The world is facing an urgent global challenge: climate change. The impacts of climate change are felt across the globe, from rising temperatures and extreme weather events to the loss of biodiversity and threats to human livelihoods. As we strive to address this pressing issue, it becomes evident that education plays a central role in creating a sustainable future. This is why I am passionate about climate action and climate-smart education that weaves climate education into regular school curricula.
Growing up in a coastal community my peers and I did not know how important it was to protect our ecosystems. In my province, Puntarenas, the main sources of work are tourism and artisanal fishing. Both activities have been severely affected by climate change in recent years. This combined with the lack of opportunities to get a higher education degree, has forced people to leave their birthplace to earn a living.
I consider education a key point in the protection of our planet. The lack of education is at the center of most social problems and to fix this we need to focus on accessibility. My community’s story would have been much different if someone had taught us about sustainable fishing practices, climate change, and how we needed to protect our limited resources.
A solution is the inclusion of climate education as a required l class in our educational systems. In this post, I will explore the benefits and significance of making climate education a required class, equipping students with the knowledge and tools to tackle the complex challenges of our changing world.
Climate education is crucial for a multitude of reasons. First, it empowers individuals with the knowledge and understanding of the causes, impacts, and solutions related to climate change. By teaching students about the science behind climate change, the interconnection of ecosystems, and the social and economic implications, we create a generation that is better equipped to address the complex challenges ahead.
Implementing climate education as a class would require careful planning, teacher training, and allocation of resources. Collaboration between policymakers, educational institutions, and climate experts is vital to creating a comprehensive curriculum that aligns with existing educational frameworks.
Schools can play a critical role in increasing awareness of local communities on climate and disaster risk issues and promoting local actions to build resilience. In addition to including it as a compulsory subject schools can encourage students to participate in numerous climate change-related advocacy activities that can be carried out in schools and in community spaces. For example, activities in nature relating to caring for the environment, clean-up operations, visits to farms and nurseries to learn first-hand how to look after animals and plants, courses and workshops on recycling, etc.
I volunteer in a program called Greentalist that focuses on climate education. The program gives scholarships to people who lack experience in climate action and gives them the knowledge on how to start a sustainable lifestyle. I have seen the change education brings firsthand to myself and on my mentees. Now I bringing my experience in climate education to a leadership program for girls and training them to become peer educators since they are key to fighting climate change.
Making climate education a class would be a bold step toward equipping students with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to combat climate change. We can empower future generations to become defenders of the planet. By investing in climate education, we invest in a sustainable and resilient future for all.
Let us embrace education and pave the way for a greener tomorrow.
Learn more about how the Future Rising Program supports young activists in combating the climate crisis.