Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development

When some economies are suffering and many developing countries seem to be at a stall with respect to development, one must indeed consider sustainable development.

For me sustainable development means, being able to meet the needs of the present without sacrificing the future of meeting their own needs. In essence, the needs of the future depends on how well we are able to balance social, economic, and environmental goals based on the decisions we make at present. It is a moral principle and a scientific concept that involves peace, human rights and equity along with ecology or global warming. It infers that we recognize the multifaceted interdependence of human needs and the natural environment. The development goals should not be conceived on just a national level but also regionally and internationally.

One of the main focuses for sustainable development is Education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is the leading agency for the United Nations decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) and supports different entities and institutions by sourcing funding and resources to facilitate training sessions and projects that focuses on education for sustainable development.

I recently attended a workshop which was a joint effort between UNESCO and the School of Education UWI, Mona. The topic was Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development. This workshop made me aware of how unlearnt I was to the fact that climate change could affect development so adversely even though I was aware of the effects of climate change around me. Hence, I saw where immediate attention needed to be focused on educating our society on how they can mitigate this challenge and I wondered how best I could be a part of this effort.

I have come to the conclusion that climate has been changing, it will change and it demands change and many persons are not aware of the implications. We therefore, need to work towards combating this if we intend to look forward to a liveable environment in the future. Some notable climate change activities include:  an increase in temperature and rainfall compared to previous years. The Caribbean has in recent times faced the El Nino Phenomena more regularly which normally occurs every 3-7 years, hurricanes are now increasing in intensity and sea levels are rising. Various scenarios predict that temperatures will continue to rise, rainfall will decrease although variable upon a drying trend, sea levels will rise and there will be fewer hurricanes but with increased intensity. Livelihood and well-being depends on climate and in developing countries, agriculture, tourism and even health are dependents. If weather patterns change, this will definitely affect agricultural produce. For example, Hurricane Sandy caused a great loss to the banana industry in Jamaica in 2012. The Caribbean depends a lot on tourism but with negative climate changes we will suffer a loss with respect to a decline in visitors to the islands. Where health is concerned, some diseases such as: dengue and malaria are more prevalent in very hot regions or where there is a high incidence of rainfall that facilitates the breeding of mosquitoes.

With these facts in mind, I believe it is imperative that we begin to integrate more forcefully into our curriculum, education for sustainable development and start more public awareness projects to facilitate a viable environment for the future generation.