Climate change poses a serious threat to efforts to reduce global poverty.
According to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change,
the changing climate will have widespread effects on human life and
ecosystems. It brings heat waves, flooding, droughts, intense tropical
cyclones, rising sea levels, and damages biodiversity.
Vulnerable groups like children living in poverty in countries with weak governance and poor education systems are the hardest hit by climate change.
The changing climate is making it harder for children to access education in a safe
environment as disasters caused by climate change can damage or destroy
schools. And the economic impacts of disasters reduce school enrollment,
as children are kept out of school to help their families earn a living.
Despite being threatened by the changing climate, education offers a valuable opportunity
to combat climate change. It gives children and young people the
knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about how to
adapt individual lives and ecological, social or economic systems
in a changing environment. Education plays a vital role in bringing
about behavioral change, and schools can play an important part by
becoming carbon neutral, energy efficient and reducing their own
Children take part in a mangrove restoration project in Camotes Islands, Philippines. (Photo: Nana Buxani / Plan)
Children can also lead behavioral change among family members and
communities. In the Pacific nation of Kiribati, young people have been raising awareness about the impact of climate change.
And in the Philippines, a group of students led a community effort to replant 100,000 mangroves
in 7 months after learning how
mangroves protect coastal areas from storms yet were being cut down for
from the World Bank and the Center for Global Development state that
educating girls and women is one of the best and most cost effective
ways of ensuring that communities can adapt, making them less vulnerable
to extreme weather events and climate change.
Climate change is
the greatest public policy issue of our time. If we are to respond to
this challenge, education has to play a key.
Allison Anderson is a Fellow at the Center for Universal Education at The Brookings Institution, Washington DC.
Find out more and support projects like those mentioned in this blog and take action to get children climate ready.