Education must play a part in combating climate change, UNICEF-UK

Climate change poses a serious threat to efforts to reduce global poverty.


According to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, the changing climate will have widespread effects on human life and ecosystems. It brings heat waves, flooding, droughts, intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels, and damages biodiversity.

Vulnerable groups like children living in poverty in countries with weak governance and poor education systems are the hardest hit by climate change. The changing climate is making it harder for children to access education in a safe environment as disasters caused by climate change can damage or destroy schools. And the economic impacts of disasters reduce school enrollment, as children are kept out of school to help their families earn a living.

Despite being threatened by the changing climate, education offers a valuable opportunityto combat climate change. It gives children and young people the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about how to adapt individual lives and ecological, social or economic systems in a changing environment. Education plays a vital role in bringing about behavioral change, and schools can play an important part by becoming carbon neutral, energy efficient and reducing their own ecological footprint.

Children can also lead behavioral change among family members and communities. In the Pacific nation of Kiribati, young people have been raising awareness about the impact of climate change.

And in the Philippines, a group of students led a community effort to replant 100,000 mangroves in 7 months after learning how mangroves protect coastal areas from storms yet were being cut down for charcoal.

Recent studies from the World Bank and the Center for Global Development state that educating girls and women is one of the best and most
cost effective ways of ensuring that communities can adapt, making them less vulnerable to extreme weather events and climate change.

Climate change is the greatest public policy issue of our time. If we are to respond to this challenge, education has to play a key.

Allison Anderson is a Fellow at the Center for Universal Education at The Brookings Institution, Washington DC.

Copyright 2022 @ A Celebration of Women™ The World Hub for Women Leaders That Care