To fight climate change, we need to change mindset and behaviour

Climate crisis: A house in central Java, Indonesia, recently abandoned after it was flooded due to the rising sea level. Rising global sea levels and extreme weather events are some of the terrifying effects of climate change that are threatening the world. — AP

CLIMATE change education is now more critical than ever to mitigate climate change.

The urgent need for climate change response is a call for global citizens to respond in a variety of ways, including learning about how climate change affects their lives, what they can do to protect themselves from the harmful consequences and how they can reduce activities that contribute to climate change.

Global citizens can shift their mindset, attitudes and behavior through this type of education. The significant decisions they make now are the result of the educational processes they have gone through.

Climate change education is an investment in initiating self-transformation toward a love of the environment and nature as either a community entity or ecosystem that is intrinsically linked. It is gradually deteriorating, however, as a result of humans’ massive and expanded activities, which cause major problems such as solar radiation, high temperatures and ice-cap melting, to mention only a few.

Another terrifying effect of climate change is sea level rise, which is rapidly highlighting the threat of cities worldwide collapsing as a result of climate crisis, including Jakarta.

Climate change will cause calamities in 2050, according to the World Bank, including decreasing agricultural productivity, water scarcity and rising sea levels. In addition, 216 million people will be forced to flee their homes and countries.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, which ended Friday, failed to reaffirm a consensus commitment to address global climate change. The world’s ambition to be carbon-free by 2050 must be reconciled with the current acceleration of climate change emergency solutions. Countries must take immediate action by implementing Thomas L. Friedman’s green revolution policy, which calls for a green movement to take the lead in moral leadership through climate change education, as a long-term strategy that prioritizes energy efficiency systems, climate power literacy, ocean conservation, forests and biodiversity.

The implication is that the direction of climate change education policies, theories and practices will be experienced gradually and in a deliberate manner by the younger generation.

For Indonesia in particular, the most important thing to do is to incorporate climate change education into educational programmes.

First, a national school programme aims to raise public awareness about climate change. Students can learn more about the meaning and value of protecting nature through climate change literacy, which is associated with educational programmes, climate change response training, research publications, smart city planning and the role of forestry and environmental management.

Second, green governance and green economy policies concentrate on the use of lower carbon fuels, increasing energy efficiency in industry, households, transportation and buildings, as well as relevant investments in sustainable research and development. They are the determining indicators of high climate change awareness. Indonesia has seen forest fires and deforestation as a result of a lack of public awareness, if not ignorance, about the effects of climate change, as well as the government’s slow responsiveness to the implementation of green governance, forest conservation and green economy policies.

Climate change awareness must be supplemented with the preservation of local forest and environmental management, knowledge and skills. Before governments take the initiative to formalise climate change as part of the education system, the community has implemented the spirit of climate change through hidden curricula in the form of connected institutions and individuals in affiliated groups.

To carry out a green movement to plant mangrove tree seedlings on the coast or tree seedlings in parched hills, teachers and the general public do not require standard and written guidelines of a national curriculum. A number of communities undertake waste recycling management activities on their own, instilling environmental values through simple actions such as reducing electricity consumption at home, raising awareness of the benefits of riding bicycles to work to reduce carbon emissions, and small-scale reforestation.

Climate change literacy is taught in more schools without waiting for government policies that use wait-and-see political strategies to serve the interests of linked parties.

In the United States, literature plays an active role in spreading the green movement on climate change through the world-class cinema and publishing industries. The origin of the phrase “climate fiction” exemplifies how apt metaphors in literature spark the hotly debated topics of climate change.

Every literary work of this type sends a message of humanity to global citizens, encouraging them to take more concrete steps toward resolving climate change. Therefore, it is vital to promote low carbon and renewable energies, reduce significant greenhouse gas emissions, and reinforce climate change in educational policies in order to pave the way for addressing other serious problems that humans face, such as climate poverty, food insecurity, clean water scarcity, floods and sea level rise.

Informally, educational institutions take the lead and are in the forefront of putting the climate change agenda into practice. By adopting the naturalistic approach, the students start a movement to create poetry about the environment. Poetry about nature can be a source of inspiration for reflective, analytical and contextual thinking.

Students get insights into climate change literacy, creativity, innovation and direct engagement with the environment. The climate change movement is a collective responsibility, a joint “war” at stake that prioritises capacity building and environmental vision awareness.

Humans carry out a shift in quality of life development in this way, which is currently disrupted by the management of funds for natural catastrophes, human disasters, starvation, epidemics and disease pandemics, which determine some public policies considerably. Whatever happens, climate change education is a wake-up call for a better future, even though humans are hesitant to change their behavior, authority, application of knowledge, ecological awareness, interdisciplinary insights and self-disposition to mitigate the impacts of climate change. — The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

Anselmus Sudirman is an assistant professor at the University of Sarjanawiyata Tamansiswa, Yogyakarta.

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