Earth Day and the next generation of young scientists
"Education is the foundation for progress. We need to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet. We need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action. Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies, but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.”
- Earth Day Network
On April 22nd this year, Earth Day celebrations across the world aim to raise awareness of the importance of Environmental and Climate Literacy. Knowing how climate change happens, and why we’re encouraged to do certain things to stop it, can help us to incorporate environmental conservation into our everyday lives. Above all, it’s easy to be scared of things we don’t understand, but getting to grips with how climate change works is the first step in reclaiming our environment.
“Global environmental change is one of the most important issues of our time. There is a real need for the scientific information that can drive policy decisions, and it’s the next generation of motivated young scientists who will have the time and the freedom to be out on the front lines to collect this information.” -Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystem Science at the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University. Schools, colleges and universities therefore play a key role in educating the next generation of scientists by offering them programs that attract students to the field and support them through formal education.
Understanding our environment and the causes & effects of climate change is not just an issue for Geographers and Biologists. Researchers, Statisticians and Financial Analysts all play an essential role in the implementation of climate change policies by businesses and governments. As these policies become enshrined in law, legal experts are called on to bring organisations to task for the effects of pollution and deforestation on global health, food shortages and destruction of property/livelihoods.
Media and Communications experts translate hard data on climate change into an accessible format and distribute it to the public, whilst education and outreach programmes require teachers and presenters with great people skills as well as good scientific knowledge.
Climate change charities and organisations run in the same way as any company: they require employees in a wide range of different roles to function. Anyone with good Administrative skills, Project Management experience or appropriate qualifications in Business could combine these skills with basic environmental literacy, giving them a competitive edge over other applicants.
Even if a career in the Environmental Sector isn’t for you, understanding how and why climate change happens can help in motivating us to make small, everyday changes that slow the process.
Why exactly should we recycle? What world-saving change could switching off a light or putting less water in the kettle possibly make? Are expensive home-improvements like insulation or solar panels really worth it?
Knowing the answers to these questions isn’t just about saving the environment. It’s about boosting green industry and creating jobs. It’s about fostering sustainable innovation. It’s about making the world a fairer, healthier and safer place for all of us. This Earth Day, we’re focused on creating an environment worth saving.