Climate Change: Educating the Next Sustainable Generation


According to a popular saying, the only certain things in life are death and taxes. Another constant is change. There is no future without change. We all experience change from a personal, collective, global, and generational perspective. Change is necessary in our current use of energy and sustainable practices to usher in a greener world. Climate change remains a serious threat to humanity. Leaders, international organizations, and individuals are driving change to save the planet through green initiatives. Initiatives like these affect personal, collaborative, and global change, but what drives generational change? It's the next generation. Whitney Houston in Greatest Love of All, rightly sang, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way”.

Our children’s behaviour towards the environment should be modelled by us, through sustainable fun activities and education. Certain entrenched behaviours developed during behavioural development are more difficult to change in adults. To learn sustainable practices, adults must unlearn unfriendly environmental practices. Behaviour psychologists will agree that human behaviour develops from surrounding environments. B.F Skinner, a respected behaviourist insists that learning occurs purely through processes of association and reinforcement[1]. Culture is the way of life of people, and it develops over time - it is not a product of an instantaneous event. The call for immediate change for a sustainable culture will not happen as fast as we expect it to. It will take time but we can get it right! The creation of sustainable habits and practices must begin at an early stage of development, therefore early education of children should be imperative for this culture’s success. Imagine a world where CEOs, world leaders, teachers, service workers, and other professionals are trained in green practices from childhood. All policies, rules, regulations, and behaviours will be based on sustainable practices, not just because of necessity, but also because they originate at the heart. Let's teach our children sustainable practices and let them lead the way to a greener world.


 

[1] Kendra Cherry, ‘Child Development Theories and Examples’, 2020, (verywellmind.com), https://www.verywellmind.com/child-development-theories-2795068, accessed 6/03/2022.

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