The new curriculum will put the climate crisis at the forefront and also teach school students about activism and ‘eco-anxiety’.
This year New Zealand aims to ensure every school student has access to materials on the climate crisis written by the country’s leading science agencies which will also include tools for students to plan their own activism, and to process their feelings of “eco-anxiety”, the government has announced.
The New Zealand scheme will be offered to all schools that teach 11 to 15 year-old students and will not be compulsory.
“One of the pieces of feedback we’ve got from teachers around the country is that they’re really crying out for something like this, because kids are already in the conversation about climate change,” said James Shaw, New Zealand’s climate change minister and co-leader of the left-leaning Green Party, The Guardian reported.
“They’re seeing stuff on social media on a daily basis and none of it’s good news, and the sense of powerlessness that comes from that is extremely distressing.”
The materials will also include a ‘feelings thermometer’ to track their emotions, learn how to change defeatist self-talk, and think about how their feelings could lead to action and response.
“It helps kids to see that it is a fixable problem and people are working on it, and there is something they can foresee for themselves in terms of their own futures,” said Shaw.
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