Earth Month is coming to a close, but the work to invest in our future continues. We want to take a look at one last area that’s essential when it comes to fighting climate change; education.
The reasons education is so vital are simple; we need to know, first off, what the problem is and, secondly, the best ways to fight it.
The UN agrees, with education, training, and public awareness on climate change – “Action for Climate Empowerment” (ACE) – being the focus of Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Environmental education can encourage people to change their attitudes and behaviour, and helps them make informed decisions. It empowers all people, but especially motivates the young to take action. Not to mention, knowing the facts helps eliminate the fear of an issue which is frequently coloured by doom and gloom in the public arena.
Speaking during Education Day at the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, said:
“Governments need to integrate training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information into all of their climate action activities – both in the areas of curbing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience.”
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Governments worldwide have started taking note of how important a role education will play in solving climate change. The UK Government even recently announced a new climate change GSCE that will teach students “how to conserve the planet”.
The Department for Education says the natural history course would enable students “to explore the world by learning about organisms and environments, environmental and sustainability issues”.
However, it’s not just young people in schools that can benefit from climate education.
For communities, teach-ins can play a significant role in providing the knowledge they need to advocate for a cleaner, more secure future.
A teach-in is similar to a general educational gathering on any complicated issue, usually an issue or problem of importance to society, like climate change. Teach-ins are meant to be practical, participatory and oriented toward action.
While they include experts lecturing on the area of their expertise, discussion and questions from the audience are encouraged and end with the community deciding on a call-to-action for what steps they can take to make a difference.
The organisers of Earth Day have even created a helpful package to give anyone the ability to plan and run their own teach-in. You can find it here: Teach-In Toolkit.
Education can even help businesses that want to do more for the environment.
Whether it’s wanting to reach Net Zero and not knowing where to start or training employees to be more aware of the company’s environmental impact, education is the key to turning intention into action.
Carbon literacy courses are becoming massively more popular amongst businesses of all types and can help make them make a more positive impact on the environment.
Here at Play it Green, we know how important education is to fighting climate change. That’s why we provide all our members with weekly tips explaining the issues behind the unsustainable habits and things we use in our lives, and introduce them to more planet-friendly alternatives.
We also help keep our members up-to-date on climate innovations and all the good work others are doing in the area to help inspire them to take action themselves.
The bottom line is that it’s essential to educate everyone about climate change and the steps they can take to reduce their impact.
As the UN says, climate and environmental literacy, coupled with strong civic education, will create jobs, build a green consumer market and allow citizens to engage with their governments in a meaningful way to address the climate crisis.
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