Shaping the mind of young people is one of the biggest challenges and, at the same time, the most important job in this world. When it comes to teaching young people about serious issues concerning climate change, not many of the traditional methods will work.
People need to learn about our environmental issues, including climate change, from a young age. Climate change is a serious problem that will affect and determine young people’s future. If taught from an early age, the young minds of today can better understand and affect what happens with the world in the future.
But, how do you break the secret out and tell people that humans are constantly causing terrible things that threaten our Earth and the life within it? When you tell a young person that animals die from the plastic we throw in the oceans, how will this affect them?
Climate change is a very complex and difficult topic. When shared with the young generations, it has to be tackled carefully. The young minds that process the information the right way and understand climate change and all that comes with it are the ones that will potentially take action to make things better for this world.
Therefore, in addition to teaching them what climate change is, we also need to teach them to be more conscious about it. It is one thing to share the information, but the real struggle happens when you need to encourage someone to act on it.
This is why there’s a term for all this – climate change education.
Climate Change Education Today
Young people today hear about climate change in the news and by reading online. Despite what many experts say, climate change education is still highly eliminated from the traditional, official educational system. As The Guardian reports:
‘’To date, many attempts to educate the public – and our kids – about climate change have relied on scare tactics that focus on superstorms, massive floods and ominous weather patterns to generate fear.’’
Fear can be an amazing push toward taking action, but it is hard to say that climate change education is as widely spread as it should be. Young learners still have limited access to academic structure and reasoning that will help them understand climate change. Such fear might be healthy if it prompts them to take action, but without an official outlet where they can ask their questions and get a better understanding, how do we expect them to grasp this fear or put it at ease?
Teaching the young minds about climate change is currently based only on scaring them with devastating facts. Yes, this makes it as real and as important as it is. But, unless they are taught how to affect it in a positive way and make it better, what do we expect from such education, really?
According to an environmental expert and a biology writer at a custom writing essay service, Steven Burke, ‘’Climate change education needs to prepare children for the era where they will live and grow in, as well as teach them of their responsibility to develop solutions to the climate change issues.’’
The fact is, some students might be prompted by all the information that’s thrown at them without any explanation to take action. However, this number will remain limited unless we figure out a way to educate and shape the young minds to actually take the necessary action.
Things We Can Do to Make Young People Take Action
Statistics show that young people are much more aware of the climate change situation than older generations. This is a good step toward making changes, but we can certainly do better.
Solving the biggest climate change issues requires knowledge of the factors that led to them, as well as skills taught by technology, science, math, and engineering. The demand of STEM skills is only bound to grow based on the effects of climate change and their progress. Therefore, one sure way to prepare the young minds to face climate change and beat the odds is to educate them enough so that they are able to make a difference.
In addition to providing them with proper education, here are some things the society has to do to make the young people more conscious about climate change:
1. Promote Youth Activists and Organizations
Today, the number of student organizations and strikes concerning climate change is on the rise. Even so, there’s still limited exposure to such organizations and groups. By promoting the marketing of such organizations, the reach will become much wider and with it, more and more young people will learn about climate change. Who knows – they might even become prompted to take action, too.
People tend to copy model behavior when they see it. If a young person takes notice of big organizations and groups of aware people who fight against climate change, they are very likely to want to engage in such activities.
Therefore, one of the tasks of our society is to build more awareness that such organizations exist. Such movements should reach a wider audience and teach them that there are actions that can be taken. This will pique their interest in this very important subject and allow them to learn from other people’s efforts.
News outlets can share information about school protests and strikes, not only by mentioning them. By sharing the stories and implications, as well as successes of such organizations, we’d be providing young people within the community with an example. People learn by example, especially children.
2. Become an Example
When it comes to parenting, there’s one big rule of thumb – teach by example. We can’t expect young people to jump to the opportunity to affect climate change unless we do the same. By practicing healthy, eco-friendly habits in the community and the home, we can teach young minds by providing them with a good example.
This goes beyond just telling them stories about how they can affect climate change. Eco-friendly habits start with recycling and move to reusing. In schools, educators can teach by example by separating the waste in the areas such as the classrooms and cafeterias, ask students to help plant some trees, turn off the lights, and not use the air conditioning when they are outside the room.
There are plenty of things that can make this world a better place. Before we give that task to someone else, we need to be willing to make that change first.
3. Teach the Right Information
Climate change is probably one of the widest discussed, most controversial topics in the world. This means that students will have access to all kinds of facts, many of which will be untrue or misleading. In order to prevent that from happening, we need to control what gets to the young students. By teaching them the right facts, we are eliminating the risk of fake news getting to them and giving them the wrong perspective.
That being said, any education on climate change must be supported by valid facts and scientific evidence. Young people need to hear facts not only about the climate change issues, but also about success stories and good practices, making them aware that there is something to be done about it all.
4. Use Visualizations and Videos
Some people understand better through graphics, images, and videos. When trying to teach a difficult topic to a student, especially young children, visualization can be the greatest tool at a person’s disposal. That being said, we need to create and show more educational videos targeted toward young people, providing them with a refreshing, interesting way to learn.
Even if we don’t have the time or means to create new videos, there are many educational videos that promote awareness on social media and channels like YouTube.
5. Encourage Eco-Friendly Approach in the Traditional Education
Everything begins here – where pupils are educated from the youngest age. There are plenty of things that educators can do to create an eco-friendly environment for their students. Here are some great ideas:
- Teach students about carbon footprint and encourage them to walk to school together. This will make for an enjoyable and safe journey, and help their health, too.
- Start with the staff. In order for the children to be willing to live an eco-friendly life, they have to have a good example. Everything starts in the offices. Cut down on paper by using electronic documents, switch off the monitors when they aren’t used, recycle, etc.
- Provide them with healthy, green nutrition. Try to switch to organic and free-range whenever possible. This is healthier and also helps the environment.
- Sort the recycling bins to promote proper recycling. Teach the children how to recycle.
- Get the children acquainted with nature. Dedicate some classes to planting trees, growing vegetables, or exploring nature.
- Get them more involved in the community. Hold events where pupils can volunteer to help resolve some of the climate change issues.
Climate change is an enormous topic, one that has been discussed all around the world and for quite some time now. This is why it is crucial for the youngest students to become more aware of what is happening with our world. With the right teaching approach and the proper spread of information, young students can become well informed of climate change and how they can affect this in a positive way.
The truth is, young people are more aware of climate change than any other group of people nowadays. Even so, they need proper guidance and teaching to truly grasp the issue of climate change, as well as use their knowledge and skills to make the world a better place.
This content is brought to you by Stephen Hamilton.