While children are known for learning fast, being creative and fast adapters, these are far from being the only reasons why school systems are the perfect size for scaling climate action. Over the last few years, experimental learning has been widely introduced in schools to battle climate change and influence the youth to develop much-needed “green skills” that will help them. This model seems to be highly effective given that many studies suggest that environmental education is paving the way for a more sustainable future. But what’s the reason behind its success?
Schools can aspire the local community to participate in climate action
Research points out that groups of 1000 people is the “sweet spot” for climate action. This is no surprise if we consider that meaningful action stems from local relevance which helps students see the value of what they’re learning. On top of that, schools are ideal for cost-benefit optimization if we really want to evaluate the global impact of our local actions. While it may seem like climate action-focused learning is mainly for the benefit of students it has a much wider impact.
To put it simply, schools are the ideal network of institutions because they are centred around strong community connections. These connections can reinforce the sustainable, action-driven message that students and schools alike try to share. It’s all a matter of focusing our green efforts on the local community rather than having to influence people on a global scale. This way, people can engage in activities that are tied to local environmental justice issues and help make a difference at the community level.
Students can shift the mindset of parents – even if they have conservative beliefs
One of the most prominent concerns when it comes to climate action is shifting the perception of older generations who may be opposed to the message as a whole. However, numerous studies have shown that children are more than able to influence their parents’ views when they are equipped with enough knowledge to initiate a conversation and even manage to bypass the political ideologies of adults who are highly resistant.
There is enough evidence to support that girls, in particular, can change the minds of male parents even if they hold strong conservative views. Children’s ability to affect the decisions of their parents is not limited to environmental concerns alone. On the contrary, school-age students have the power to influence other behaviours including reducing energy consumption in the household, as well as changing the way parents manage waste.
School systems are the perfect size for scaling climate action because, instead of trying to promote climate-positive actions on a global scale, the efforts are focused on the communities. By shifting the focus towards local environmental justice issues, people become more willing to take action. Also, children can influence the decisions of their parents including shifting their established political ideologies that are linked to their reluctance to support climate action initiatives.