actions climate change education nature sustainability

English UK turns green

English UK is the national association of English Language centres in the UK. The association has just published an environmental action plan for UK ELT. Acknowledging the urgency of the climate and ecological emergency, the plan aims to ’embed sustainability into practice, from classroom to canteen to conference’.

“Green UK ELT will help students understand interdependence and sustainability, experience the natural world and feel empowered to address the biodiversity and climate crises. English UK will lead by example through thoughtful and ambitious action. We will focus on working together, positive campaigning and collective action.”

This is a hugely positive and hopeful document, one that promises to fully embed environmental responsibility into UK ELT. Congratulations English UK!

Read Turning green: an environmental action plan for the UK ELT sector here.

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COP 26

Today is the start of COP26, the annual UN Climate Change Conference running for the next fortnight in Glasgow, Scotland.

This is a significant moment in history and we will be following the proceedings closely here on ELT Footprint UK.

There are many excellent COP26 teaching resources for educators wanting to talk about the Earth emergency, for example:

For more general information, especially on solutions to climate change, see TED Countdown

See also my personal favourite way of staying up to date with the issues: the wonderful podcasts from Outrage and Optimism

And if you know of additional resources you’d like to recommend to readers of this post, please leave your comments below.

climate change education events

Future of ELT

Trinity College London is the latest ELT organisation to rather belatedly recognise that the future of ELT might actually be affected by the survival of our species on the planet. You can catch Christopher Graham’s session on ELT and Climate Change: Where Next? at this year’s Future of ELT 2021 conference, Saturday 26 June at 11:15 – 12:00 UK time. Register free here.

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The Climate Connection podcast

#TheClimateConnection podcast series from The British Council starts 12 May. It explores the relationship between the climate crisis and language education. Ten episodes will feature a wide range of leading practitioners working in the sector – teachers, trainers, researchers, publishers and authors – from Colombia to China, Moldova to Mali, and Palestine to Poland. In partnership with the Oxford English Dictionary, you’ll also learn more about the origins of climate-related language. For more information about ‘The Climate Connection’ podcast visit

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Climate Action in Language Education

Good to see The British Council stepping up its response to the climate and ecological emergency: see and register now for the free Climate Action in Language Education professional development training series – starts on 28 April.

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Curious About the Planet

Starts today. Curious About Our Planet is a 3-day virtual festival by Glasgow Science Centre that celebrates the diversity of the planet and the dangers it faces. There’s a Sustainable Cocktail Making Class (18+) event with music from Tide Lines, on Saturday 20th February at 8pm and many other activities, games, workshops and projects for all ages to enjoy.

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Language Teaching for the Planet

Do you incorporate climate change into your lessons? Do your course books have enough environmental content? Do you ever experience resistance from students? Please take a few minutes to complete this British Council survey for English Teachers. It aims to find out how English teachers are integrating climate change issues into their teaching, raise awareness of good practice and help support the development of new initiatives to help tackle the climate crisis. Take the survey here (takes 5 – 10 minutes to complete).
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Climate Declaration

Congratulations to everyone involved in Mock COP 26, the virtual climate change discussions organised by young people in the absence of this year’s postponed climate talks in Glasgow. The result is the Mock COP Treaty which on education states:

14. Article 12 of the Paris Agreement commits the Parties to cooperate in scaling up and strengthening climate education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information on climate change.

15. Education on climate change and biodiversity, based on the best available science and data, needs to be made available at schools and educational establishments at every level, including informal education. School, college and university buildings and estates must lead by example on sustainability as they form the subliminal curriculum.

16. The Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action prepared in 2019 by the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (‘CERI’), the United Nations International Children’s Fund (‘UNICEF’) and YOUNGO (the Children and Youth constituency to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), already signed by twelve countries, underlines the call for climate change and environmental education, and children’s rights, including the right to a healthy environment.

That is a very useful and clear statement of what needs to happen – indeed should already be happening – in education. Let’s make sure we act on it.

education events the future

Global Schools Festival

Global Schools Festival

Cambridge University Press is holding a virtual ELT conference, Global Schools Festival, 24 – 26 November 2020, with many session of interest to environmental educators: Education for a Sustainable Planet, 3 ways to bring sustainability into the primary classroom, Taking a stand; inspiring students to take action, There is no Planet B? What can I do? (with Mike Berners Lee) – and more! Highly recommended. Explore more and sign up here.

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Green your lessons

There is a wealth of material out there for people who want to bring the environment into their lessons. But there are also things you can easily do to give your lessons an environmental twist, regardless of the syllabus. For lots of ideas, why not sign up for Language Teaching for the Planet with ELTSustainable? Next course begins tomorrow, 22 September.

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