As part of conscious efforts to enhance public knowledge on environmental sustainability, DEAN Initiative has asked the government to urgently incorporate climate literacy into the national school curriculum.
Making the call on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 during a press conference organised in Abuja to mark the 2021 National Day of Climate Education, the advocacy-oriented organisation stated that the alignment would equip every citizen with the right knowledge to meaningfully engage with both state and non-state actors to help avert the impending ecological disaster.
With over 50 percent of the total population estimated to be young people, the environmental rights group believes that the populace can significantly address the issue of prolonged drought, desertification, flooding, as well the food crisis bedeviling the country if given the proper climate education.
Since the first quarter of 2020, DEAN Initiative and her partner World Largest Lessons based in the United Kingdom have focused on championing climate education and how Nigeria can make gains through its inclusion in the national school curriculum.
For them, they are passionate about resolving this problem because of their conviction that climate awareness can empower people to meaningfully engage and ensure solutions.
The duo is currently running contextualised climate change-makers as an extracurricular exercise in 35 schools across six states in the country. These classes provide children with teaching and relatable stories on climate change and its impact on livelihood sources.
A review of the project’s impact revealed improved knowledge about climate change and the children’s genuine passion and commitment. The participating children, through various means, have also called on the government to take proactive steps to integrate climate education into their learning prospectus so as to provide them with the requisite knowledge to take action.
“In Nigeria, climate education is a gap we need to unite and fill,” says Michael Simiye, founder of DEAN Initiative.
To further raise the momentum for the demand for climate education, Simiye said they have created a range of activities including climate education conversation, as well as the national day for climate action.
While commending the government for implementing various initiatives in tackling the climate crisis across the nation, as demonstrated in the ambitious plan in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the environmentalist wants more urgent and sustainable actions taken to complement ongoing intervention efforts by stakeholders.
As Nigeria continues to battle with this catastrophe, the environmental campaigner submitted five prayer points that he thinks can help resolve this issue. In his prayer, he wants the ministries of Education and Environment to collaborate and begin the formal process of including climate education in the national school curriculum.
“Nigeria needs it young people to be knowledgeable about and empowered to tackle climate issues,” he submitted. “We hope that the National Action Day for Climate Education will ignite this flame.”
Other participants at the event shared their observations on the importance of climate education to national development.
Representative of Sustyvibes, Glory Iorliam, said integrating climate education into the national school curriculum would help prepare the citizens to take early climate decisions.
Using herself as an example, she told the audience that she first heard of climate change during her second year in the university, lamenting that she would have contributed more to the solution if she had known about it early enough.
“There is no greater tool to change the world than through education,” she said.
By Etta Michael Bisong