FOSTERING CLIMATE ACTION THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: GREEN EARTH INITIATIVE
As the 2021/2022 academic year began in Cameroon on the 6th of September 2021, the International Student Environmental Coalition Cameroon team also unveiled one of its major projects for the school year, the Green Earth Initiative.
The Green Earth Initiative aims to foster Climate and Environmental action through environmental education and raising awareness especially amongst students and youths. We believe that without awareness, there can’t be climate justice and climate action starts with raising awareness. Over the past 5 years, we have been championing this climate and environmental education through various activities and programs in Cameroon but this year we are taking it further with this year-round, country-wide project involving secondary schools.
Despite the realities of climate change that affect Camaroonians daily, many people still do not know what climate change is. During the last World Environment Day Celebration, we asked students what they think the government can do to foster this global fight against climate change in an Environmental Quiz. Out of 100 students who responded, more than 80% said the government should educate students and the general public about climate change and how everyone can contribute in taking action. Through our new Green Earth Initiative, we are actively educating these students and young people about climate change; environmental issues; and how we can all get involved in taking action at the level of our homes, schools, communities, and nationally. A component of the Green Earth Initiative is tree planting with the students in their schools. Another key environmental issue faced in the country is the challenge of waste management. Through the Green Earth Initiative, we are empowering students and youths to adopt effective waste management strategies and practice simple waste treatment options at home like separate collection, the use of waste bags, home composting, and simple production of biogas using household organic waste. To promote waste separation we are also offering proper and adopted waste bins to these schools.
Through the Green Earth Initiative, we are also instituting environmental clubs in students’ schools to enable continuous education and empowerment for climate action. We believe climate and environmental education should be included in the school curriculum at every level in the country. The Green Earth Initiative provides another avenue of promoting environmental education and awareness through extra-curricular.
With the realities of climate change affecting us all, an essential first step is raising awareness about disproportionate impacts and possible solutions.. Knowledge is power, and we hope to empower young people to take action for climate justice. While it is imperative that the root causes of the climate crisis should be addressed by the reduction of global emissions especially by the major/big polluters, justice won’t be complete if we fail to include everyone through education, raising awareness, and building people’s capacity for taking action.
Just one month into the school year, we have reached 4 schools, begun educating and inspiring over 1000 students, planted dozens of trees, offered multiple adapted waste bins to these schools, and set up two environmental clubs.
Through our Green Earth Initiative, we will continue empowering students and youths to foster climate and environmental action for a sustainable and equitable environment.
Author: Harrison Ashangwa
Edited by: Sophie Cash