Almost every debate on climate change in recent years has focused on the political and socio-economic dimensions of climate change, with little attention paid to the educational part to create awareness among the younger generation whom we are striving to save the planet for. Building on this knowledge gap within the framework of Eco Relief’s initiative for Climate Education and Practical Action (CEPA), a three-day workshop was organised in the campus of Bukonde Secondary School in Mbale, eastern Uganda. This workshop was organised with financial support from the Gylestedt Family Foundation and the objectives were to promote the integration of climate change education into academic curricula; enhance the exchange of experiences and good practices on climate change education among practitioners and the youth; and identify learning materials and good practices on climate change education and foster their dissemination via Information and Communications Technology.
As 72 students were introduced to the subject of climate change and the role they play in greenhouse gas emissions as well as mitigation and adaptation options open for youth, there was broad agreement that climate change education is an urgent issue that needs to be brought to all facets of society. Securing youth interest and commitment through this form of education therefore remains the medium to:
i. Formulate a multidisciplinary approach for sustainable development via mitigation and adaptation.
ii. Help the youth develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge needed to make informed decisions on climate change mitigation and adaptation in the short and long-term.
At the close of the seminar, an Environment Club was set up to act as a hub for coordination of extracurricular activities that will continue to promote climate education by students for students. Under the supervision of head teacher Betty Namono, the club will be run by a team of 12 students known as Green Ambassadors, who received training on tree nursery development, compost preparation as well as learning material for knowledge generation and communication. As Eco Relief seeks to scale up the climate education campaign with other schools in Uganda, it is expected that this pilot workshop will build the knowledge pool from which students can develop the capacity to educate family members and friends for practical action.