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The Need for Including Climate Change Education in Curricula

Climate change is not just a prominent concern in today's world that is changing quickly but it is one of the biggest problems humanity has ever faced. As we struggle with its far-reaching effects, such as increased sea levels, biodiversity loss, and extreme weather, it is becoming more and more clear that combating climate change calls for coordinated action from all facets of society. Among these, education stands out as a potent instrument for inspiring action toward a sustainable future as well as for comprehending the nuances of climate change.

The reduction in polar ice caps due to climate change is shown in this picture
The reduction in polar ice caps due to climate change is shown in this picture

The process of educating people about the science, causes, effects, and solutions associated with climate change is known can be termed as climate change education. It aims to inform people about the complexity of climate change and provide them with the tools they need to take action to mitigate and prepare for its effects. There are numerous ways to educate people on climate change, such as through online resources, community-based projects, public awareness campaigns, and classroom instruction.

Fundamentally, teaching about climate change involves a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates knowledge from the humanities, sciences, engineering, and economics. It aims to develop critical thinking abilities, foster environmental stewardship, and support sustainable lifestyles rather than just providing data on temperature rise or greenhouse gas emissions. Raising student awareness and fostering climate literacy are two important advantages of including climate change education in the curriculum. Students can better grasp the severity of the issue and participate in informed conversations if they are given a solid understanding of the science behind climate change, including the mechanisms driving it and its possible implications on ecosystems and societies.

Despite being the least accountable for climate change, children are most likely to experience its effects. According to a UNICEF report from 2022, over 80% of Indian youth think that climate change has an impact on their schooling. So it is our responsibility to not hand over the Earth in a bad state to our future generations and simultaneously we should also make them aware by including these topics in their regular curricula so that they can also join the fight for saving the only liveable planet we have in this Universe. According to a Lancet study, almost 75% of kids believe that climate change has made the future scary, and 45% of them claimed that thinking about these things makes it difficult for them to go about their daily lives. These figures suggest that students have already accepted the problem of climate change and if slightly motivated they can make a huge difference in the fight against climate change by their inclusion.

India is a nation facing enormous development imperatives at a time when climatic unpredictability and change will have a significant impact on it. The National Action Plan on Climate Change, developed by the Indian government, outlines the country's domestic strategy for sustainable development and includes specific recommendations under each mission that the government feels India must take to achieve ecologically sustainable development and support adaptation and mitigation goals. As part of the National Action Plan, the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change (NMSKCC) aims to create a dynamic and alive knowledge system that will guide and assist national efforts to effectively address the goal of ecologically sustainable development. Twelve centres have been set up under the NMSKCC to conduct research on a range of topics related to climate change. These topics include glaciers, agriculture, regional climate change, vulnerability assessment and adaptation, technology assessment and mitigation, development of local air quality management systems, pollution, and wastewater treatment. Climate modelling, urban and coastal hydrology, adaptation strategies, and water resources, among other topics. These centres are engaged in researching, monitoring and developing mitigation techniques for climate change. The activities of these centres and similar state and private research and action centres in the domain of climate change and global warming should go among the students to make them aware of these issues and simple techniques for fighting them.

It will be almost impossible for a nation like India to stop the effects of global warming if only dozens of institutions and organisations engage in fighting climate change on different and disconnected fronts. If we can include climate change education in school and college curriculums and engage students in it as their regular activities which can also be included in their report cards or marksheets, it can resonate the fight against climate change in a well-networked manner on several fronts. Including instruction on climate change in the curriculum also supports more general learning objectives like encouraging citizenship, creativity, and innovation. Education can enable students to become proactive agents of sustainable development in a fast-changing world by promoting their exploration of creative solutions to environmental problems, whether through policy initiatives, technical developments, or grassroots activism.


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