.
- Making changes in our own lives to reduce our impact on the environment. This can both reduce our own ecological footprint and influence those around us.
- Sharing the declaration with other educators and encouraging them to sign. Discussing climate and biodiversity action with our networks raises awareness of the crisis and normalises taking action.
Educators Declare has collected some resources for educators taking action on climate change and biodiversity loss. You can also join the Educators Declare Facebook group to share ideas, strategies and resources, and connect with other educators.
Please contact Educators Declare if you would like to contribute your skills to growing the declaration movement.
- Advocate for emergency action on climate change and biodiversity loss within the educational organizations they are part of.
- Raise awareness of the urgent need for action on climate change and biodiversity loss within their professional and personal networks.
- Develop students’ understanding of what they can do to take action on climate change and biodiversity loss.
- Support students’ participation in climate strikes and participate in strikes themselves if possible.
Affiliated Professional Groups
- Australian Architects Declare Climate & Biodiversity Emergency
- Australian Association for Environmental Education
- Australian Firefighters Climate Alliance
- Communicators Declare
- Doctors for the Environment Australia
- Engineers Declare
- Entrepreneurs 4 Climate
- Lawyers for Climate Justice
- Psychology for a Safe Climate
- Teach the Future UK