Climate change is omnipresent and omni-destructive. However there is a colossal battle that has been going on for a decade or two or so, that draws the climate change creed against the ignorant pagans. Here is my two cents worth on how we can teach climate change to anyone, to resist the force of this holistic beast, the minotaur.
1. Define not the etiology of climate change but the origins. Leveling it to a force beyond our control serves no one and it is crucial that we show that it is our quotidian habits that contribute to this unstoppable juggernaut. They are origins and climate change is not a disease or a syndrome, it is just like pollution, an anthropogenic fate.
2. Start teaching climate change young. Show children that climate change has intruded a culture/lifestyle where there is no longer a month to fly kites – August is now majestically rainy – and the mud puddles are now floods.
3. Get to the origins with real life examples. You can analogously associate nitrous oxide with laughing gas and methane with the belching and farting of cattle and animals employed in animal husbandry. Even La Nina and El Nino too could be explained in a child-like manner so that not just children but those who are in the geriatric wards too can understand the potent of this imminent threat.
4. Quantify the threat. Say aloud that carbon dioxide is 415 ppm and not just that carbon dioxide is higher than any point in our globe’s history. Quantify the rainfall in millimeters and show how that is much graver now than 10 years back. People have a knack of being more perceptive to numerical figures since we are in an era of big data and data speaks louder than any adjective or adverb alone.
5. Use the benchmark of carbon dioxide equivalents wisely.
6. Make sustainability reporting just as much jaw dropping, attractive and progressive in illustrations and images, just as much as the contribution of your company to a green way of business.
7. Bring climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration into the standard classroom at an early age so that there will be reinforcement of our environmental protective values that will drive an environmental consciousness inside the burgeoning child.
8. Make icons out of plants, algae, cyanobacteria and make their pictures parts of text books, leaflets, posters, handouts and even make specific memorabilia such as card packs and diaries that drafts the human eye to our botanical heroes that can save our environment from its impending Armageddon. Make simple botany kits (magnifying glasses/mini microscope) to let the child rapture in curiosity.
9. Let the beauty kiss the beast. Transformation will have to be equipped with counteractive measures and what better way to battle climate change head on. Make reforestation, into a colossal act of saving the planet and be strategic in terms of what species you plant (canopy size, carbon sequestration rate, growth potential and non-alien species potential)
10. Make heroes just as much as villains. Take Greta Thunberg into the same level as Malala Yousafzai and make her quotes, her actions part of the early-years learning. Inspire the future Gretas and Malalas.
11. Innovate. Make vertical farming or “conduits” filled with algal species, a part of the learning manual. Show alternate ways of thinking and novel players that we can utilize to face the threat at hand. Think outside the hackneyed “Box”.
12. Use graphs to your advantage. PPM levels of carbon dioxide and average temperature can be shown in simple sketched graphs that will tell you the story from 150 years back.
13. Teach about the Azolla event. This was way back in 49 Million Years ago when the greenhouse globe transformed into an ice house one, thereby perpetuating a favorable world for us to live and thrive in.
14. Make mascots out of everyday objects. Show an anthropo-sized Azolla battling Godzilla (the monster being climate change) or make a tree’s canopy into a chest of a barrel chested “Super-Tree”. Show “S” as “Super” into “Sequestration”. Use local cultural icons too in a progressive manner.
15. Never quell the curiosity of a child if he/she asks stupid questions which may not be as stupid as they seem.
16. Promote integrated ways of life. Let the carbon sequesters battle not just global warming but food security, phytoremediation and a plethora of other helpful roles.
17. Make Climate Change short courses available in most universities. Make Climate Change an elective that anyone can take from any field of study. We need to arm not just the experts but the ones who are curious enough to learn about the impending threat at hand. Climate change begins in your backyard.
18. Bring indigenous knowledge into the battle of climate change. For example they say that Azolla was used 1500 years ago in paddy farming.
19. Take the message out to the carbon polluters by letting carbon offsets be made available conveniently and practically. Tax climate change pariahs.
20. Make tree planning programs family events held on weekends.
21. Market corporate responsibility and sustainability reporting without making it to an outward PR exercise. I believe that just like charity, greener ways of life do not have to be made into mass propaganda. Still do share the information at hand but humbly.
22. Drive home the message of a circular economy.
23. Promote business start-ups that have a greener ethos and can be seen from a “saving the earth” perspective. Single use items need to be eliminated one step at a time. Recycling should be our monotheistic faith that will usher in a livable future.
24. Take classroom lessons into Haggala or Peradeniya gardens or a learning sanctuary. Experience the biodiversity from a practical perspective. This should be done for school, corporation and campus. We live in a concrete jungle and what better way but to go to the field for a class blessed by the tree gods.
25. Let proliferate tools (apps etc) that can calculate our C or N footprints so that we are conscious of our contribution to global warming and climate change. Learning begins at your laptop and at home.
26. Mark/Show the carbon footprint on each item sold in the supermarket, especially on cartons of A4 paper. Discourage a printing culture, and make energy-utilizing equipment more efficient.
In all, we should be citizens of the world, playing a conscious and proactive role to ensure that climate change does not become the beast it can be. The minotaur can be defeated if we all get together. United we thrive, divided we fall.