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המכללה האקדמית בית ברל > English > About Us > News > Newsletter > Summer June 2022 > Environmental Education for Resilience in Times of Climate Change

Environmental Education for Resilience in Times of Climate Change

After a two-year hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, on June 6th Beit Berl College held the 19th Annual Environmental and Sustainability Conference, 'Environmental Education for Resilience in Times of Climate Change', attended by some 550

participants. Over 50 leading professionals in formal and informal education, academia, public organizations, governmental and civil society presented research, innovative educational programs, and state-of-the-art developments in environmental management, among them: Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zandberg, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Prof. Noga Kronfeld-Shor; Head of the Science Division in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Gilmor Keshet-Maor; Keren Kayemet's Chief Forester, Dr. Gilad Ostrovsky; UNESCO Chair in Humanistic Education, Prof. Nimrod Aloni; and more. 

The annual environmental and sustainability education conference is a highlight for the environmental education community in Israel. The conference focuses on issues central to Israel's environmental educational agenda. It provides a hub for educational professionals, academicians, and environmental professionals from governmental and non-governmental organizations to take a critical look at topics situated at the interface of environment and society, theory and practice, and conduct critical discussions of education's role in this space. Beit Berl College identifies this conference as an important contribution to preparing teachers capable and motivated to function as educational 'change agents for sustainability', encouraging student participation as part of their academic education and training. 

Conference co-Founder and head of this year's steering committee, Prof. Daphne Goldman, opened by stating, "The conference is being held at a period in which humanity faces existential environmental-social challenges due to climate change and many other environmental problems.  Humanity's greatest challenge in the 21st century is to enable human wellbeing within the ecological limits of planet Earth's life-supporting systems – this is the challenge of Sustainable Development. More than ever, we need innovative education that connects young people to the local and global agenda and prepares them as involved citizens grounded in a responsible and critical mindset." 

The conference was comprised of 12 parallel sessions focused on cutting-edge topics in areas such as climate change education; nature-based solutions to addressing climate change (Society for Protection of Nature in Israel); open area management in an era of climate change (Jewish National Fund); the climate crisis from a regional perspective (Ecopeace Israel); the Mediterranean Sea as a hotspot of environmental change and challenge for citizen involvement; Food and climate change; and this year, for the first time, Environmental History, which looks at the evolvement of man-nature relationships over time. It also held workshops that enabled participants to experience hands-on EE learning activities around climate change (The GLOBE Program), environmental problems of the Mediterranean coast (EcoOcean) and Fair-Trade (Fair trade Israel). 

A unique component of this year's conference was the round-table session led by the Ministry of Education Science Division in which General Directors of environment-oriented (Environmental Science, Geography Man and Environment, Agriculture, Science Education) and non-traditionally environmental-oriented subjects (English, Civic Education, Media, Visual Arts) discussed with in-service teachers on the challenges of incorporating climate change education within the curricula. The outcome of this initiative will be recommendations for decision-makers to be presented at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference 2022 (UNFCCC COP 27) to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh.      

As Dr. David Dunetz, Head of the Climate Division at Heschel Center for Sustainability and member of this year's conference steering committee concluded, "[the conference] broke new ground, it upped the ante, creating fertile space for learning, meeting and conversation for continued inspiration and energy to the growing community of educators to do the work that needs to be done. And that happened big time." 

Visit the conference website for more details.  


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