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Empowering futures: education saves lives amidst climate crisis

POSTED April 23, 2024

Empowering futures: education saves lives amidst climate crisis

Discover the impact of climate change and how education can break the cycle of poverty

By Danielle Daley, digital community coordinator

two girls looking out into the distance

Education is one of the best tools for ending poverty. According to UNESCO, if all students in low-income countries had just basic reading skills, an estimated 171 million people could escape extreme poverty[1]. But the effects of climate change is making this statistic look far out of reach.

With the number of environmental interruptions such as floods and droughts, increasing every year, interruptions to education are expected to increase as well. The effects of climate change lead to food and water scarcity, lost livelihoods, increases in gender-based violence, and lower educational levels.

Recovery from these setbacks is far from straightforward; for many children, the window of opportunity for education closes permanently, robbing them of their choices over their own futures.

Climate crisis: threatening children’s futures

Climate related emergencies, from floods to extreme temperatures, pose risks to children’s health and safety, with compromises access to WASH facilities worsening the threat of waterborne diseases and respiratory illnesses.  All of these can lead to higher absentee rates in school, especially as the most vulnerable children are not able to get immediate and quality healthcare.

In regions like Northern Ethiopia, where droughts threaten livelihoods, the consequences are severe. Families facing agricultural losses find themselves unable to afford school fees, and kids are forced to abandon their education in favor of supporting their families or seeking employment.

And for many girls, they can spend hours collecting water for their families and in times of drought or floods, they have to walk even further to get clean water. Forcing many girls to drop out of school because of the time needed to do their chores. Prabhavathi, a Youth for Climate and Children Collectives (YCCC) club member says,

“Climate change is not just a problem, it’s a crisis. The impact of climate change, such as extreme weather patterns, droughts, and floods, is a crisis affecting our daily lives.”

The Unconventional Climate Solution: Educating Girls

When we think about combating climate change, electric cars, renewable energy, and carbon capture technologies often dominate the conversation. However, there’s a silent but powerful solution that’s been gaining recognition: educating girls. Surprising as it may sound, educating girls has been ranked as the sixth most potent solution out of a hundred to reverse global warming.

Why is educating girls such a game-changer in the fight against climate change? The answer lies in the multifaceted impact it has on society and the environment.

Education fosters girls’ climate leadership. When girls are empowered through education, they become agents of change in their communities. They are more likely to advocate for environmental protection, engage in sustainable practices, and promote policies that address climate change. By nurturing girls’ leadership skills, we are cultivating a generation of climate-conscious decision-makers who can drive meaningful change.

Education equips girls with green skills for green jobs. As the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, there is a growing demand for workers with expertise in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and environmental conservation. By investing in girls’ education, we are preparing them to excel in these emerging green industries, thus contributing to both economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Reverse climate change through education

We believe that education gives children choices; choices that will help them reach their dreams and lift them out of poverty. One way we do that is through initiatives like YCCC clubs, we harness the potential of youth to lead the charge against climate change particularly in regions where communities are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

These YCCC clubs not only educate participants about climate change but also empower them to take action within their communities. From tree-planting initiatives to waste management projects, children and youth can lead the efforts to alleviate the impact of climate change within their communities.

By investing in education, we’re not just helping individuals; we’re building stronger communities that can face the challenges of climate change together. Join us in our mission to empower youth, protect communities, and fight climate change. See how you can make a difference, today.

[1] https://www.concern.net/news/education-and-climate-change

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ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE:

Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

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