COVID-19 and lockdown reduces carbon impact: what’s next?
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the environment enjoyed a welcome a reprieve from the impact of modern living and working. We take a look at how we can ensure the continuation of a less negative impact on the world with our new qualification, Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Climate Change and Environmental Awareness, which has been developed to help spread knowledge and awareness of to take on climate change.
Climate change and emission reduction has been given a further boost as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. In a global pandemic situation the world as we knew it ground to a stop, and across the UK many businesses were forced to either find new ways of working, or simply shut up shop.
This unprecedented situation has made an unprecedented impact on the environment. Evidence of this includes:
- Global carbon emissions reduced by 17% in April.
- The UK’s electricity system recorded its greenest ever month in May, running without coal-fired electricity for a full calendar month.
- A dramatic fall in carbon dioxide emissions, as much as 31% for the UK in April.
- In China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, emissions were down about 18% between early February and mid-March.
- A quarter of UK asthma sufferers have noted an improvement in their symptoms due to cleaner air during lockdown.
For this to continue, we would need to see a continuation of behavioural changes such as working from home, less car use, and fewer flights.
A new appreciation of green spaces
The external environment has become increasingly important to a number of people – parks, woods, forests and other outside spaces have become places for exercise and escape. The physical environment is therefore much more in the public conscience.
Transitioning out of lockdown does represent a chance to implement new ideas, and a foundation from which to build on to help uphold some of the good work which has already been done, albeit unintentionally, by a switch to a slower pace of life.
Upskilling the workforce for a green future
To support employers to maintain their sustainable practices as staff return to work from lockdown, as well as help individuals to better understand their own roles and responsibilities as we strive to improve our environment we have launched a new technical qualification in Understanding Climate Change and Environmental Awareness.
Alongside our premier partner, Learning Curve Group, we recognised the importance of a shift in what we believe to be essential employability skills and what we can do to support providers to cater for a future generation of green jobs.
Brenda McLeish, Chief Executive Officer at Learning Curve Group, said: “We are delighted about the launch of yet another qualification with our partners at NCFE. This qualification is hugely topical and a great example of how knowledge can really support positive change.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing employers embrace this qualification, and the wider impacts this will have both environmentally and economically. Our vision is to transform lives through learning, and by educating individuals on the impacts of climate change we can work towards a better future.”
Promoting and advancing sustainability
David Gallagher, Chief Executive at NCFE, commented: “At NCFE, we are committed to our core purpose to promote and advance learning to help individuals to improve their life chances, but also where possible, to benefit the wider economy.
“Climate change is one of the most significant political and economic topics of our generation that is gaining increasing momentum at a global level. Clean growth and carbon reduction is a key government priority, with entire funding streams being dedicated to investment in renewable energy and sustainable practices, both nationally and locally.
“As employers give more strategic consideration to their environmental impact and take practical steps to optimise their operations, upskilling employees with the knowledge and skills that they need to effectively carry out their responsibilities will become a key priority, which is why we are delighted to bring our new qualification to the market.”
A green future is the only future
The Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Climate Change and Environmental Awareness qualification launched on 1 June 2020 and is suitable for learners aged 14 and over and is eligible for AEB funding from the ESFA. We’d encourage providers and employers who are interested in this qualification to submit an enquiry or to contact [email protected] and start a conversation about how to implement a ‘green’ curriculum.
Employability skills that are underpinned by green practices will be key to our economic recovery and future growth. If the future isn’t green, then is simply isn’t a future at all.
Read next: Education is key to a green future.