Canada puts $12.5M into environmental literacy

Canada is committed to providing young Canadians with the knowledge and skills they need to better understand and cope with the triple threat of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Honourable Steven Guilbeault announced on Oct. 4 that the Government of Canada will invest $12.5 million from the Environmental Damages Fund’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund in an innovative partnership with the philanthropic community to help grow environmental literacy across Canada.

The funding will support projects that will increase the scientific knowledge and environmental literacy of young Canadians, their educators, and families, as part of the long-term solutions to tackle climate change.

A portion of the funding will be dedicated to Indigenous-led initiatives.

“Environmental literacy is a key goal of environmental learning. It refers to the ability to understand and consider how human activities, ecological systems, and the changing climate are connected,” said an Oct. 4 press release from Environment and Climate Change Canada. “Environmental literacy involves understanding not only climate science and environmental forces at work, but also sustainable practices and the ethical and social aspects of environmental challenges.”

To boost the value of this investment, Environment and Climate Change Canada is partnering with several philanthropic organizations that are committing to matching the Government of Canada’s funding of eligible projects. Strong collaborations with trusted partners in the field of environmental education and literacy will help make long-term gains in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Nearly every aspect of a young person’s future will be affected by climate — their jobs, their homes, energy use, transportation, food, water, health, personal security, and more,” said Minister of Environment and Climate Change Honourable Steven Guilbeault. “Environmental literacy is a key to understanding and further developing innovative solutions to climate change. We need to empower young Canadians, their educators, and families, providing them with the skills and information they need to thrive in a future shaped by climate challenges.”

Environmental literacy is a significant—and often overlooked—part of mitigation and adaptation solutions to climate change. Funded projects will develop knowledge, tools, and skills for young Canadians, their families, and their educators with the overall goals of equipping youth for the future and supporting Canada’s goals for climate action, such as achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

To be eligible for funding, projects must align with one of the following four priorities: greening learning spaces, developing learning materials and opportunities, integrating environmental education into teacher training and educator professional development, or improving research on environmental literacy and its impacts.

Expressions of interest will be accepted through the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System until October 31.

Established in 2020 and administered under the Environmental Damages Fund, the Climate Action and Awareness Fund is investing up to $206 million over five years to support Canadian-made projects that help to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. These projects are critical to building a sustainable net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

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