Sunday, August 14, 2022

Need for environmental education to combat climate change

Climate change education is a vital part of environmental education, education for sustainable development and eco-social competence. Closely related are citizenship, human rights and media education, and education on global and future issues.
The main goals of climate education include building a sustainable future, inspiring action and practicing influencing skills at the social and personal levels. It is imperative not only to learn to understand climate change in-depth but also to change one’s own behaviour and actions. In this context, behaviour refers to action people take to tackle climate change. In addition to active citizens, many social institutions are developing mitigation and adaptation techniques, and climate education should provide at least basic information on these agents.
In the past few years, various initiatives have been launched to try to curb climate change. Prominent among them are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoted by the United Nations (UN) since 2012. One of them, number 13, is entitled Climate Action.
The success of these kinds of initiatives is largely dependent on environmental literacy drives among populations that are often strangers to these major political agreements, and on the development of a culture of care for the climate. But what exactly do we mean by environmental literacy? Educating citizens, especially children, and raising their awareness regarding the causes and consequences of climate change.
In fact the UN, as part of its commitment to education on climate change, says that “it is just as important to make progress in areas such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and formulating effective government policies as it is to provide education and training to raise awareness in as wide an audience as possible”.
As part of this change in approach, experts point to the importance of starting to use concepts that hitherto seemed the reserve of scientists. We’re talking about global warming, greenhouse gases, renewable energy, carbon footprint, deforestation, recycling, green jobs, green taxes, water footprint, sustainable food, etc.
Experts are increasingly stressing the importance of educating children on environmental matters and developing a culture of caring for the climate. For example a recent report by the University of Stanford looked at how this subject had benefited pupils from nursery school through to leaving secondary school, concluding that 83% of pupils improved their environmental behaviour.
How to bring educational training to schools? As well as including it as a compulsory subject, with Italy, so far, being the only European country to have done this, there are numerous climate change related activities that can be carried out in schools. For example: activities in nature relating to caring for the environment, such as clean-up operations, visit farms and nurseries to learn at first-hand how to look after animals and plants, courses and workshops on recycling, etc.
There are also many technological resources, which offer teachers free educational resources related to the environment — climate change, responsible consumption, energy and mobility, etc. — that they can be put into practice with children in the classroom.
Senti Aier,
Student, Dimapur

Most Read