On May 10th, 2022 Rural Educators Across Borders hosted its second official meeting following the enthusiasm and success of the pilot event back in October 2021. The focus of this second global gathering of rural educators and advocates was Sustainability in Rural Schools, and it explored the local-to-global impacts of and responses to climate change in rural areas. Rural areas around the world are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, compounding the existing stressors which weigh on rural communities. Nevertheless, as the discussions among the panelists and breakout groups at this event highlighted, rural teacher leaders are not only inspiring the next generation of climate-aware citizens ready to grapple with this complex issue, but they themselves are catalysts for community resiliency and innovation.
The event was headlined by a keynote presentation from Phil Lord, a school improvement advisory with a regional education consortia in North Wales as well as an international panel featuring seven rural educators from the United States, Spain, and Wales. A common theme expressed throughout the session is that sustainability in rural places extends beyond an understanding of the environmental dimension of the concept, but is also intertwined with the local economy and society. This holistic approach to sustainability parallels how teachers shared their work with their students about sustainability, highlighting that contextualizing the topic to the local level, incorporating the community into the class content, and encouraging students to lead their own inquiry processes was key.
Thank you to all those who participated in the event, our seven stellar panelists, our partners in the Welsh Government and the Princess of Girona Foundation, and event participants! You can rewatch the event, and check out other resources about rural around the global on the Rural Educators Across Borders webpage.