The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. Climate change is already affecting the lives of millions of people and ecosystems around the world. It also threatens the operations of global and local companies, value chains, workers and communities. It is a crisis whose impacts are felt by all of us, but the greatest consequences will affect future generations - our children.
Following the current path of global greenhouse gas emissions, we are likely to exceed the threshold of warming the planet by 1.5°C in the next 15 years, with irreversible changes to ecosystems as a result (IPCC, 2021). However, we can still prevent black scenarios. We are facing the most important decade in the history of the planet and we only have a chance to deal with the climate crisis through our collective efforts - the efforts of each and every one of us.
The UN recognises climate education as a key part of the response to climate change. Today, experts, scientists, NGOs, youth movements and international organisations led by the UN are speaking with one voice in calling for sound climate education in schools. Their appeal is supported by civil society - over 62,000 people in Poland have signed the "YES! for climate education" petition addressed to the Polish government. We, the representatives of the business sector, also join the postulate for thorough climate education.
Business needs highly qualified specialists to support the implementation of ambitious climate goals and policies, and their education in this area should already start at school. Reliable climate education is the basis for innovation and pro-environmental optimisation, essential for ensuring savings in raw materials and materials management, as well as for reducing the energy intensity of industry.
Recent studies conducted in Poland confirm that the level of knowledge of schoolchildren on climate change is alarmingly low. Meanwhile, without well-educated employees, who understand the significance and consequences of climate change, the competitiveness of Polish companies on the European Union and global markets will decline.
Climate education is important for business also from the perspective of our customers, who expect reliable information on the nature of climate change problems and inspiration on how to deal with them. Only an informed and educated society, with environmentally-friendly daily habits, will be able to save our future.
As representatives of business, we appeal for the introduction of reliable and science-based climate education in schools in Poland. We ourselves undertake many climate-related activities in our enterprises and in order to intensify these activities we need qualified specialists, who understand the significance and consequences of climate change. We are convinced that only a common fight for sustainable development on many levels can bring about change and have a positive impact on our common future.