UN-REDD in the Classroom
A new high school curriculum in the US uses the UN-REDD Programme website to educate the next generation about REDD.
North American high school students are about to discover what REDD is all about. Save The Rainforest Inc., a non-profit organization in the US that involves youth in campaigns to save rainforests, has recently developed a curriculum on REDD for students in Grades 9-12. The new curriculum uses the UN-REDD Programme’s online multimedia materials, as well as other web resources to give students a basic overview of REDD issues and efforts around the world.
“Students need to learn that REDD may have a profound effect on the future well-being of the planet,” says Bruce Calhoun, President of Save The Rainforest, Inc. Calhoun developed the REDD curriculum shortly after the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. “Very few people are aware of REDD and REDD perhaps holds the key to saving tropical forests.”
The curriculum uses the UN-REDD media package for journalists as a primer for students to understand the fundamentals of REDD. Students will also use other multimedia videos and policy board presentations on the UN-REDD website to learn about REDD issues in various countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Ecuador. The program also includes a module on Google Earth’s new technology prototype that enables online, global-scale observation and measurement of changes in the earth's forests, which Google unveiled during COP-15.
Save The Rainforest Inc. is working with teachers associations, such as the National Association of Biology Teachers in the US and the North American Association of Environmental Educators to start offering the curriculum, free of charge, to teachers in all 50 US states and in Ontario, Canada, starting in January. Save The Forest Inc. has already received requests for the REDD curriculum from educators as far as Australia.
Calhoun, a former high school biology teacher himself, hopes the program will help spread the word about REDD to the public.
“There is a precedent for this model. In the late 1980s, we educated students about rainforests. They in turn played a large role in educating the public about rainforests. Also, we hope students will help monitor REDD, and raise a `REDD’ flag if they observe perverse outcomes during the implementation of REDD,” says Calhoun.
Save The Rainforest Inc. has been working with high school students since its founding in 1988. One of their main activities is organizing high school ecology courses in the tropics.
To view Save The Forest’s REDD curriculum and provide feedback on their curriculum, you can consult their website at www.saverfn.org.