Updated Nov 7, 2019

Italy becomes first country to require students to learn about climate change

Students hold a climate march in Palermo, Italy, on Sept. 27. Photo: Francesco Militello Mirto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

All public schools in Italy will require students to learn about climate change and sustainable development starting the next academic year, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Italy is the first country in the world to mandate curriculum on climate change. Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and students in the U.S. — through the Zero Hour and Sunrise movements — have organized massive protests on climate change and called for politicians and other adults to take science on the issue seriously.

The nonprofit National Center for Science Education's 2016 survey on U.S. climate change education found that global warming was covered by about 70% of middle school teachers, and many students receive mixed messages as to whether scientists agree if human activities contribute to global warming.

  • The survey found that most U.S. teachers are unaware of the scientific consensus on climate change, but estimated that 98% of public high schools include teachings on global warming in at least one class.
  • 17-year-old Jamie Margolin, founder of the climate action organization Zero Hour, told Axios that climate change was "quickly brushed over" in school, so she did her own research on the issue.

Details: In Italy, Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti said state schools will spend nearly one hour per school week on issues involving climate change starting next September, per NBC News.

  • Fioramonti also said that students would study math, geography, physics and other traditional subjects through the lens of sustainable development.

Go deeper: Youth protests sweep the globe demanding action on climate change

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Why climate change is a defining issue for 2020

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images

Climate change is playing a larger — and more polarizing — role than ever before in a presidential election.

Why it matters: In the past, the topic barely registered with voters and candidates were less polarized. Today, all Democratic candidates are treating it as a crisis, with detailed plans and funding sources to address it, while President Trump ignores the problem and bashes those plans.

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What makes the 2020 election historic for climate change

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: J. Countess/Getty Images

Climate change is playing a larger — and more polarizing — role than ever before in a presidential election.

Why it matters: In the past, the topic barely registered with voters and candidates were less polarized. Today, all Democratic candidates are treating it as a crisis, with detailed plans and funding sources to address it, while President Trump ignores the problem and bashes those plans.

Climate change threatens children's health across the globe

Students participate in a protest against climate change in Mumbai, India, in 2019. Photo: Himanshu Bhatt/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Climate change is creating a warmer world, and a new international report says children growing up in it will face more health problems than their parents did, per AP.

The big picture: Climate change is already impacting people's health — through problems like increasing diarrhea and mosquito-borne diseases — but that'll get worse if greenhouse gas emissions aren't curbed, per the report, which was published in the medical journal The Lancet.

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