It is becoming well known and almost universally accepted that the climate is changing and that carbon dioxide emission is one of the mainculprits. What is less clear is how individuals and societies can contribute to carbon reduction. Those with higher levels of educational attainment understand the arguments and can draw their own conclusions, whether or not in favour of reduction measures, however those with lesser education will be reliant in government opinion.
Young people seem to have a greater interest in climate change than their parents, partially because they expect to be alive to see the consequences and partially because they have less economic self-interest in retaining the status quo. Governments often like to retain the status quo, especially in developing countries. Logically then, governments of countries with a lower average education standard among youngsters will be under less pressure from the youth population than those with a higher education standard. Additionally personal carbon reduction methods are less likely to be adopted by those of lower educational achievement, although arguably they will have a lower carbon footprint to start.
The Eden Project (www.edenproject.com ) feels that there is a strong link between education and sustainability and are working in many areas to increase understanding of environmental issues, both in the UK and other countries. From their base in Cornwall where they demonstrate the links between mankind and the environment, they work with schools, excluded communities, prisoners and community facilities such as football clubs to educate people of all ages.
Eden’s Great Day Out programme brings disadvantaged, mainly inner city children to the project to enthuse them about the environment. Cisco’s Network Academy programme collaborates a great deal with the Eden Project, offering chances to learners in community centres such as football clubs and in prisons as well as in traditional educational establishments. Cisco’s Energywise are CRE programmes in Higher Education, in association with Schneider, support Eden’s initiative by providing carbon reduction technology with display systems that tell students and staff alike the current status of carbon emissions.