HomeBreaking NewsKids just wanna have a climate education!

Kids just wanna have a climate education!

Kids just wanna have a climate education!

Kids just wanna have a climate education!

With extreme fires, devastating hurricanes, and heartbreaking floods, who wouldn’t? Belize has been increasingly exposed to natural disasters, and many people do not understand why. There is a dire need for human intervention in terms of climate change adaptations. However, are the present and future generations truly prepared to combat this crisis?

How do we adapt with the limited knowledge of climate change, especially when younger generations are often kept outside the loop or have limited exposure to these issues? Do these younger generations want to be more included when it comes to their environment?

Fun fact: they do! A survey conducted with high school students revealed their interest in integrating climate change topics across different forms of education. Here are the demographics and results of the survey:

Kids just wanna have a climate education!

A total of 29 responses were obtained, with the largest number coming from third form students, a crucial transitional period as high school students choose their specialized field of study. Of the responses, 69% of participants were interested in having climate change-related topics integrated into their curriculum, while 24.1% were neutral on the topic.

Kids just wanna have a climate education!

Belize has made significant strides in climate education, such as the 1.5 Degree Initiative from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, which provides modules for educators to implement into their curriculum. Belize’s Environmental Research Institute also has a future project titled ‘Empowering Youth to Embed Curriculum Change, Agency, and Action Related to Natural Risks’. There have also been numerous outreach activities in schools by governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Kids just wanna have a climate education!

Caribbean Community Climate Change Center’s 1.5° to Stay Alive Curriculum Training
Source: Caribbean Community Climate Change Center

However, as the threat of climate change grows more severe, this form of education should no longer be periodic but a solid part of high school curriculums. Education prepares us for the future with subjects such as Math, English, and Science. But what future are we preparing for if we cannot enjoy it due to the negative effects of climate change?

Not only are students interested in environmental topics, but professionals in the field also emphasize their importance in the curriculum. Dr. Ivis Chan, Science Program Manager for Sustainable Landscapes, shared her thoughts on the issue. She expressed her deep concern about informing kids from an early age about what is happening to their homes. This will prepare future generations to understand better what their future might look like, whether it involves food shortages or increased hurricane damages, and how to prepare for these possibilities.

Dr. Chan also stresses the importance of viewing climate change as a tangible reality rather than something nebulous. To remove the haze surrounding the topic, it is crucial to provide education to younger generations.

Kids just wanna have a climate education!

University of Belize Environmental Research Insitute project: Building Community Environmental Stewardship in the Maya Forest Corridor through Avian Ecology.

Of course, such a feat is not an easy task. It is important to face the reality that teachers have packed curriculums and children already have a heavy workload. Grades and examinations are of the highest priority, but are they truly the priority when we have underlying environmental and societal issues?

Dr. Chan shared her opinion on the true challenge of implementing climate education. Overcoming the barriers to climate education requires challenging the status quo. As mentioned above, we place high priority on grades and examinations. Although it is important to be prepared for national exams, safeguarding our planet is just as critical. As we step into the future of mitigating climate change, this requires innovation. We need to return to the roots of education, which involve investigation and critical thinking.

However, all is not bleak. From the survey, it is clear that high school students show an interest in climate education. In fact, they are not only interested but also aware of what climate change is.

Kids just wanna have a climate education!Yet, as seen from the survey, more work needs to be done to increase students’ exposure to concepts such as climate justice. A large percentage of students were only somewhat familiar with the concept, and 27.6% had only heard about it but were unsure of what it is. A significant percentage were completely unsure of its meaning.

Kids just wanna have a climate education!


Kids just wanna have a climate education!

According to World Vision Canada, “The ultimate goal of education is to help an individual navigate life and contribute to society once they become older.” The survey results clearly show that youths need more work in terms of their preparedness for climate change and their interest in being better equipped for a sustainable future.

In line with this a workshop was conducted on June 15th to further gauge students’ interest in learning about environmental and sustainability topics such as Climate Justice. 58.6% of students expressed interest in the workshop.

Kids just wanna have a climate education!Due to the willingness of students to participate, the workshop was held at the House of Culture in San Ignacio Town, covering topics such as Environmental Justice, Ways to Help the Environment, and Planning for Climate Change. The workshop was not only informative but also a means of teaching youths how to integrate sustainable practices into their lives and find practical solutions to climate issues.

However, are the present and future generations truly prepared to combat this crisis?Although the youths who joined the workshop only got the tip of the iceberg in terms of climate justice, they all shared increased confidence regarding climate action. They also hoped for increased participation in similar initiatives.

Kids just wanna have a climate education!To reiterate the meaning of education, our goal is to prepare future generations. A future that is clearly at threat from climate change. In a world where we only have one life to live, let’s think about the lives that come after us and prepare them as best as we can in every aspect of their lives.

Stay tuned for the next story to hear how these kids want to contribute towards a sustainable future.

By Anwar Wade 

This story was published with the support of the Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellowship, which is a joint venture of Climate Tracker and Open Society Foundations.

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