Dr Jackline Nyerere, Senior Lecturer at Kenyatta University in Kenya has said children should be involved in climate change mitigation initiatives.
She noted that, despite accounting for a sizable proportion of Africa’s population, children and young people were excluded from discussions and actions about climate change and environmental sustainability.
The lecturer emphasised that to promote just and inclusive development efforts, children must be taught about the causes of climate change and given the tools and skills they need to contribute to long-term solutions.
Dr. Nyerere stated this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a symposium on the theme “Justice for Whom?” What is justice? Democratization of Just Transitions,” held concurrently in Accra and the Netherlands.
The event was organised by the United Nations University-Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) in partnership with Utrecht University and the Prince Claus Chair for Equity and Development.
The symposium also saw the launch of the Dare to Share Knowledge Platform (DtoSKP) on Just Transitions.
The DtoSKP is an initiative that promotes a just transition through broad stakeholder engagement and the inclusion of marginalized voices in the shift to a greener, more sustainable environment.
Dr. Nyerere underlined the necessity for adults to be honest with children about the causes of climate change.
“If we are honest enough to tell our children the actions that contribute to climate change, it is going to be easier for them to mitigate or even avoid those actions. This would ensure that they do not repeat the mistakes we made or reverse the gains we make,” she said.
Dr Nyerere urged for climate change and climate action to be included in school curricula so that children could be enlightened on such issues at an early age.
She explained that the school could employ a range of approaches, such as observation, learning by doing, and carrying out school projects related to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
For education to be effective, Dr Nyerere said schools must localise the curriculum and provide context-based knowledge.
“If we allow children to interact with the context they find themselves in, they see the impact in context, they see the actions that are causing climate change in context,” she said, adding that this approach would enable children to produce innovations to address challenges in their communities.
“As adults, we should be positive about a just transition. We should give children hope and tell them that it is possible to reverse the harm we have caused in our environment,” Dr Nyerere said.