Climate Action and Education Go Hand in Hand
In no other time in history has the need for education on climate change been so important. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the population is still in the dark about climate change and its effects. Global action requires global resolve, which can only be galvanized when the facts are laid out for everyone to see and understand.
Education in Schools
An important reason to teach children about climate change is that they will grow up and be the ones to tackle and manage the effects of climate change. We are already seeing an increase in demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates who can provide effective and viable solutions to this issue.
While environmental science has been introduced as a subject across educational institutions at all levels, today’s educators are looking to integrate and embed climate change into traditional subjects. The social sciences are intrinsically primed to be geared towards the topic. However, with a little tweaking, other subjects like science, math, and language can also be used to spread information. English educators could assign stories that are based on the effects of climate change, which allows students to immediately connect to the fallout of global warming. Students could be asked to research, analyze, and carry out projects based on the topic. Students could be asked to run a plastics free week at school or ensure that the cafeteria produces zero waste while procuring ethically grown ingredients. Tree-planting initiatives are also a good option to create general consciousness about the environment.
UN’s Education Plan
The UN through the UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme has set out core programmes in its initiative to spread a holistic understanding of climate change, its causes, and its impacts.
The first creates a forum that works with public and local initiatives to educate people involved in occupations like fisheries, forestry, and coastal services on the long-term effects of current practices on the climate and ecosystem and the impacts of climate change.
The second initiative is geared towards the youth in an effort to build a new generation that is better prepared to take on the task of climate change and its effects. This program uses various educational approaches, most of which are really innovative in nature, to help the youth understand and address while adapting to the ill-effects of climate change. It encourages changes in behaviors and perceptions which are needed to go on a sustainable development path with a clear understanding of the aim of sustainable development.
As the third initiative, the UN is also setting up an observatory, which will use the various UN World Heritage Sites around the world to measure and track the varied effects of climate change. This is to ensure that vital information is collected and shared with everyone. The efforts will be concentrated on the impacts upon societies, ecosystems, and biodiversity and how appropriate climate action can help solve certain problems.
The fourth and last initiative focuses on establishing a research program that incorporates policy-relevant research with the effects of climate change on vulnerable groups along with the social, human, and ethical dimensions. The program looks to develop policies with the relevant authority in order to mitigate the effects of climate change among the most vulnerable.
Climate change has unfortunately become a reality of our lives. After ignoring the problem and general apathy for decades, we have now reached a point where we can no longer afford to ignore the consequences of human action. If we are serious about maintaining the quality of life not just for us but also for our future generations, we absolutely must take on climate change, its causes, its driving forces, and its effects.
Already we see some positive effects of education and climate change. Companies like EcoMatcher help businesses integrate tree planting into their practice. We will need more such initiatives from a range of fields that work from a framework of sustainable development goals.
We no longer have the luxury of waiting for world leaders to take on the initiative to fight global warming. For truly effective and impactful results, a collective effort is required. Spreading awareness to the people of the planet is the only way to safeguard its future.