Classrooms vs. Climate Change
September 8, 2023
Africa is paying the price for climate change as one of the most heavily impacted continents on the planet. While global efforts to combat climate change have slowly started to take shape, the African continent has not been hesitant in finding its own solutions and been lobbying for climate adaptation and resilience.
Africa Climate Week 2023, ACW, is a platform for African countries to deliberate on a number of specific climate issues. Leaders will come together in September to discuss, strategize and establish guidelines to deal with the industrialization and exploitation of the African continent in an attempt to mitigate climate change. The main goal of the ACW 2023 is to encourage green economic growth in Africa. This includes investing in and developing green energy sources to help the process of phasing out fossil fuels which will help to realize the African agenda and development plans as well as fulfilling Africa’s commitments to the Paris Agreement. This type of growth will ensure that Africa is resilient and able to adapt to climate change, protecting the future and quality of life for their citizens and their biodiversity.
The discussions in ACW 2023 recognises that this climate emergency is not an individual problem, but rather something to be solved with multiple stakeholders. There is a need for a call to action that drives systematic behavioral change on a grand scale. One of the most effective ways to nurture this sort of mass cooperation and civic engagement to combat the issues that climate change forces upon Africa is through school led climate education. Climate education is fundamental to fostering awareness and action for a sustainable future – it creates a ‘green muscle’ that future generations can naturally flex – meaning they waste less, recycle more and take responsibility for their community, country and continent from an early age.
By combining sustainable development and climate education, the African environmental movement wants to build a road map for other nations to follow. Right now, according to a recent study by the African Climate and Development Initiative, ACDI, at the University of Cape Town, climate literacy across Africa varies considerably. While in Mauritius the climate change literacy rate is 66%, it is 62% in Uganda, but only 25% in Mozambique and 23% in Tunisia. The ACDI concluded that by far the strongest predictor of climate change literacy is education. One of the key factors impacting education is funding.
So, the African nations here at the ACW 2023 call on urgent global action to fund an explosion in climate education that is spearheaded across Africa and gives our classrooms the means to beat climate change.