UNEP launches initiative to connect learners with nature amid COVID-19 pandemic


The United Nations Environment and partners on Thursday launched the “Earth School” initiative to keep students connected to nature as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment, said the initiative is key to enabling young learners to interact with nature amid closure of schools to prevent the spread of the virus.

“COVID-19 has revealed how deeply interconnected all life on this planet is,” Andersen said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

She said that learning about the natural world will be critical to building a better and sustainable future for humanity.

She said that Earth School is a collaboration between educators and partners from around the world.

“We are proud and thrilled to see the initiative feeding the global curiosity of home-bound students, all of whom are the future environmental stewards of our planet,” said Andersen.

She said the program is tailor-made for children and youth aged between five to 18 years and spans 30 school days that run between Earth Day that was marked on Wednesday and World Environment Day slated for June 5.

According to Andersen, the platform is a gateway to some of the most inspiring lessons on nature and the environment, and each lesson comes with practical and fun activities that students can engage with and share.

“Despite being confined to their homes, this project shows that students, parents and teachers throughout the world can still engage in science-based learning and adventures together,” said Vicki Phillips, executive vice president of the National Geographic Society.

Phillips said that these unprecedented times highlight just how important it is for young people to connect with the natural world and have a better understanding of science.

“This platform will give students the opportunity to cultivate a spirit of exploration and build empathy for the Earth, even if it is from inside their homes, from a window, or on a short walk in the neighborhood,” said Philips.

The curated Earth School content features videos, reading materials and activities that will be translated into 10 languages to help students gain an understanding of the environment while considering their role within it.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, about 1.5 billion learners are affected by school closures linked to COVID-19. Enditem

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