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Why climate change should top the agenda when educating the next generation

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Focused education of planning professionals is an essential tool in combating the threats of climate change, argues Anna Vince

Climate change is happening; the human race has pressed the self-destruct button. In recent times we have seen more storms, terrible flooding and such droughts where now nothing will grow. Climate change does not discriminate. These threats are being felt across the world, affecting the young and the old, rich and poor.  

Since the Industrial Revolution, our impact on the environment and atmosphere has increased exponentially. Development and technological advancements have been crucial to our success, enabling us to grow and evolve in ways never seen before.  

It is true, however, that our increasing consumption of the world'’s resources and creation of waste is having a detrimental effect on our planet, and if we do not change our behaviour the world we will leave for future generations will be very different from the world we live in now.  

Rural and urban areas are experiencing different issues, resulting in the need for different and specific actions to cope.

How climate change will affect us we can only speculate, but the time to act is now, and education can help us to mitigate the impact and adapt to change.

"We can give children the inspiration and tools they need to help plan for the future and become sustanable in all walks of life"

Through education, we can help the next generation plan for the future, inspire them to make the changes required and make those sustainable choices our Earth so desperately needs.  Education will enable them to plan sustainable infrastructure, more efficient buildings and energy networks and give them skills to tackle the different challenges facing rural and urban areas.

Currently, climate change is covered in the national curriculum, within geography and science. External companies also offer educational programmes that focus on climate change, sustainability issues and ‘being eco-friendly’.

Nationwide schemes like Eco Schools and Forest Schools, and regional programmes such as Lincolnshire County Council’s Schools Collaboration on Resource Efficiency programme are thankfully in place. These educational programmes reflect those in the government’s 25-year environment strategy and the NPPF, embedding a sustainable mindset from a young age.  

The future of our planet is relatively unknown. Predictions range from extensive loss of land owing to rising sea levels, to increased extreme weather events and the threats they bring. But one thing is for certain; the more we can educate our children the better prepared they will be.  

We can give children the inspiration and tools they need to help plan the future and become sustainable in all walks of life. 

Anna Vince is sustainability project officer at Lincolnshire County Council

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