Climate Change: Changing the School Climate

Melanie N. Aquino

Many still are unaware that global warming is making the earth a major damage. It is already penetrating its withering effects. Stevenson (2017) however, researched that in a 2016 poll of 2000 respondents in their country, it was found out that 77% of respondents accepted that climate change is happening, which can be a good note that a number is accepting the reality of the changing climate. The continuous production of electricity, which burned fuels causes the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It disturbed the ecological balance. Thus, making the earth extreme warm and its devastating effects expanded not only from one community but throughout another. According to the United Nations (UN) disasters are linked to the extreme weather conditions that have been part of the Earth’s system which are becoming more frequent and the intensity becomes more aggressive that no continent is left untouched with heatwaves, droughts, typhoons, and hurricanes around the world. It is believed that 90% of the disasters are associated from weather-and climate-related classes which drops down the economy. Since, no part in the world with the talk of climate change remains to be untouched, all communities in the world are greatly affected.

School is part of these communities that can be touched with the adverse effects of climate change. It might not be the primal way to stop or prevent climate change, but the school can be an avenue to participate in the challenges of climate change and change its climate. In the Philippines, a study of Competente (2019) subjected pre-service teachers attitudes of integrating climate change education, knowledge of climate change and inclusion of teachings of the climate change. Results revealed that there is a low climate change education concept from the perspective of these pre-service teachers and that there is very limited knowledge in climate change science has been deduced. Thus, implicating the need to triangulate this climate change education in our Philippine education system. It must therefore, start with the instigation of knowledge of the changing climate before actions can be done. As highlighted in Article 6 of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), encouraging parties to promote, develop, implement education, training and public awareness programs can be contributory to delimit the effects of climate change. Raising awareness can be an archive idea, but it promotes knowledge and skills development as integral catalysts to respond to the global issues of climate change and the school can be a room for the first step to action. The key action theme for supporting the changing of the school climate on climate change is awareness and education. Emphasizing an environmentally friendly community in school can create a big role for the awareness and education.

Data from the from the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Enhanced Basic Education Information System (EBEIS) from school year (SY) 2009-2010 to SY 2017-2018, reported that 43,810 of the almost 47,000 public schools in the country experienced natural hazards at least once in eight (8) years. There are 39,738 schools had been affected by tropical cyclones; 25,191 had been inundated by floodwaters; and 5,824 had faced coastal area concerns. These impacts of rising sea level caused droughts and threats to the education sector because many of these school children were able to leave school because of the dangers of the severe weather conditions. This scenario is alarming and can posit realizations in the loom of our education. There is a need to prepare for the future generation’s vulnerability of the changing climate. These vulnerabilities include children’s wellbeing and survival to education, water sanitation, nutrition and health in the succeeding years. How can then they part of this step to delimit the adverse effects of changing climate? It is through climate action. Acting to contribute to limit the adverse effects of the changing climate. The school should change its climate of action. Emphasizing programs that will intensify support for climate action. First, the school should be become informed. A virtual symposium can be a good start, discussing the science of climate change. Encouraging virtual eco-group, empowering environmental enthusiasts and advocates in every student. Each student has their own share of knowledge to care for the environment. Carbon footprints can be a contributory to changing climate, it’s time for the school to identify what makes it adding to the carbon production of the atmosphere. Revisit the waste management of the school and plan and organize ways to establish systematic approach to solid waste management in school. In subject lessons, inclusion of consumerism, reduction of waste and the kind of transportation priority each learner must involve. Since, pandemic is concurrently, widely affecting the world, and social distancing is emphasized, why not encourage everyone to participate in bicycle shifts than cars or vehicles using gases that can increase carbon dioxide?

Many can be unaware of climate change and its weathering effect, not because they choose to but because they forget it due the hustle and bustle of everyday; however, if school is a niche to prepare the future generation’s accumulation of the extreme effects of sudden uncertain weather conditions due to climate change, why can’t they change the school climate to find space in the adaptation of climate change. A climate of action and hope for the future generations–education and awareness paired with action.