Climate change is still considered secondary by many Africans yet its adverse effects are being experienced till date. According to a recent social media post by Google for startups, some of the top 2022 predictions for startups by one its partners were,
“More investments than ever before will go into startups working to mitigate climate change,” Stephanie Osbelt, Impact Hub Zurich AG
In this article we shall explore different case studies of how climate change awareness is being executed in other parts of the world. Hopefully, African tech innovators can borrow a link borrow a leaf.
Every year, Shamayel Zaidi, an Indian instructor, assigns the same task to his new senior high school students: a presentation on one of three topics: consumer awareness, social issues, or environmental sustainability.
He claims that almost no one chooses the surroundings. Not even in recent years, as the dangers of climate change have been more apparent everywhere – temperatures are higher than ever, intense cyclones and wildfires have become more regular, children are at greater risk due to it all.
Students at this residential school in the northern city of Varanasi, however, are uninterested, according to Mr. Zaidi, because there has been no “serious effort” to tell them of the gravity of the climate problem.
“Unless your town is devastated by a flood or another disaster, people are unaware of how awful things are,” he said. Inequality, he adds, also plays a role. “Some of my students are interested in discussing climate change. However, many of them come from families where such topics are never mentioned.”
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Greta Thunberg, 15, launched a school strike in Sweden in 2018 to call attention to the climate problem, igniting a youth-led campaign that quickly gained traction. For the first time, children and teenagers poured out onto the streets throughout the globe to demand climate action;
children have been at the forefront of the struggle against a rapidly warming globe. As a result, many people are advocating for climate change education to be included in school curricula.
“Including climate topics in school curriculum is critical for training the next generation of innovative thinkers who can become champions of climate action at the local and international levels,” said Dr. Ayoob Sharifi, an associate professor at Hiroshima University.
Climate change studies have already been included in the secondary school curriculum in New Zealand and Italy. Britain stated during the COP26 meeting in November that a climate change teaching strategy was in the works. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stated that “climate change adaptation plans” should be included in school curricula.
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There is no climate change curriculum in India, but some components, such as sustainability, are included in environmental studies, which is required in schools and universities.
Dr. Sharifi believes that education about climate change is “critical” for India, which is “likely to face substantial population expansion and urbanization in the coming decades.”
He believes that if children understand the repercussions of unsustainable expansion, they will be more likely to embrace a more environmentally responsible lifestyle.
Some schools in India have begun to do this on their own. Children at Shri Ram School in Gurgaon learn to plant trees and create crafts out of recycled materials while discussing changing weather patterns and the social and economic elements of their relationship with the environment.
“It may not be a separate topic per say, but there is a curriculum in place to teach pupils about climate change, and it is graded,” said Sharda Sagar, a teacher at the school. She has taught environmental studies and social studies. However, experts argue that current educational approaches do not address the scope of the problem.
“The environmental curriculum concentrates on nature and outdoor education but does not address how human actions contribute to climate change or how students might prevent it,” Keya Lamba explained. Ms. Lamba and Shweta Bahri, an education policy expert, co-founded Earth Warriors, a climate change program for youngsters.
Earth Warriors is a set of learning modules for children aged three to seven years old that introduce complicated climate change themes through animated characters, songs, and easy games. Lessons make use of repurposed and natural materials, including cardboard boxes, sticks, and leaves.
According to Ms. Bahri, the goal is to educate children on vital concepts, make them “feel like superheroes,” and realize that individual actions can help safeguard the earth. The course also teaches teachers how to handle the subject in a “non-scary positive manner.”
The curriculum has been piloted in four countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Botswana. It will be introduced in a few private primary schools in India in February. “This is just the beginning,” Ms. Lamba said, “but our ultimate goal is to make this a national curriculum in India and internationally.”
However, not everyone feels that climate change education should be taught separately in Indian classrooms. Anita Rampal, former dean of Delhi University’s Faculty of Education, believes that rather than relegating the topic to a separate textbook, it should be integrated with current topics
“such that it goes through the entire curriculum.” “Climate change and related themes like the biodiversity catastrophe and ecological justice are critical to comprehend, but they’re also abstract and difficult,” she says. “It is insufficient to preach moral messages or provide definitions. These ideas and concerns must be weaved into whatever you teach.”
There are further challenges. There are huge differences between impoverished government-run schools and opulent private institutions, making it even more difficult to integrate climate instruction across the board.
“It is easy to suggest that schools should provide more outdoor time and practical activities, but the reality is that this is not possible in many underprivileged schools in India. More than a curriculum, schools must be supported in order to overcome this divide “Ms. Sagar stated. On the other hand, teachers are concerned about the despair and helplessness that kids may experience after learning about the sad realities of climate change.
How are you teaching children in your community about climate change?
Read more on climate change;
Ken is a Quantitative Trader with experience in investments, quantitative finance, financial modelling and algorithmic trading in Global Investable Markets (GIM). He enjoys using Bayesian Statistics, Time Series and Machine Learning in developing Robust consistent Alphas in Equities Market, FX, ETPs and Derivatives instruments. He enjoys deep dives in understanding High Frequency Trading infrastructures and improving how the African financial markets work. He holds a Bachelor's in Actuarial Science from Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences : An Executive Program in Algorithmic Trading (EPAT) certificate in Algo Trading from QuantInsti : A current MSc student in Financial Engineering at World Quant University.