Cookie preferences

HundrED uses necessary cookies that are essential to use the service and to provide a better user experience. Read more about our cookies.
Accept cookies
11.7.2024 | Jamie Lee |

Bridging Education and Climate Action for a Resilient Future

The education of over 1 billion children a year are at extreme risk from climate-related events. Climate resilient education solutions are needed to ensure that children can adapt to challenges posed by climate change and continue to have access to education.

Climate change poses a significant threat to the education of over 1 billion children each year, with climate-related events disrupting schooling and exacerbating vulnerabilities. As these disruptions become more frequent and severe, it is crucial to develop climate-resilient education solutions. These solutions ensure that children can adapt to the challenges posed by climate change and continue to have access to quality education. By integrating education and climate resilience, we can empower communities to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts, creating a more sustainable and resilient future.

Often, climate change and education are topics addressed in isolation even though the two are strongly interlinked. Progress in education is being set back by climate-related disasters, while the power of education can be harnessed to reduce vulnerability and increase the adaptive capacity of affected communities. Therefore, education cannot be left out of the climate conversation.

“Education is an assumed, but hugely undervalued, component of responses to climate change impacts, and efforts to mitigate and adapt to them. It is essential for reducing vulnerability, improving communities’ resilience and adaptive capacity, identifying innovations, and for empowering individuals to be part of the solution to climate and environmental change,” declares UK Foreign in a Policy paper about Addressing the climate, environment, and biodiversity crises in and through girls’ education. 

Climate Resilient Education minimises vulnerabilities and enhances adaptability to the adverse impacts of climate change. Our approach encompasses four aspects: anticipatory action, response, mitigation, and adaptation:

Anticipatory Action entails forecasting potential social, economic, and education implications of climate-related disasters and implementing measures to mitigate their adverse effects on the education system. For example, foundational learning prepares children to pursue further education, enter the job market, and eventually support their families in making informed choices amid an uncertain future affected by climate change.

Response refers to how quickly resources can be mobilised in the immediate aftermath of climate-related disasters to mitigate disruptions to schooling. A response solution, for example, could be an easily accessible virtual classroom or low-tech solutions to maintain education, such as through radio or SMS. 

Mitigation refers to solutions that address underlying causes of climate change through policies and practices that reduce carbon emissions from education activities, such as schools’ food, transportation, and energy use.

Adaptation includes strategies that integrate climate resilience concepts into educational planning. These strategies could include designing resilient school buildings, promoting outdoor learning experiences, and fostering ecological literacy among students. 

“Without making education systems more resilient to the impacts of climate and environmental change on education, we will not achieve SDG4. Investments in education will continue to be undermined by climate shocks, with resources diverted to respond to crises instead of being focussed on quality,” the report says.

HundrED has already seen innovations working on climate resilient education (See article on 4 Climate Resilient Education Solutions ensuring access to education), but there are many more to be discovered. HundrED and Save the Children want to learn more about innovations, programs and interventions that have demonstrated proven impact and scalability in this domain. 

By identifying and promoting these solutions, we can catalyse widespread adoption and implementation. We call for action to support climate resilient education solutions. Learn more about our Call to Action.

Photo credit: Jimmy Gondwe/Save the Children.

Jamie Lee