What good is climate education for our children's futures?

After the launch of the Climate Ambassador Scheme, The Courier explores the importance of educating children about climate.

Leo David Prajogo
18th May 2022
Credits: Canva and The Organisation for World Piece
The Climate Ambassador Scheme was launched on Earth Day last month in response to the National Climate Education Action Plan, agreed upon at the Climate Education Summit in September 2021. Newcastle University professor Hayley Fowler is one of the experts guiding climate change education in schools. Climate education is becoming more prevalent, with the Department of Education having launched its Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, but this poses a new question: how effective is climate education at mitigating climate change in the long run?

In this day and age, with cities sinking and temperatures up to 45°C in India, no one can say that climate awareness is unimportant. It is essential; it will not do to coddle children and leave them unaware of these grim realities.

It also cannot be said that children are uncaring - in 2019, on the 20th and 27th of September, students in over 150 countries led strikes that The Guardian estimates had a turnout of over six million people, young people and adults alike. I remember these strikes, led by Year Tens in my school.

I also remember my teachers complaining that all they were succeeding in was putting themselves behind in exam preparations.

As Forbes points out, “student strikes probably do not disrupt the government or fossil fuel firms”. At the end of the day, not all the students educated in climate change are going to become the world leaders who end climate change - in fact, by the time today’s secondary school students are far enough in their political careers to do that, it may be too late.

What good is teaching children about recycling and greener lifestyles when change needs to start from much higher up the food chain?

The answer is this: plenty of good.

Change will be achieved by the determination of millions of children around the globe fighting for their futures.

Change is achieved by collective mass action. Change will not be achieved by one school switching to renewables, or an after school arts club using exclusively recycled materials. Change will be achieved by the determination of millions of children around the globe fighting for their futures. It will be achieved by millions of children pushing for their cities to make greener choices. It will be achieved by millions of children taking back their futures.

The best thing we can do for these children?

Stick by them, no matter how disruptive children may be. Teach them about their rights and the power they hold. Give them the tools they need to find their place and make things right. While school walkouts might not disrupt the government or fossil fuel firms, one day, children will have the power to do just that.

Make a world where children’s voices are listened to and amplified, not walked over.

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