Giving Compass' Take:

• Christina Kwauk calls for more comprehensive education systems around the world that make human-climate interdependency a learning priority.

• How do current education systems fail to fully teach the relationship between humans and the natural world? How has COVID-19 revealed the importance of bridging these gaps? What can you do to promote human-climate interdependency in education systems in your community?

• Learn more about the importance of human-climate interdependency in education systems across the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that we live in a socio-ecological system in which our human systems are deeply interconnected with our natural systems. Yet our education systems do not educate us to recognize, respect, or nurture this interdependency.

The zoonotic nature of the coronavirus has exposed how human-caused environmental degradation and destruction of wildlife habitats have increased human risk of exposure to new infectious diseases, not to mention contribute to the current climate crisis. At the same time, the COVID-19 economic shutdown has shown how changes in human activity can directly improve the health of the natural world. For example, climate scientists have documented decreases in air and water pollution levels in cities around the world as a result of widespread lockdown measures. The sudden halt in heavy pollution-emitting activities has demonstrated that rapid behavioral change is possible and that addressing the climate crisis is within our collective power.

But COVID-19’s positive impact on the environment will be short-lived. For long-term change, we need a radically transformative education that will change the way we humans think about, interact with, and care for each other, the natural world, and this planet. And as a result, we must change how our underlying human systems coexist with the natural world in a more sustainable, regenerative way.

Education must include a critical and historical understanding of the destructive relationship between unfettered economic growth and the natural environment. It must also address the social inequities, structural inequalities, and economic injustices underlying both the drivers of climate change and its uneven impacts. And it must illuminate how unequal relations of power are just as destructive to life on this planet as an imbalance in greenhouse gases.

Read the full article about making human-climate interdependency an educational priority by Christina Kwauk at Brookings.