A view of Glasgow

Strathclyde Business School Strathclyde Business School

A vision for climate education

By Michael Dore - Posted on 2 December 2021

Alumnus Michaël Doré was in Glasgow for COP26, bringing his Climate Education Kick-Off initiative to Strathclyde and beyond. Here, he shares what took place. 

COP26 came to an end after two weeks in Glasgow, bringing together world leaders, delegates and activists from all around the world. Strathclyde was busy organising dozens of events and rallies throughout the COP - from welcoming Barack Obama to hosting a climate education initiative called the COP26 “Climate Education Kick-off” (CEKO)

As a former Strathclyde student who graduated in 2017, I was delighted to initiate the CEKO initiative at Strathclyde. While studying at Strathclyde, I was the Chair of the Strathclyde Business Network, a student-led project organising conferences within the university, including the Glasgow Business Summit. Four years later, I was pleased to return to Glasgow to coordinate the COP26 delegation of a leading international climate education NGO called Climate Fresk

Climate Fresk provides a science-based workshop in the form of a 42-card game. Based on the IPCC reports, the Climate Fresk workshop enables anyone to understand the best of climate change science, in a few hours, while having fun and learning collectively in a group supported by a facilitator. Since the creation of the NGO three years ago, the workshop has grown exponentially around the world, reaching over 260,000 participants in 50 countries and 35 languages. 

COP26 was a key milestone for the NGO. 160 facilitators from the Climate Fresk community came to Glasgow to urge world leaders to put climate education at the forefront of climate action, and accelerate Climate Fresk Internationalisation by running workshops all around the city. Politicians in the Blue Zone, activists in the Green Zone, citizens in the streets, and students from across universities have done the workshop throughout the two weeks of the COP. Universities were a top priority for Climate Fresk, which organised workshops in Glasgow University, Glasgow School of Arts, City of Glasgow College, Edinburgh University, Dundee University, Stirling University, and of course, Strathclyde. 

Of all these higher education institutions, the COP26 Climate Education Kick-off (CEKO) at Strathclyde has been the main highlight. In the UK, Strathclyde led the way forward during the COP organising the largest CEKO ever held in the UK - 200 students, PhDs and professors from Strathclyde have learned together about climate change and spread climate awareness through Climate Fresk workshops. 

CEKO programmes aim to: 

  • develop understanding and critical thinking regarding climate change issues among university communities ; 
  • empower students and staff to become climate education leaders through Climate Fresk facilitation trainings and spreading awareness around them ; 
  • transform university programmes so that they fully integrate climate education to their curriculum ; 
  • accelerate universities transition, help them reduce their carbon footprint by empowering internal motivated stakeholders to take action ; 
  • make universities autonomous in the organisation of CEKO by training internal facilitators able to run the workshops and train future facilitators. 

Prior to the COP26 Strathclyde CEKO Programme, 33 facilitators from the university were trained to be able to run workshops internally. After the CEKO programme, over 40 participants - or 20% of all attendees - said they wanted to become facilitators themselves, which is twice the traditional CEKO conversion rate from participants to facilitators, showing the motivation and drive of the Strathclyde community. 

This programme was a great success, thanks to the work and dedication of some key people including: Scott Strachan, Head of Learning for the Strathclyde Centre for Sustainable Development; Aline Dequidt and Lea Francastel, Strathclyde CEKO coordinators; Quinten Stol, Strathclyde student in MSc Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, member of the Strathclyde Climate Emergency Action Group and Climate Fresk facilitator; Manish Joshi and all the communication team from Strathclyde Union; and Melissa McCrindle and Sarah Poulter from Strathclyde Business School's marketing team. 

This climate education revolution is not just happening at Strathclyde. In the academic year 2020/2021, CEKO programmes have engaged over 100,000 students in 240 universities and 10 countries. Furthermore, at COP26, Ministers of Education and Ministers responsible for addressing climate change from all around the world, committed to take action for climate education. The second commitment of the official COP26 climate education statement is powerful and aligned with the CEKO vision:  "We commit to the integration of sustainability and climate change in formal education systems, including as core curriculum components, in guidelines, teacher training, examination standards and at multiple levels through institutions." 

Following the same vision, the Strathclyde Centre for Sustainable Development recently announced the COP26 Legacy - Outstanding education & student experience, offering a framework in which both students and staff can develop the required knowledge and skills to tackle the climate emergency. Pledges include ‘embedding climate change, climate action and sustainable development across our curricula’ and ‘supporting events both internally and externally (including those with international counterparts) to drive awareness, activism and build networks for sustainability and climate action.’ 

CEKO is a well rounded climate education programme with international success stories, including at Strathclyde during COP, that can empower thousands of students and staff around the world to develop the knowledge and skills to tackle the climate emergency. We hope to further work with Strathclyde to explore opportunities to scale this activity up across the institution such that more and more Strathclyde students and staff can benefit from engaging, quality and empowering climate education. 

Click here to see a video explaining the whole programme. 

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