University of Crete for World Environment Day

Our planet’s climate is showing unprecedented signs of instability, with 2023 the hottest year on record. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, and the international community is reluctant to take the necessary steps to keep temperatures within the limits set by the Paris Agreement, two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The effects of global warming are being felt all over the world and human society is being challenged to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. First of all, it is the new people who will have to manage a new normal that will include, among other things, increasingly frequent and severe droughts, but also floods, heat waves and extreme fires, and will also be asked to pay the economic price. generation of citizens.

Targeted education of youth about the causes and consequences of climate change, mitigation and adaptation options is now necessary, as implementation of countermeasures concerns an informed public and depends on community-level action. but also at the citizen level. After all, the resolution of the European Parliament on climate change is clear: “the education of young people is one of the most effective tools in the fight against climate change.”

The Laboratory of Environmental Chemical Processes (E.PE.CHI.DI.) of the Chemistry Department of the University of Crete operates a research station at Finokalia Lasithi (, where state-of-the-art research is carried out. air pollution, atmospheric environment and climate, has been carried out continuously since 1993, making it the oldest continuously operating station in the An Mesogeiou area.

In addition to research work, the station, PK and EPHEDI are also pioneers in educational activities to train the next generation in climate change related issues. As part of the EDU4Clima project funded by the Hellenic Research and Innovation Fund, a Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center was established in Finokalia as a space for dialogue on climate change, air pollution, sustainable development and contemporary environmental issues.

Komvos was located in an old primary school in Nofalia, six kilometers from Finokalia. As part of EDU4Clima, an integrated internship program for students and teachers promoting climate change teaching in secondary education has been created. During the first operational period of the Hub in Finokalia, 53 schools were visited and approximately 1,500 students and 100 teachers participated in the program, mainly from Crete, but also abroad through the Erasmus+ program.

The Hub in Finokalia now also has an international impact, as it is one of the main centers for climate change teacher training in Europe. The CLIMADEMY (Climate Change Teachers Academy) project, funded by the Erasmus+ program and of which KP is the coordinating body, is in only four countries (Greece, Germany, Italy, Finland).

The network being developed brings together researchers and educators so that the message about changes in the natural environment and the need for action can be communicated in a complete and timely manner. In collaboration with the Positive Science Teaching Laboratory of the Pedagogy Department of PK Primary Education, the data is transformed into teaching material so that teachers can in turn teach climate change in their classrooms. So far, 38 Greek teachers have participated in the training, which will continue with increasing intensity in the 2024-25 academic year.

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