The big idea

Climate 101 is campaigning to get climate change embedded into the curriculum of every university course in the world.

Students of physics, geography and environmental science all have a pretty good idea about what climate change is doing to our planet. But unless every university graduate understands what is happening it will be too late to change the trajectory we are on.

Some of the most advanced thinking about sustainable futures can be found in schools of fashion, architecture and product design. It is hugely important that all graduates - including those studying humanities, languages, law, medicine and economics are offered modules which have sustainability at their core.

Nobody should graduate from university without understanding the basics of climate change. Nobody should be considered well educated without a good understanding of how the social, economic, ethical, technological, natural and political world we inhabit will be transformed by global heating.

The Times Higher Education's University Impact Rankings show that many universities are already taking climate action and sustainability seriously. The Climate 101 manifesto wants every department of every university, in every city, in every country around the world to teach their undergraduate students about climate change. This might start with a simple introduction into sustainable living during freshers week but the big idea, the really big idea, is that every course should have a module, with academic course credits, on climate change.

Achieving this goal depends on academics understanding how climate change is already starting to impact the the career opportunities and social lives of their students and the communities that their students come from. It is easy to understand why students of Power Engineering, Urban Planning and Forestry Management need to study climate change, but we think that all subjects, from Accounting and Archaeology to Veterinary Science and Zoology need to incorporate climate education into their courses.

One of our most Frequently Asked Question is "I am studying History of Art|Modern Languages|Psychology. How can climate change be part of what I learn?" We think that climate change is so important and so fundamentally challenging to life on Earth that it must be part of the curriculum delivered by every department. Fine Art courses might ask their students to consider how artists have responded to the collapse of previous civilisations, students of Modern Foreign Languages need to consider how often they travel by air, the psychological and medical impacts of rapid climate change are already being studied by scientists, but very few students of Psychology or Medicine are learning about it.

Without the commitment of university departments we will be producing highly educated people who have not been challenged to confront the reality of climate change.

Next steps

If you do one thing...

We need a student, or a lecturer from each and every university in the world to start a local campaign to get the ideas of Climate 101 adopted by their university.

We need students to form departmental groups to lobby, persuade and challenge the people in charge of curriculum development to include climate change in next year's academic program. If the people in charge need help or ideas, we will put them in touch with other academics from similar departments and together we are confident that they can establish the best way to proceed.

How to get started