World Environment Day 2024 – The Climate Education Nexus

As the world commemorates World Environment Day on June 5th, the importance of education in fostering environmental stewardship becomes even more paramount. This year’s theme, “Ecosystem Restoration,” resonates deeply with the initiatives led by Misean Cara members. Through their diverse and impactful projects, these members are at the forefront of the educational movement for environmental sustainability. Their initiatives, spread across different continents, serve as beacons of hope and action, illustrating how education can drive meaningful change in our communities and ecosystems. 

By Tom Carroll, Misean Cara Project Officer for Education

Misean Cara’s Strategy 2022-2026 highlights an increased focus on projects that address the climate crisis and help communities adapt and withstand environmental shocks. This strategic direction underscores the critical role of education in equipping communities with the knowledge and tools to navigate and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Sowing the Seeds of the Future with The La Salle Foundation

The La Salle Foundation has made significant strides in environmental education with their innovative project, ‘Let’s Plant Seeds to Sow the Future’. This resource, designed for teachers, provides a comprehensive guide to integrating environmental education into the curriculum. The initiative emphasizes the importance of planting trees and nurturing green spaces as vital steps toward a sustainable future. By educating young minds on the benefits of planting seeds, not only for food but also for ecological balance, the foundation is cultivating a generation that values and works toward environmental preservation.

Empowering Marginalised Youth with Environmental Education and Solar Skills

In Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, the Salesians of Don Bosco Ireland are transforming lives through their environmental education and solar skills training programs. Targeting marginalised youth, these programs offer practical skills that not only enhance their employment prospects but also promote sustainable energy solutions. By teaching young people how to harness solar power, the Salesians are fostering a culture of renewable energy use and reducing reliance on environmentally damaging fossil fuels. This initiative not only addresses the immediate educational needs of these youths but also equips them with the knowledge and skills to contribute to a greener future.

View a video of the Salesian Don Bosco Solar PV Train the Trainers Workshop here.

Above: Pupils at the St. Dominc Savio Secondary School in Zambia take part in the school’s Green Club, which planted trees around the school compound for Laudato Si’ Week. Photos: Salesians Don Bosco

Planting Trees for Sustainability and Justice with Viatores Christi

The Viatores Christi, in collaboration with Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) Hoima Uganda, have launched an ambitious tree-planting initiative that has seen 20,000 fruit trees planted through school clubs. This project serves a dual purpose: it raises awareness about environmental issues and contributes tangibly to environmental sustainability and justice. By involving school children in the planting and care of trees, the initiative instils a sense of responsibility and connection to the environment. The fruit trees not only improve local biodiversity but also provide a source of food and income for the communities, thus linking environmental health with social and economic well-being.

Pupils at the St. Bernadette’s Primary School, participating in a tree planting project within the school’s garden and compound.

Biogas Innovations in Zambia and Ghana

In Zambia, the Religious Sisters of Charity, with support from Misean Cara, have implemented biogas technology at Chukini Girls’ Secondary School. This innovation significantly reduces the need for firewood, curbing deforestation and promoting a cleaner, more sustainable energy source. The biogas project not only provides a practical solution to energy needs but also serves as an educational tool, demonstrating the benefits of renewable energy to the students and the wider community.

Similarly, in Ghana, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny have taken a holistic approach at Domeabra St. Joseph School. They have supported the installation of biogas systems, the planting of trees, and the education of the community on climate change. These efforts not only improve the school’s sustainability but also foster a broader understanding of environmental issues among students and their families. By integrating these initiatives into the educational framework, the sisters are ensuring that the lessons of sustainability extend beyond the classroom and into the community.

Pupils at a Marist school in Mexico learning about food composting as part of a kitchen gardens programme.

Promoting Healthy Eating and Environmental Awareness in Mexico

The Marist Brothers in Mexico are addressing environmental and health issues through their work with schools on healthy eating practices and kitchen gardens. By educating teachers and students on the benefits of nutritious food and sustainable agricultural practices, they are promoting healthier lifestyles and environmental awareness. The kitchen gardens serve as practical examples of how sustainable farming can be integrated into daily life, reducing the environmental footprint and providing fresh produce for the school and local community.

Call to Action

The efforts of Misean Cara members in climate education are inspiring examples of how dedicated individuals and organisations can make a significant impact on the environment and communities. These projects underscore the vital role of education in addressing climate change and fostering a culture of sustainability.

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