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WATCH: Curriculums must feature climate education to avoid ‘chronic food shortage’

In a new interview, a leading scientist at Arba Minch University, Ethiopia, has called for the environmental emergency to feature more prominently in classrooms. You can watch the clip below. 

Successive years of extreme weather events and crop failures have led to dangerously low agricultural production levels in the African nation. According to one of the country’s most prominent climate experts, knowledge-building is essential to stop this decline. 

woman in green and white dress holding white ceramic jar

Dr. Thomas Minda was speaking to the Net Zero Show – a YouTube series produced by youth-centred climate information initiative Protect Our Planet Movement and Planet Classroom Network – when he clarified the climate catastrophe now facing his homeland and its population. 

Increases in annual average temperatures and dramatic changes to precipitation levels have left 2.1m livestock animals dead. As an economy heavily reliant on agriculture, this has particularly pronounced consequences, with 7.2m people now in need of food assistance. More worryingly still, 22m livestock are considered to be at immediate risk. 

‘For the last four years the crops in Ethiopia have failed,’ Minda told Barry Nyuydze Berry, Net Zero Show host and climate activist. ‘In Ethiopia, climate change must be integrated into the school curriculum.’ 

In addition to promoting more widespread climate education, Minda also pointed to the geography of Ethiopia. As a mountainous country, hydropower could offer an effective alternative to polluting fossil fuel energy sources, which contribute further to climate change. The government in capital city Addis Ababa has already outlined aims to establish a climate neutral economy within the next two years, indicative of how urgent the situation has become. 

Although speaking about the African country, Minda’s idea of increasing climate education in school curricula has relevance far beyond the region, and continent. A recent Ipsos poll found that while the environment still ranks high on the list of global concerns, there had been a six-point increase in climate skepticism (or 38%) between 2019 and 2022. 

Meanwhile, research by City University, London, led by Dr Andrea Baronchelli, found climate skepticism was growing four times faster than ‘pro-climate’ content on Twitter. Notably, the study was conducted before the social media platform’s $80b takeover by Elon Musk, which investigations have found has led to a rapid increase in far-right activity, including climate skepticism. Last year, Environment Journal reported on a survey by Universities UK which found only four-in-ten parents believed their children were being taught about climate change at graduate and post-graduate level in Britain.

You can watch the full interview with Dr. Minda below. 

 

Image: Gyan Shahane

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