Agriculture only gets a single mention in a consultation paper for a proposed new Leaving Certificate subject on Climate Action and Sustainable Development.

There is no direct reference to tillage or livestock farming in the 35-page document from the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA), which sets out the structure and specifications for the proposed subject.

However, the document does state that the optional subject would “explore the role of Irish agriculture in conservation of biodiversity, climate regeneration and climate breakdown”.

Land use

In terms of land use, it is suggested that the subject would “analyse contemporary dilemmas related to the use of land or nature in Ireland, considering the power different groups have in determining the outcome”.

Much of the proposed course content focuses on developing the students as actors for climate change.

“The overarching aim of Leaving Certificate Climate Action and Sustainable Development is to develop students’ capacity for informed and meaningful action for a just and sustainable world as they engage with key sustainability challenges, including the climate crisis,” the NCCA document explains.

The proposal claims that the new subject will “empower” students to:

  • Build their understanding of a number of interconnected core concepts and principles related to climate action and sustainable development;
  • Apply their learning in exploring, designing, and taking action on key sustainability challenges, including the climate crisis;
  • Manage complexity using critical thinking, making informed decisions based on scientific evidence;
  • Respond reflectively to environmental challenges and opportunities.
  • It is proposed that the new subject will compare Ireland’s performance on climate change and sustainability with that of other countries.

    In addition, students will explore issues such as climate injustice and power inequalities, including those relating to human rights, neo- colonialism, gender inequality, class inequality and racism.