Did you know that Google Maps can give you a glimpse into the (ever so bleak) future of climate change?
It’s true! You can now see what your neighbourhood will look like if water levels rose by 1, 2, or even 7 meters.
So if you’re sitting in Sacramento, your world may look a little different in a few decades:
Although not the most scientific study, Google’s efforts clearly show the devastation that climate change could cause if water levels continue to rise.
● Sky high prices for energy
● Severe weather variability
● Droughts, droughts, and more droughts
● Worrisome cases of allergies and asthma as pollution worsens
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: climate change affects us all.
From Sacramento, to Mexico City, and all the way to New Delhi.
And the world has started to take notice.
So today, we want to honour one of the most important events this year: International Mother Earth Day.
What Is International Mother Earth Day?
Mark your calendars. This year’s International Mother Earth Day is happening April 22nd.
And you might be surprised to learn that the observance of this day has been going on for a long time.... On its 46th anniversary, the celebration is an opportunity to reflect on the state of our planet, all it has to offer, and how we as people can ensure that our home remains welcoming and bountiful for future generations.
But this year, we have a special reason to celebrate.
Between the Paris summit marking the beginning of the end for fossil fuels as well as the rise of countless organizations and businesses going on the record about their determination to beat global warming, 2016 is already shaping up to be a promising year.
And here at Oorja, we’re feeling hopeful for positive change.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some challenges ahead of us.
Most notably, when it comes to education.
Why It’s All About Education
First and foremost, International Mother Earth Day is all about raising awareness and acknowledging the good, the bad, and the ugly of our changing climate and the policies surrounding it.
It’s all about educating ourselves about how we can make a positive impact on our environment.
And April 22nd is a great moment to do so.
But what about all the other days of the year?
The fact remains that there is a lot of work to be done with regards to educating current and future generations on how to be sustainable as well as how to adapt to and mitigate the adverse effects of global warming.
And children and youth are the first we need to direct our attention to.
For starters, children tend to be the first victims of climate change with deteorating air quality, contaminated water, and extreme heat affecting them more than healthy adults.
But perhaps more importantly, children are our hope for the future. It is the children who are most likely to inspire change.
By introducing them early on to environmental and sustainability issues, we pave the way for our youngest members of society to become vocal advocates for the environment.
But the question is: how does one go about ensuring adequate environmental education for children in some of the most poorest countries in the world, and coincidentally the most impacted by climate change?
Initiatives have been made:
● UNICEF: The organization has been making important strides to encourage child-friendly curriculums focused on environmental and sustainability education. By incorporating these curriculums, it hopes to aid the realization of children’s environmental rights as outlined in many articles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
● India: Home to one of the largest populations in the world, the country has made significant strides in terms of bringing environmental education to youth. As ordered by the Supreme Court in 2003, every school and university in India is mandated to educate young Indians about the preservation of the environment and sustainability. And of the 1.3 million schools and 650+ universities in India, it seems that some are making some great headway with an emphasis on participation and hands-on activity as opposed to rote learning.
But there are some obstacles for India when it comes to encouraging environmental education:
● Crowd Learning Conditions: With some schools averaging nearly 75 students to 1 teacher, hands-on education isn’t always realistic. Many students are forced to learn about sustainability in a formal, uninspiring setting.
● Lack of Training: Many teachers have had inadequate training for integrating sustainability education into their curriculum which leaves them ill-prepared.
Why It’s All About You
We’ve seen the rising water levels. We’re feeling the temperature shifts. We’ve heard all the statistics. We know we’re in bad shape.
But now we need to focus on the solution--not the problem.
It’s not only up to teachers in India to educate youth. It’s also up to you.
Let’s use International Mother Earth Day as an occasion to gather forces and shine a light on these hard topics.
Let’s also use it as a day to resolve to really do something about these issues in our day-to-day lives.
Take action. Don’t remain passive. Educate others. Because at the end of the day, this planet is mother to all of us.