To solve the climate crisis, every single one of us needs to get involved. Thankfully, there’s hundreds of ways you, personally, can start to take climate action. The first few steps to becoming more climate-aware can even be incredibly small, as simple as recycling your waste or reducing the amount of single-use items you use. However, going a step further can often seem daunting, involving massive lifestyle changes or a huge expense. This is where education, specifically Climate Change Education, can step in.
What is Climate Change Education?
Climate change education, or CCE, helps learners understand the causes and consequences of climate change, empowers them to take appropriate climate action, and, if necessary, prepares them to live with its impacts.
CCE can help people lower their footprints and help build more sustainable and resilient communities. On a national and global scale, CCE can even help policymakers understand the importance and the urgency of putting infrastructure and mechanisms in place to help combat climate change.
While education can be particularly effective in communities already vulnerable to climate change, there is no doubt that it can benefit everyone.
UNESCO Climate Change Education
In 2010, UNESCO founded the Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development programme. This aims to educate through the expansion of CCE activities in non-formal education such as through the media, networking, or partnerships.
A key feature of this is how holistic it is, addressing how environmental sustainability, economic viability, and social justice are all interlinked.
There is also a strong focus on participatory teaching and learning methods, getting people involved to motivate and empower them to change their own behaviours and lives.
UNESCO hopes to make education a more central part of the international response to climate change, stating,
“Education is crucial to promote climate action. It helps people understand and address the impacts of the climate crisis, empowering them with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes needed to act as agents of change.”
What does Play It Green do on Climate and Sustainability Education?
At Play it Green, we strongly believe in the value education has towards solving the climate crisis.
Step one of our 3-step solution is to reduce your footprint, which we help people work towards through our weekly tips. These explain the climate impact of some common household and business practices and provide more sustainable alternatives. We even provide discounts on environmentally-friendly products to make taking that next step a little bit easier.
For businesses, we do even more, providing them with a sustainability framework and giving access to a network of sustainability experts to help them learn, grow, and have an even bigger impact.
The role of climate activism in Climate Education
Education, of course, is not the only way to convince others to lead more climate-conscious lives. It’s impossible to ignore the impact political activism can have.
If we take Greta Thunberg as an example, it may be easy to say she has done more to push for climate action worldwide than someone carrying a metal straw or turning the lights off when they leave a room.
Of course, climate activism happens on a local level too, and while not everyone can be as global as Greta, there are ways you can affect real change in your area.
You could also argue that activism goes hand-in-hand with climate education. It definitely raises awareness of the issue and spreads the message of what will happen if we don’t adapt.
Sir David Attenborough is an excellent example and has done more to educate the public about the environment than almost anyone on the planet. Nobody can deny that this form of education is having an impact, either, with Attenborough even speaking at COP26.
Its effects are noticeable, as well. We’re seeing less and less climate denial in the population, from the media, and particularly from political leaders worldwide.
Not all the actions are easy to execute
The problem with climate activism, however, is that not everyone can do it. While it can be admirable and extremely effective, activism is time-consuming and requires a level of dedication that many are simply unable to give.
There can also be downsides to climate education if it is poorly done. Oftentimes, what people hear about climate change is incredibly pessimistic.
While a sense of urgency can motivate people to act, if we talk too much about the negative consequences or, in its most extreme form, how we’re all heading for the apocalypse, people can become disheartened.
They are left wondering what the point is of doing anything at all if we’re already so far alone, and the role they have as one individual is so small.
Yet, climate education done right can let people know that they do have the ability to change and that those changes can make a difference. It inspires people to take control in their own lives, and that in itself can reduce the fear and anxiety many feel surrounding the climate crisis.
This is something we strive for in everything we do at Play it Green, believing that healing our planet will take millions of imperfect environmentalists rather than just a few perfect ones.
Everyone can take part in the Climate Change Education
It’s important to remember that it’s not only climate change experts and those well-versed in sustainability who can talk about it and help to educate and inspire others. Greta herself was only just a schoolgirl when she started.
Here at Play it Green, we know that everyday people can have huge impact in inspiring and engaging others. We encourage all our members to share their sustainability journeys, giving them access to their own online forest garden that everyone can visit.
We also provide businesses with sustainability badges, such as the Climate Positive Workforce, to showcase their efforts and give them the tools to help encourage eco-conscious behaviour in their employees and customers.
Alone, our climate impact is small but, by educating and inspiring those around us, we can start to create real change in the world. Join Play It Green today to be the Climate Solution.