The important role of education in creating a more sustainable world
To commemorate World Environment Day, this instalment of our thought-provoking series features Angelique Edmunds, Green Team and Deputy English Lead at Horizon English School in Dubai. Join us this month as we explore the positive, sustainable commitments our schools around the world are making to help shape a future where students can thrive.
The phrase ‘climate change’ has been part of our psyche for the past decade or so and this has had mostly negative effects on certain people’s outlook, with the worry that our future is in jeopardy and nothing can be done about it. Climate change as a whole is such a big issue that it can feel overwhelming and can manifest defeatist views and a thoughts around the future of life, especially with all the negative press in the news. Natural disasters, melting glaciers, and droughts are all front page news and can seem out of our control.
We all know that small tasks to reduce CO2 emissions can make people feel more in control. However, when others have an attitude where they don’t care, this can make people feel like there is no hope. So, does every little help, or is a small gesture wasted? I feel it is important to address this by emphasising the power of individual actions and collective efforts. Highlighting success stories, showcasing innovative solutions, and fostering a sense of community engagement can inspire hope and optimism.
Encouraging young people to take positive sustainable actions, no matter how small, cultivates a sense of agency and empowerment.
Teaching sustainability within a school setting will educate children on what they can do to make a difference in their future. Empowering young people with knowledge and values related to sustainability is crucial for creating a more environmentally conscious future. Education plays a pivotal role in shaping their understanding of environmental and other global issues and fostering behaviours that shape them into global citizens. Sustainability aligns closely with the Holistic Education contributor of the Cognita Framework, which emphasises social purpose and responsibility, embedded in learning and school life.
By integrating sustainability principles across subjects and extracurricular activities, schools can cultivate a sense of social responsibility in students and make it become part of their “normal”. Teaching these ideas through an evolving curriculum will allow the link to the Learning Compass and support our children to navigate towards wellbeing by 2030. In this compass, the children will learn about transformative competencies and, in particular, learn to take responsibility. Engaging in sustainable projects, such as community gardens, waste reduction initiatives, or environmental awareness campaigns, enables students to apply their knowledge practically while developing empathy, leadership skills, and a sense of global citizenship.
This is such a wide topic, which has many conflicting ideas, especially as it is at the forefront of the news. With the looming idea that there is a 40% chance that in 5 years the world will be 1.5 degrees warmer, which would irreversibly alter the global climate system, educating children on these issues is imperative.
By nurturing the next generation’s understanding of sustainability, encouraging positive actions, and fostering a sense of hope and agency, we can shape a future where sustainable practices are ingrained in every aspect of life.
Education emerges as a powerful catalyst for positive change in creating a more sustainable world. What does sustainability mean to you? Does every little action count? What actions do you think are the most important and effective? Aligning our efforts with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, will help with creating a more sustainable and thriving world for all. For more information on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, visit: https://www.un.org/en/sustainable-development-goals