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GG committee responds to consultation on climate change curriculum

The RIA’s Geography and Geosciences Committee has participated in a consultation on the new leaving cert subject on climate action and sustainable development

This is the committee’s submission:

As members of the Geography and Geosciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy, we are writing to call for an explicit acknowledgement of the vital contribution that knowledge and research from geography makes to the study of climate action and sustainable development, and that this should be addressed in the introduction of Climate Action and Sustainable Development as a new Leaving Certificate subject. We are calling for a greater consideration of Geography at all stages in discussions around this proposed subject.  Irish researchers are leading world class research rooted in geography but also incorporating other discipline perspectives to enhance our knowledge of climate change and identify positive actions to promote sustainability and climate action – student learning would greatly benefit from exposure to these fields of study and knowledge and spotlight how Irish research positively supports societal and policy responses to these challenges.

Geography is focused on how people and place interact: the co-constitutive elements of climate, sustainability, human-environment interactions and food and energy security are reflected in the discipline. Geography and geosciences help us understand how climate has changed over time, how human and physical processes have interacted to cause current conditions and how those interactions will continue to change landscapes, environments and livelihoods in the future. Geographical understanding helps us plan for uncertain futures based on our knowledge of past and current conditions.  

Geography combines scientific and social literacy; it provides a bridging space in the curriculum to bring together the creativity of the arts, the insights of social science and humanities as well as the important principles of natural science methods and practices. Students are offered a “big picture” view of the world as well as detailed understanding of natural and social systems. 

We want to echo and support our colleagues in the Geographical Society of Ireland who have articulated that climate action and sustainable development is an important curricular area and a topic of global significance where geography has important contributions to make.

Thank you for this opportunity to share our views on this proposed new subject and we hope that they are considered. 

Submitted on behalf of the Geography and Geosciences Committee

The Geography and Geosciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy is an all-island multidisciplinary committee formed in September 2014. The purpose of the multidisciplinary committee is to advise the Academy on the development of policy, address issues of concern through a programme of works and act as the national adhering organisation for international unions. Its membership represents academia, industry and national organisations. Its opinions do not necessarily represent the views of the Royal Irish Academy. The membership list of the Geography and Geosciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy committee can be viewed here