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Italy To Become First Country To Make Climate Change Classes Compulsory In Schools

Students in schools in Italy will become the first in the world to attend compulsory classes on climate change and sustainability, Reuters reported.

Italians have shown considerable public support for policies to address climate change.

One Friday in September, an estimated 200,000 people took to the streets for the Greta Thunberg-inspired school strike for climate, packing around famous historical sites like Trevi Fountain to demand more and faster action on climate change.

Italy's Education Minister, Lorenzo Fioramonti, has been a vocal supporter of students taking part in climate protests and school strikes.

He's backing up that support with a new focus for students in Italian public schools.

Fioramonti, a former economics professor, said that climate change and sustainability will become a cornerstone of education in the country.

"The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the education model," he told Reuters. "I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school."

Going forward, students in every grade will study climate change issues and sustainability.

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Starting in September 2020, all public schools will spend 33 hours every year, about an hour a week, teaching about climate change and sustainability

Other subjects, such as geography and physics, will study topics from the angle of sustainable development, Fioramenti said.

"The idea is that the citizens of the future need to be ready for the climate emergency," Fioramonti's spokesperson, Vincenzo Cramarossa, told CNN.

The new climate change-focused curriculum is still in development.

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Cramarossa said that a panel of experts on climate science and sustainable development, including Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs and American economic and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin will be helping with the new curriculum.

h/t: Reuters, CNN

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