Education as a key element in environmental improvement

Posted on April 22, 2020 | Darys Estrella

World Mother Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 and this year we wanted to reinforce the focus on the importance and impact of education to achieve...

World Mother Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 and this year we wanted to reinforce the focus on the importance and impact of education to achieve radical changes in the way of thinking and acting on the protection of the environment and change climate.

Many people think that certain problems, such as climate change, should be solved by governments or the scientific community, without realizing that each one is part of the problem and must take responsibility to help find a solution.

“This is the moral challenge of our generation. Not only the eyes of the world are on us. More importantly, generations to come depend on us. We cannot steal the future from our children” Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary General.

Could it be that it is necessary to educate and sensitize people to be able to take them to action and add them to the solution?

The route seems easy, but the path is complicated. It is up to us to prepare the field and sow the land. Those who follow us will reap the harvest.

Educate - Internalize - Act

Based on the World Bank data (2015) that just over 25%, corresponding to 1.85 billion people in the world are children and adolescents under 14 years of age and with the reality of a changing climate, the need for education comprehensive that includes and develops issues of environment, climate change and adaptation has never been greater. It is this population that will inherit the consequences of the decisions and actions that we have been taking.

Within this percentage of the population, the most vulnerable subgroup is also found to be affected by climatic phenomena, which is located in high-risk geographical areas. These phenomena not only drag environmental problems, but extend to economic and health issues, directly deteriorating the quality of life and limiting the development of the potential that this future generation of world citizens has.

But what does the future generation think?

A survey carried out by UNICEF (2015) of more than 12,000 children and young people, between 9 and 19 years old, from Latin America and the Caribbean, revealed among the main findings that they believe they will enjoy a better future than that of their parents, although they believe that their countries will be a worse place to live; and they dream of a country inhabited by decent people, without crime and with a stronger economy, where peace and social equality reign.

Education for sustainable development is essential at all levels and in both formal and non-formal settings, creating awareness and understanding of these issues from early childhood is the best way to change the behaviors and attitudes of future citizens of the world.

The education that children and adolescents receive today will determine their future and ours. For this reason, education on environmental and climate change issues plays a fundamental role in helping society achieve sustainable development, and especially helps future generations to understand the social, economic and environmental issues related to these issues and to participate proactively seeking and providing solutions, changing lifestyles, contributing to research, innovation and development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to changing local conditions.

Our role today is to plant that seed: ensuring universal access to education for future generations; that this education is of quality; and that it prepares them comprehensively to be able to adapt to the environmental and climatic conditions of a changing world.