“Creative thinking is needed in making these changes happen.”
Improved climate education can also go a long way towards addressing and alleviating young people’s climate anxiety, which has been a growing problem.
Humanitarian organisation Plan International recently surveyed 1800 young people aged 15-24 across 37 countries. The results showed 82 per cent said they knew nothing, very little or only a bit about their country’s climate policy.
This was despite 98 per cent of respondents saying they were very concerned about the climate emergency. About one in five (18 per cent) rated their climate change education as poor or very poor.
Plan International Australia chief executive Susanne Legena said the findings exposed significant shortfalls in how children are learning about the environmental crisis.
“Young people are fearful for their future and want to shape the policies and decisions that will define them, but often don’t feel informed or empowered enough to do so,” she said.
“This needs to change – governments worldwide must give young people, including and especially girls in their diversity, a greater say in how to tackle the climate emergency. When the world invests in girls’ education, we can unravel the practices and structures that are damaging our planet.”
Melbourne Girls Grammar School has already made strides in introducing climate literacy across its curriculum.
Principal Toni Meath said it was important to give students a voice when dealing with issues that affect their future.
“These are wicked problems and we need to act at the appropriate level; we need to build understanding to both dispel myths and empower our young people with knowledge about what they can do to enact change,” she said.
“Without this, they are left to navigate by themselves the complexities of something that is impacting us all on a global level.”
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