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Environmental awareness and how you can get involved

By Zaytoen Domingo 5 months ago
Environmental awareness and how you can get involved

Environmental awareness has taken centre stage recently. The world has begun to listen to the urgent requests from our youth to preserve the planet.

While climate change is not a new topic, it has recently come to the foreground again, with groups of young climate change activists around the world drawing attention to the global climate crisis. 

These climate change activists include Greta Thunberg (Sweden), Isidore Vlassenroot (Belgium), Komal Kumar (Fiji) and Bruno Rodriguez (Argentina). 

Most recently, Italy has also gotten involved, with their newly established compulsory curriculum on global climate change education starting in the 2020 academic year. Environmental awareness through education is an effective way to make conservation sustainable by helping people understand why it’s important to protect the environment. 

 

Placards held by students taking part in a Friday for future strike.

Original photo: “School Strike 4 Climate” by GoranH is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

People may not be aware of the issues facing the environment or the ways in which they can contribute to making the environment better. For whatever reason that may be, the student strikes have been hard to miss in the news.

Many of us want to do more than just listen – we’ve been inspired to action. Let’s find out more about these green activities and how we can all get involved. 

Environmental education is the way to go

Groups of young learners joined together worldwide in a series of strikes for climate awareness on 20 September 2019, just before the United Nations Climate Summit in New York. The international strikes called for global climate change to be addressed and solutions to be actioned. 

These student activists ran weekly protests in a campaign for global climate change awareness, which has become known as Fridays For Future. This means that they spend a whole day away from school to raise awareness about the environment.

 

Three volunteers measuring the height of a tree as part of a conservation project in Curieuse.

Participants measure the growth of a mangrove tree in Seychelles.

 

The students have been applauded for their courage and dedication to the campaign. And with the launch of Italy’s new climate change education curriculum, this trend seems likely to grow. 

The rapidly increasing efforts from people around the world to raise awareness about global climate change has added validity to the cause. On 4 November, after the major climate strikes, Italy’s minister of education, Lorenzo Fioramonti, announced the change to the school curriculum. 

The curriculum will include compulsory lessons on global climate change and sustainable development. These lessons will consist of one-hour lessons every week, for 33 weeks.

 

A volunteer teaching students about the environment in Kilimanjaro.

 

The lessons are aimed at educating young people on the importance of conserving the environment. Fioramonti even encouraged students to participate in the Fridays for Future protests. 

It is clear that more and more people are not only becoming aware of environmental issues, but are eager to get involved in the action. Are you?

How can I get involved?

You can make a contribution by becoming a volunteer. If you are interested in environmental education in particular, one way you can get involved is to volunteer on a teaching program in South Africa.

 

Volunteers teaching a class of children in Dawasmu.

 

Volunteers will assist with the facilitation of lessons on environmental conservation topics. This is an important part of conservation because the program helps build local capacity to continue initiatives once volunteers leave. 

Being able to understand the need and value behind conservation work will also make sustainability easier for people to ensure. Educating people is also a valuable way to spread development, because they will be able to educate other people too. 

If you want a more hands-on approach, there are a number of other sustainable development programs you can be a part of. In fact, there are 17 goals that you can help to contribute towards. 

 

Two men planting seedlings into soil in Dawasamu.

 

GVI is an organisation that works with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to make a positive impact on the

environment. The programs that we offer are all aligned with these goals and you have the option of choosing any one to get involved in. 

What are my options?

Have the strikes for global climate change awareness and Italy’s environmental education plan inspired you to do something different to promote global climate change awareness? 

Here are some things you can do. 

 

A shark in the ocean, with other fish swimming beneath it.

 

If you love animals and your passion lies with keeping them safe, you can join a marine or wildlife conservation program. These programs are centred around conserving animals by collecting valuable data to help us understand how to better protect them. 

Conservation is an important part of the larger scope of environmental protection

You also have the option of volunteering with people. You can assist in a volunteer program with children, in a safe environment, under the guidance of the Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy

You could participate in a community-based project focused on women’s empowerment. In this program, you will be contributing towards Goal Five of the 17 UN SDGs. 

Volunteer on a public health project to assist communities with their basic needs like access to clean drinking water, improved sanitation and access to information on health topics such as maternal health, HIV and AIDS awareness, and basic nutrition.

 

A volunteer playing soccer with students in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

If you’re the sporty type, you can volunteer in a sports program where you can coach children in schools. This program has many benefits, such as improving the mental and physical health of the children. Sport also helps them to be part of a team, to be disciplined, and it improves concentration.

GVI runs these programs in 21 locations in 13 countries around the world. You can make an impact anywhere you decide to go.

Make your contribution to a global environment, with GVI. 

Zaytoen Domingo is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here.