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Necessity of climate change education

28 November 2022

Md Bayazid Khan :
The effects of climate change have been witnessed by the world community as a regular phenomenon with massive gradual devastating intensity. A recent global study revealed that the majority of young people believe that the future is frightening because of climate change impacts and climate anxiety affects their daily life considerably. Man-made causes are responsible more than natural causes for frequent occurrences of natural calamities such as heatwaves, severe flooding, cyclones, river erosion etc. Aforesaid calamities are dreadful victims of climate change that resulted in bringing massive havoc to nature, infrastructure and economy alongside huge losses of lives and livestock.
Bangladesh has no exception to be adversely affected by climate change because of the vulnerability of different categories of natural disasters. Bangladesh, a gradually growing economy needs minimal intensity of devastation on sectors like agriculture and industry because of climate change regards to continue its economic development. It crucially needs two types of responses like mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Mitigation for climate change by reducing green-house gas emissions, increasing afforestation, encouraging environment friendly industrialisation especially agro-based industrialisation etc must be ensured. Adaptation to climate change by applying or taking climate resilience measures needs to be encouraged by the community. As natural calamities cannot be resisted therefore there is the need to focus on short- and long-term adaptation measures to cope with the adverse climate change impacts such as floating agriculture, saline and submergence tolerant varieties of paddy, digging of mini ponds and restoration or recovery of canals and water reservoirs for irrigation during drought and saving water during monsoon etc. Drought tolerant rice variety (BRRI dhan66) and dates cultivation in the rainfed drought prone areas must be encouraged. Due to the severity of climate change impacts, drought prone northern parts of the country need to bring under drought resilience crops cultivation under the guidance of WFP. Moreover, climate-smart farming, cyclone or flood resilience infrastructure for flood shelters and educational institutions (also usable as shelters), roads, embankments etc might be constructed or renovated in cyclone or flood prone areas of the country.
Creating awareness among people to emphasise on applying climate resilience measures like mitigation and adaptation to climate change is a massive challenge as it demands changes to people's attitude and values. Therefore to make effective changes to people's values and attitude, building change agents is indispensable. And young people can be developed as change agents by educating them with Climate Change Education (CCE).
CCE aims to address and develop effective responses to climate change. It helps learners to understand the causes and consequences of climate change and enables them to live with the impacts of climate change and empower them to take appropriate actions to adopt more sustainable lifestyle. CCE also helps learners about how climate change will affect the individuals and communities, what they can do to protect themselves from negative consequences and how they can combat the disasters building a climate resilience atmosphere. In other words, CCE is more than climate change literacy but understanding ways of dealing with climate change.
CCE might empower learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to act as change agents of climate change. In particular, CCE is not the way of individual learning but also the act of taking flagship towards disseminating the behaviours, attitudes and values among people about the two significant responses of mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
Need for CCE has increased nowadays for the following reasons:
Horrendous impacts of climate change are gradually increasing that resulted in bringing massive havoc in nature, community, infrastructure, agriculture and economy. Moreover, it brings a huge loss of human lives and livestock.
Still there are many fallacies, misconceptions and unscientific superstitions about climate change.
Believing that people has no control to resist climate change and its fatal effects, people still nourish the misconceptions about taking adaptive and mitigating measures to cope with the adverse effects of climate change.
Climate change and climate change education are global issues that must be addressed through a combination of learning and action in changing behaviour and attitude alongside systematic mindset shifts. Quality CCE explores and disseminates knowledge, attitude and beliefs about climate protection measures (mitigation) and support for individual and societal climate resilience (adaptation). CCE definitely strengthens learners' understanding and beliefs about climate change impacts that can be utilised to act as change agents towards changing people's attitude and behaviour in applying measures of mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
So, CCE must be anchored or incorporated in the primary, secondary and higher secondary curriculum. Teachers need to be focused on training on CCE. There may be the provision for acting as change agents for college and university students to motivate people to change their behaviour, attitude and understanding on two types of responses to climate change.

(The writer works for primary

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