A HIGH school teacher has become the first in Essex to become a United Nations-accredited climate change teacher.

Dean Bell, a geography teacher at Harwich and Dovercourt High School, has completed a course so he can now teach the next generation about protecting the planet.

He said: “As a teacher, the issue of climate change is no longer constrained to the boundaries of the classroom.

“Climate change is a global issue, and as such it is important that everybody understands not only about the effects, but how everybody can help to tackle this global problem.”

“Climate change has always been something I have been passionate about.

“As a geography teacher, climate change shows up through many key topics from key stage three to A-level.

“I have always tried to keep my knowledge around the subject up to date and the course has been a fantastic way of doing this.

“Teaching students not only about the effects but also about ways we can mitigate and adapt to it by using the most up to date information is vital.

“Well-informed students will lead to well-informed adults and that is what we need if we are to overcome this global problem.”

The United Nations Climate Change Teacher Academy, run by Harwood Education, started in April and is free to all teachers.

It includes covers topics such as climate change science, gender and environment, children and climate change, cities and climate change, and human health.

Melanie Harwood, of Harwood Education, said: “Young children are far more vulnerable to climate-related disasters and associated health risks than any other social group.

“We need to give them the tools to understand the effects of a changing climate so that they can take well informed and effective action in the future.”

Kate Finch, Harwich and Dovercourt High School headteacher, said: “We are very conscious of the climate crisis and are proud to be attempting to change habits of our school community and beyond.

“For example, we have invested in better water fountains, bio-degradable reusable water bottles for all students and staff, and a ban of plastic bottles on site coming in to play from the end of term.

“As such we are proud and delighted to have Mr Bell as one of the first 80 teachers in the country to be certified as a United Nations certified climate change teacher.”