‘Education Can Change the Climate’

Posted on 02 December 2010 by admin

Dr Lucia Mybo Mommers makes a point at a side event. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS/TerraViva

Dr Lucia Mybo Mommers makes a point at a side event. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS/TerraViva

By Mantoe Phakathi

CANCÚN, Dec 2 (IPS/TerraViva) – Hammering out a deal on climate change that responds to the science, satisfies the economics, and offers support to the most vulnerable… sometimes it seems there are too many competing interests to make real progress. What role might education play in bridging the gaps?

Staff from the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Learning Institute, are in the Mexican city of Cancún to raise the profile of the role education can play in the response against climate change. The Learning Institute is among the non-governmental organizations gathered at the alternative summit known as the Klimaforum.

“We want to focus on the next generation because they are our potential leaders in the next few years,” said Dr Luba Mycio Mommers, the Director of Education, Canadian Wildlife Federation.

“Education can change the climate” according to the Canadian charitable organisation, who are training teachers throughout Canada to incorporate climate change in their curriculum. By educating teachers, said Mommers, the institute is able to get the conservation message across to young children.

“We target primary and secondary school teachers because they have a much bigger audience than university lecturers,” said Mommers.

“The solution is changing attitudes of individuals who in turn influence policies at organisational levels,” said Dr Grant Gardner, a university lecturer who works with teachers on the programme.

While Gardner concedes that industries pollute the environment more than individuals, he emphasised that the children who are educated about the importance of conserving the environment today could be the industry owners or managers tomorrow.

“Therefore, it makes sense to raise awareness to students now so that they make the right decisions in the future,” said Gardner.

“There is always an opportunity to infuse climate change in teaching,” said Mommers. “For instance, when an educator is teaching science, it is much easier to talk about climate change.”

She emphasised that the teaching material allows for students to participate which makes learning much easier and enjoyable.

The Learning Institute has produced a series of videos as resources for teachers, carrying strong messages.

Since the 1980s, CWLFL has trained a third of Canadian teachers on environmental issues; a specific focus on climate change was begun in 2002.

“We would like to expand this programme to other countries but it’s just that the institute is still young and we don’t have the resources yet,” said Mommers. “But we’re happy that while other programmes last for only five years, we’re proud that ours has continued over the last 25 years.”

While the climate change summit is packed with scientists, campaigners, lobbyists and government officials, there are not many educators participating.

CWF has set up a website through which teachers in Canada can let the organisation know what kind of information they would like from the summit, and what outcomes they expect from Cancún.


Categorized | Climate Change

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