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YES to climate education!

Polenergia joins the initiative of UN Global Compact Network Poland and approves the appeal to introduce comprehensive and reliable climate change education in schools as soon as possible.

On 15 June 2022 the premiere of the report “Climate Education in Poland 2022 – recommendations of the Round Table” took place at the Copernicus Science Centre. It is a set of recommendations summarizing the annual work of the Round Table for Climate Education developed by a wide range of stakeholders. The authors of the report point out that climate change issues should be introduced in a comprehensive manner at each stage of education, teachers should be equipped with relevant knowledge and competences, and the very process of introducing climate education to Polish schools should be participatory, taking into account the opinions of young people, parents and teachers, among others.

One of the results of the Round Table for Climate Education is the “Open letter of the business sector for climate education” developed by the business sub-table. The business sector clearly indicates the need for highly qualified professionals to support the implementation of ambitious climate goals and policies, and their education in this area should start already at school. On behalf of representatives of a broad coalition of business partners, the letter was read out by Iwona Sierżęga, member of the Polenergia Management Board and the UNGC Programme Council.

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.

UNGC Poland is actively conducting awareness-raising campaigns for the introduction of reliable and widespread climate education in Poland – based on scientific data and implemented within the framework of obligatory subjects. The work has started with the campaign “Yes to climate education!”. On the page UNGC – Edukacja klimatyczna a petition is available, thanks to which thousands of people in Poland can express their support for this initiative. As part of this social action, the petition submitted to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister was signed by more than 62,000 people.

The report “Climate Education in Poland 2022 – Recommendations of the Round Table” is available for download at:

https://edukacjaklimatyczna.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Edukacja-Klimatyczna-w-Polsce-2022-rekomendacje-Okraglego-Stolu.pdf

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