Sigtuna Think Piece 1: Climate Change Education in Africa
Climate change has placed the environment firmly on the international agenda. It is one subject that all nations of the world must relate to and address. Africa is not left out. Though Africa produces less than 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions, the continent was noted as one of the most vulnerable to climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (2007). There is therefore a justifiable call for adaptation and mitigation policies to help Africa cope with the challenges of climate change. This will require the involvement of every sector and individual; and this is where climate change education is seen as critical in empowering citizens and leadership and mobilising positive response to the climate change challenge. This think piece highlights the present uncertainties surrounding climate change science, identifies other critical areas of study and argues for a cross-disciplinary research agenda for Africa that will create opportunities for knowledge sharing within the continent with an emphasis on provision of solutions to the continent’s problems, preferably in the context of indigenous knowledge systems. It concludes by emphasising that climate change education should not be viewed in isolation of the critical foundation provided by environmental education. Africa needs to build its climate education strategy and research agenda on the already existing worldwide effort to bring about environmental citizenship in all spheres of society through environmental education. For Africa, this means domesticating environmental education in order that it addresses the present and foreseen environmental challenges that the continent is facing, laying a particular emphasis on adaptation and mitigation of climate change effects.
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