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The Cannavist Magazine

The cover of a new nature-inspired GCSE.


Will this new green GCSE save earth?

A new green-powered GCSE, which teaches students how to conserve the planet, has divided the nation.

Climate activists, celebrities and green-thinking politicians erupted into a virtual roar of celebration, at the announcement of a new nature-focused GCSE.

However, questions are being asked whether it is a genuine attempt to modernize the curriculum or just another soft subject designed to promote the green agenda.

The Natural History qualification comes after widespread campaigning for improved environmental education and is set to help students ‘gain a deeper knowledge’ of the world around them.

And while the full syllabus has not been released, it promises to give young people the skills to pursue careers in the green sector, educating them in wildlife conservation, fieldwork and ‘sustainability issues’.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has praised the GCSE, highlighting that, although Britain is a ‘nation of nature lovers’, it’s also one of the most nature-depleted countries on the planet. 

She said: “We owe it to young people to teach them about the riches of the world…so they can understand the scale of the loss we’re living through and be equipped with the necessary tools to reverse it.”

Bear Grylls, adventurer and TV personality, added that the course – which will launch in 2025 – would ‘inspire so many young people’ and is a ‘brilliant addition to the learning they receive on climate education’.

However, while the environmental community has marked the Natural History qualification as a major victory for the planet…others aren’t quite so convinced.

Writer Ross Clark, claimed that the course offers nothing to students that they don’t already learn through the existing curriculum, accusing it of diverting young people away from subjects that would ‘gain them access to the best universities’.

In a column for The Spectator, he wrote: “Whereas biology and geography are neutral subjects dedicated simply to understanding the world…the proposed natural history curriculum looks set to merge genuine study with green propaganda.

“We already have a generation of children traumatised into thinking that humans, if not the entire natural world, is doomed by climate change.”

Clark added: “This GCSE is the latest manifestation of the old Marxist trick of trying to advance your politics by drumming them into the impressionable young.”

While debates continue to rage on over the controversial GCSE, thousands have taken to social media to offer their opinion on the green curriculum.

Here’s what just a few people had to say:

Anti –

  • “What a load of rhubarb.”

  • “Climate change GCSE?! What about a course that teaches young people financial literacy…wouldn’t that make a bit of sense?”

  • “Though a GCSE directly covering the relationship between humanity and the Earth is good, it’s not what students need.

“Students need Climate Education woven into every subject. Not siloed into yet another subject that not all schools will deliver and not all students will choose.”

  • “A GCSE in natural history won’t be about educating children, but about training the next generation of green activists.”

Pro –

  • “A positive step in the right direction. Well done to everyone who has campaigned so hard to make this a reality. This really is great news for the next generation.”

  • “This GCSE is a great start and will engender a deeper understanding and love for the natural world, allowing pupils to develop a deeper understanding of the natural world.”

  • “I’ve been a keen supporter of this new Natural History GCSE – it will kindle a love of nature and an understanding which will help us restore biodiversity which is critical to tackling climate change and it will equip students for the many green jobs and skills we need.”

  • “I’m pleased to see growing focus on education around climate change for young people. Let’s continue to look for ways to speed and scale up the national green transition by making this kind of information accessible for individuals and communities.”

  • “So excited!  Huge respect to fab curlewcalls whose tireless work made this happen – such a privilege to work with her.  So many meetings & much lobbying!  But now young people will learn more about natural world & be better equipped to restore it.”

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