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EDUCATION FOR CLIMATE CHANGE IN INDIA

---- Vanshika Jaiswal


"We are the first generation to feel the impact of Climate Change and the last generation that can do something about it."- Barack Obama


India is a country of remarkable climate diversity with its vast geographical stretch and the home to an extraordinary variety of climate regions. Climate is the long term pattern of weather in a specified area. Weather can change from hour to hour, day to day, month to month and even from time to time. A region's atmospheric condition pattern, usually tracked for at least 30 years, is considered its climate.


Climate is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time frame from months to millions of years. Some of the meteorological variables measured are temperature, moisture, atmospheric pressure, wind and precipitation. Climate regions range from tropical in the south, to temperate and alpine in the Himalayan north, where elevated regions receive sustained winter snowfall. India's climate is strongly impacted by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert.


In the recent century, human activities have had a drastic effect on climate which has resulted in the severity of climate change. Climate Change refers to the long term shifts in temperatures and weather guides. These shifts can be natural because of the sun's activity or large volcanic eruption but since the 1800's it is due to human activities that have been a major driving factor for climate change. The primary reason for climate change is the burning of fossil fuels like oils, coal and gases which cause emission in the generation of greenhouse gases, wrapping around the Earth as a blanket.


Education plays an important role in the journey of development and change in a country and the development rate is still slow in India due to lack of awareness and realisation amongst the people about change. Education can encourage people to change their attitude and behaviour and help them make mature decisions to create a larger impact in the surrounding and be beneficial for climate change. Education works as a critical addressing agent in the issue of climate change towards the youth. The younger generation is empowered and motivated to take action through education.


India was ranked the seventh most affected nation by climate change in 2019 and still 65% of the population in India is not aware about climate change and its adverse effects to humans as well as the planet. In 2022, India was ranked eighth as per the Climate Change Performance Index which indicates the very slow rate of change in the behaviour of the Indian population towards climate change. One major cause for the adverse effect of climate change is the lack of education and awareness in India.


Education plays an important role in the journey of development and change in a country and the development rate is still slow in India due to lack of awareness and realisation amongst the people about change. Education can encourage people to change their attitude and behaviour and help them make mature decisions to create a larger impact in the surrounding and be beneficial for climate change. Education works as a critical addressing agent in the issue of climate change towards the youth. The younger generation is empowered and motivated to take action through education. India was ranked the seventh most affected nation by climate change in 2019 and still 65% of the population in India is not aware about climate change and its adverse effects to humans as well as the planet. In 2022, India was ranked eighth as per the Climate Change Performance Index which indicates the very slow rate of change in the behaviour of the Indian population towards climate change. One major cause for the adverse effect of climate change is the lack of education and awareness in India.


Climate change has unfavourably impacted the natural environment and people through temperature and weather changes, sea level rise, water resources, ecosystems, economic and health impacts which are harmful for the nation. The temperatures have risen in the past years result in recording of severe heat waves, thousands of people have been displaced by the sea level rise that have submerged low lying islands in Sundarbans, the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of farmers depends on the major rivers which are threatened by the flow rate due to temperature changes and ecological disasters tied to global warming are projected to become increasingly common. All these above mentioned are the major impacts of Climate Change on human life as well as the natural surroundings.


"Climate Change is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win." Climate Change has been unfortunate for the nation but by spreading education and awareness, the crisis of climate can be put to an end. The Supreme Court of India had mandated focus on environmental education in the New Education Policy, 1986. The National Council for Teacher Education also developed a manual on environmental education for students and teachers. Through all this, the protection of the environment is a common feature around which the nation is developing. In recent times, India’s revised National Education Policy, 2020 mentions climate change and environmental issues as part of its work towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.


Education in India has been framed as a way of raising apprehension of climate change and its impacts in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, thus developing educated and engaged eco citizens situated within the context of sustainable development, wherein social equity, improved quality of life, aspirations for a better standard of living, opportunity, participation, inclusion, health and positive social change are embedded.


"A problem well stated is a problem half solved." With every big problem there comes its solution and therefore with this problem of climate change there are many solutions to revive the climate with combined effort. We're making measurable, meaningful progress with continuous growth of the population. Continuous development in electric vehicle technology, energy efficiency and clean energy are emerging everyday. Fossil fuels are the reason for 75% of the warming of the planet through emission and thus reliance on fossil fuels should come to an end by replacing fuels to renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency in the country.


The education and enlightenment on climate change and sustainable development can help in the control of human activities harming the climate and be an asset for the natural environment. Development and positive change are the only ways which can be beneficial for India as "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela


References:

  1. https://www.wikipedia.org/

  2. https://uclpress.scienceopen.com

  3. https://www.pib.gov.in

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