Could you be a climate change teacher?

An innovative new programme is building a collective of forward-thinking climate change teachers

The UN Climate Change Teacher Academy, being trialled in UK schools, has enabled King’s Ely Junior’s head of geography to become one of the first climate change teachers.

Alan Parkinson, who will also become the junior vice president of the Geographical Association in September, will now deliver climate change lessons to all of his pupils at his Cambridgeshire day and boarding school.

He will also share best practice with all teaching staff and appear on an interactive online map of UN climate change teachers.

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Parkinson said: “Since I started teaching in 1988, climate change has always been taught in geography, and my understanding of the wider connections with other natural systems has grown over the years.

“Current discussions have moved from the extent of human involvement in the process, to the need for urgent action as feedback starts to threaten a rapid change in key areas such as the Arctic.

“Climate records are being shattered almost monthly, and students need to be aware of their own part in the causes, and the solutions. Young people like Greta Thunberg have recognised the risk and started to galvanise public opinion.

Young people like Greta Thunberg have recognised the risk and started to galvanise public opinion

“At King’s Ely, the geography we teach has always been contemporary and used the latest research and thinking. I’m delighted to have the chance to expand on this work in such an important area.

“Part of that is some current work with the South Georgia Heritage Trust, writing education materials based on their vital work exploring the impacts of climate change on ecosystems.”

The UN Climate Change Teacher Academy is being delivered by Harwood Education, in partnership with the One United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) and sponsored by YPO. The programme is free for all primary and secondary school teachers.

For more information about the initiative, visit

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