Lessons from COP26: Climate education is critical for children to survive and thrive

“Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face.” — Nelson Mandela

GLASGOW — We must give children the climate education tools required to face the climate crisis. In these last hours of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, there is still hope that negotiators will prioritize climate education for children, especially in regions hardest hit by climate change. 

“How do we expect children and youth to survive and lead on climate if we don’t make relatable climate education a priority?” said Andrea Koehle Jones, UN Climate Observer and founder of The ChariTree Foundation.

She said, there are many children who don’t receive any climate education and even those that do, it is often not relatable to their climate challenges. “Children are among the least responsible and most at risk from the impacts of the climate crisis, that is why it’s so important to give children and youth the tools and knowledge to protect their future.”

Koehle Jones agrees with Jane Goodall that “hope is a call to action.”  As COP26 winds down, Koehle Jones calls on leaders to take action and prioritize climate education for children and youth.  

“Let’s give children opportunities to fall in love with nature,” said Koehle Jones. “Because you protect what you love.”

FROM LITTLE THINGS, BIG THINGS GROW

Andrea Koehle Jones is a children’s environmental education advocate from a small island off the coast of Vancouver, Canada. As a UN Climate Observer, and founder of the ChariTree Foundation, she travelled with her daughter to Glasgow with great hopes for the climate and children everywhere. 

“I am honoured to be at COP26 with Avery.” Andrea founded the ChariTree Foundation on Avery’s 1st Birthday. Since then, Avery has grown up helping her with outdoor learning programs across Canada and also in Zambia.

Although Andrea tested positive for Covid inside the UN Climate Conference, she said “thanks to the Pfizer vaccine I have only experienced mild symptoms, which has enabled me to continue participating in COP26 virtually from my hotel room.” 

UPDATE Re: Nov 13, 2021 Climate deal

“COP26 was considered by many to be the world’s last best chance to get runaway climate change under control. While I am grateful for the progress, it is not enough. I can’t help thinking we have left children to grow-up in a world accelerating out of control.” – Andrea Koehle Jones, UN Climate Observer and founder of The ChariTREE Foundation.

Clearly there is a lot more work to do outside #COP26. Whenever I get discouraged, I return to The Hummingbird Story as told by Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathai. “I will be a hummingbird, I will do the best I can.” Every little thing everyone does matters. Thanks for all you are doing. 💚🌍

WATCH ‘I Will Be A Hummingbird’ by Wangari Maathaihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT98uQ74X1c