In an incisive policy move, Italy has decided to include sustainability and climate-change awareness into the curriculum at all public schools. The decision has generated massive support from stakeholders across the board. Environmental advocates have praised the move, however, conservative factions still seem to have reservation regarding the decision.

The plan is to initially teach climate change as part of the civics course in schools. Albeit, as the project matures and expands the lessons on sustainability will get integrated into a wider array of subjects. Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti wants 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”.

Starting from the next school year, faculty will teach students about environmental change and its repercussions. The eventual goal is to include the United Nation’s agenda on climate change into the entire school curriculum.

Incorporation of climate change studies into the curriculum is in essence, a way of bringing about ideological change in society. The September 2019 climate change protests led by Greta Thunberg, the climate change activist, managed to jolt the social conscience of the world. They indicated a need for progressive decision making by the holders of high-offices. It was apparent what the youth across an estimated 185 countries, continents and cultures truly want; to live and breathe in a safe toxin-free environment.

Italy may have heard the message loud and clear but, it seems in Pakistan the reception is nothing but static. Even today the Air Quality Index is close to 200 in Lahore, which to some might appear rather normal considering that the city battled  AQI 400 or above throughout November.

Climate change is happening, period.  The world at large is facing the catastrophic consequences of global warming caused by carbon commissions, as a result of the use of fossil fuels, and other human activities. Pakistan is at no less a risk and until the gravity of the matter is realized, there is no way we can hope to breathe in clean air anytime soon. Smog is just one issue, there are several others including the need to switch to alternative fuels. The past months AQI levels should serve as a stark reminder of lack of decisive policy making, and social responsibility on the part of policy-makers and the local population.

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