Y4S Climate Talk, a new debate series on climate change by Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S), held its first physical event at the Youth Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai this month.
Following its debut in November, the second Y4S Climate Talk saw Y4S members discuss the ways young people can boost their knowledge of the environment to be effective champions of climate action.
Professor Fernando Reimers, Director of the International Education Policy Masters Program at Harvard University, began the event with a talk about the role of education and climate change. Addressing the audience, he said that interest in environmental education and climate change is not new, but “climate change is outpacing the effectiveness of our efforts,” before adding: “We need an ecosystem of climate change education” to foster understanding of the environment.
Y4S members followed Prof Reimers’ talk by taking part in two panel sessions on the environment, with the first panel debating the meaning of the terms ‘climate change’ and ‘climate literacy’.
Adithya Sathyanath said joining Y4S had improved his knowledge of climate change, with Riya Sharma echoing his sentiments. “Climate change is an issue that doesn’t impact every place around the world the same way,” said Riya. “That’s one thing Y4S has instilled in me… to consider the various nuances of climate change and how it can apply to different communities.”
The role of schools and universities in educating students about the environment was the topic of debate for the second panel of the day. "I think schools should teach ‘climate’ as a subject," said Hamza Ammar. "But in a way where we don’t just discuss the subject theoretically, but actually do practical things and spread awareness around the school."
Afrah Shuja agreed with Hamza that a "project based education" on the subject of the environment would help to spark students’ interest. He said: "I would say that every student has to scout one problem that they find existing in the world right now from climate change, and take one step, meagre as it may be, to mitigate it."