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Education is a powerful enabler to mitigate the climate crisis

Education is a powerful enabler to mitigate the climate crisis

CLIMATE CHANGE poses the biggest existential threat to humanity. As world leaders prepare to renew their pledge to combat the crisis amid increasingly frequent natural hazards and the raging pandemic, one measure that so far remains grossly under-tapped is the transformative role that education can play in mitigating climate change.

In the lead up to COP26, more countries have been committing to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This includes using regulation and policy to improve energy efficiency, develop alternative energy sources, reduce overall energy consumption, and minimize wastage.

These measures require financing, public consensus, and lifestyle changes. They will also have profound impacts on countries’ industrial structures and economic policies which may lead to a short-term jolt to the global economy.

But these actions are a vital step toward ending the worldwide, indiscriminate exploitation of low-cost natural resources that is now taking its toll on the environment and fueling the climate crisis. Asia and the Pacific is responsible for nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions and more than 60% of people in the region work in sectors that are highly susceptible to changing weather patterns. It is clear that the battle against climate change will be won or lost in Asia and the Pacific.

This is why Asia and the Pacific must promote a new paradigm of economic development that can turn climate actions into drivers of economic growth that are ecologically sustainable and climate-friendly. Pursuing this new paradigm requires a fundamental transformation of the mindset and lifestyle of future generations.

Education in the region and beyond, can and must become an active agent in catalyzing climate mitigation and adaptation in line with the global agreements. Education can be transformative in at least three ways.