Any effort to tackle the effects of climate change must include steps to inculcate awareness at the primary levels. Climate change impacts everyone but the greatest burden of its effects will be shouldered by the youth, who look to inherit a world with unprecedented rising temperatures, water shortages and dangerously polluted air. In that regard, it is important that climate change awareness is taught at schools, beginning from primary education.
With this aim in view, the School Education Department, South Punjab has launched a pilot project at Multan, wherein children enrolled in public schools of South Punjab will be issued a “Children’s Greenbook” that will be used to teach climate change. The book makes use of tools to appeal to children, such as colourful pictures, graphics and illustrations to spread awareness of climate change in society.
The book is reportedly comprehensive and well-written, and follows the guidelines set out in UNESCO’s published report, “Getting every school climate-ready; How countries are integrating climate change issues in education”. The book is cognisant of Pakistan’s cultural context but does not make use of stereotypes. For example, the female characters in the book are shown to be educated professionals, teaching the lesson that awareness of climate change is the civic duty of every man and woman.
Moreover, the book, while meant for children, does not only restrict itself to children’s education but caters for the needs of all interested members of the family. Thus this educational initiative in primary schools may end up bringing about awareness of climate change and the importance of following green-friendly practices could reach households.
The pilot project was launched at Multan in February 2022, and the Department intends to roll out it in Bahawalpur and Muzaffargarh too, with the Department stating that it would be expanded soon to the rest of the districts of South Punjab. This initiative should be extended to the private sector and beyond Punjab as well, particularly in Sindh, which is most impacted by climate change.