Our Post-Pandemic Fight: Climate Change | Sabrina Court
Climate change is a creeping killer. Over the last decade, temperatures have been rising at an alarming rate, with 2020 (tied with 2016) as the warmest year on record. Whilst many of us enjoy a trip to Brighton during a heatwave, we are unaware that simultaneously we experience rising sea levels, wildfires and extinction, to name just a few. From one country burning to another sinking. We must choose our post-pandemic fight carefully and it must be aimed at tackling climate change.
Renowned scientists have made a bleak assessment of society’s likelihood of surviving the climate crisis if governments keep failing to meet the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement was finalised in 2016, after 190 countries, including China and the United States, ratified it. Countries around the world committed to voluntarily reduce their carbon emissions, aiming to keep global temperature increase below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), a level that scientists warned could result in an “urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet”.
Yet, there is some good news: if we act fast, we can reverse a lot of the devastating damage done and prevent the worst catastrophes we can imagine from manifesting into our reality.
A good place to start this, is through education.
Research shows that we are not educated enough on what we can do to help. According to the United Nations, 84% of 18 to 24-year-olds believe that there needs to be a lot more information on how to prevent climate breakdown. More than two-thirds of teachers in the UK believe there should be more teaching in schools around climate change. This lack of education results in us living in a reality where, according to the British Science Association (BSA), a shocking number of Brits don’t know how to properly carry out one of the simplest yet effective methods to combat climate change: recycling.
UNESCO has also addressed the importance of climate change education as part of its Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approach, which enables people to “acquire the knowledge, skills and the attitudes they need to build a green, low emission and climate-resilient future”.
What must be done?
Our government must start a vigorous campaign targeted at educating the public on what we can do to help fight climate change with equal urgency it has shown to the pandemic. It must similarly target all households through means of social media, physical posters (made of recycled paper) and Television. It should include small changes that people can make in their everyday lives, such as reducing meat consumption, using renewable energy sources and how to recycle properly.
I am fearful of experiencing the possible consequences of catching the COVID-19 virus. But I am equally fearful of the brutal impact our lack of urgency and education on climate change will have on our planet, health and society.
Perhaps Boris Johnsons’ next big ‘Stay Alert-Control the Virus- Save Lives’: campaign should be replaced by: ‘Think First- Control Climate Change- Save Lives.’