Universities should take the lead in creating climate change warriors

New DelhiWritten By: Air Commodore Kamal Singh (Retired)Updated: May 25, 2022, 06:08 PM IST
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2021 was among the coolest of the top-seven hottest years, it was still marked by a range of record temperatures and extreme weather events linked to global warming. Photograph:(AFP)

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It is critical for Indian institutions to encourage students and assist them in coming up with new solutions to combat the boogeyman of climate change

Every day, we wake up to news of yet another forest fire, or photographs of glaciers melting. Temperatures this summer is unusually high owing to global warming. It is easy to fall into nihilism and believe that all hope is lost; after all, why bother when the consequences of climate change are so irreversible? However, what some people don’t get is that climate change can be tackled strategically; maybe by influencing adults to take definite steps to keep our climate ecologically balanced, or maybe just imbibing a sense of sustainability in kids.

As a result, it is critical for Indian institutions to encourage students and assist them in coming up with new solutions to combat the boogeyman of climate change. The educational sector plays an important role in performing research and making genuine efforts to preserve and rebuild ecosystems. Universities are widely acknowledged as playing a crucial role in tackling major sustainability challenges through educating future generations, undertaking sustainability research, and encouraging legislators to also include sustainability concepts into the nation's development efforts. On a global basis, university campuses are anticipated to act as an experimental paradigm for sustainability. A clean and sustainable campus will provide a healthy and happy learning environment. Set in the midst of nature, NIIT University has taken various greening initiatives and developed sustainable model to nurture the environment and to sensitize students to urgent need of combating the climate change.

Here are some constructive ideas for universities on how to engage students to combat climate change:

1. Sustainability curriculum

Universities should develop and integrate the sustainability aspect in their curricula. This lesson would introduce students to the seriousness of the climate crisis while also encouraging them to consider solutions from the start. Students should also be encouraged to participate in various environmental initiatives like planting trees, sustaining water bodies, greening hills etc. Getting initiated into The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, popularly known as TEEB, is another way of powerful orientation for students.

2. Climate Warrior Fellowship

A 'Climate Change Warrior Fellowship' can be launched by some of the country's premier universities to develop an army of young professionals and embed them into the governmental machinery. These young people could use their entrepreneurial thoughts and knowledge to help the government promote climate change initiatives from within the system. This would also equip individuals who are fresh out of high school or college with valuable real-world experience enacting change.

3. Build an international community

Furthermore, our colleges should form a network with other international schools and advance existing projects such as Young Champions of the Earth in order to develop a global group of potential climate entrepreneurs. Governments could boost this interchange by supporting student exchange programs between developed and underdeveloped countries. This would allow young minds to analyze other countries and their approaches, allowing them to develop a holistic multi-cultural view in their approach to resolving the climate disaster.

4. Introduce students to our villages

While cities and urban environments continue to be affected by climate change, India's rural areas remain at the forefront of climate action. Those people who have traditionally contributed the least to current-day carbon emissions, such as India's adivasi and tribal communities, are frequently the most exposed to its dangers and repercussions.

It is critical for our students to engage with adivasi communities on the front lines. Students can use their entrepreneurial skills to assist these communities in developing climate-friendly methods of interacting with their environment and incorporating modern technology and artificial intelligence into their everyday routines and companies.

Unleashing teachers' and students' creativity to tackle climate change through community-based climate action projects led by students would be a quick victory for boosting the general quality of education in a 21st century filled with crises. If implemented on a large scale across India, we might be well on our way to meeting our emission objectives by 2050 and maintaining the quality of life for future generations.

(Disclaimer: The views of the writer do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. Nor does WION or ZMCL endorse the views of the writer.)

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