Pope Francis: System Change, Not Climate Change September 22, 2015


“To really confront the climate crisis, we need to think differently, build differently, and teach differently. A People’s Curriculum for the Earth is an educator’s toolkit for our times.” —author Naomi Klein

With every passing day, the climate crisis announces itself with greater urgency. The drought in California. The wildfires in the West. The summer of 2015 was the hottest ever recorded. What’s next?

The good news is that activism is on the rise, too. The movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground is growing by leaps and bounds. Everywhere, colleges are divesting from the fossil fuel industry. Activists from Montana to Portland, Oregon to Bellingham, Washington are challenging coal, oil, and gas exports. The Earth is heating up, but so is the movement for climate justice.

And this week, Pope Francis is in the United States with a needed message of deep caring for the Earth and for the poor. His encyclical “Laudato Sí” links capitalism and the climate crisis: “An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.”

For educators, we need to use Pope Francis’s visit and the upcoming climate talks in Paris to insist that our schools put the climate crisis at the center of the curriculum. The Zinn Education Project features resources to help with this work, including the Rethinking Schools book co-edited by ZEP co-director Bill Bigelow, A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis.

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