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Primary Education News
News Geography taught me climate change is unjust – and inspired me to fight | Esha Marwaha
Previous generations' ignorance led to global warming. To change the curriculum now is an outrageous backward step
My name is Esha, I am a secondary school student from the Heathland School in Hounslow and a member of the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC). Geography has always fascinated me. Volcanoes, globalisation, development, you name it. It's the one subject that has left me with the desire to find out more. In fact, it inspired me enough to appreciate that not only is the Earth a beautiful place, but that it is one in desperate need of our help. More importantly, it inspired me to get out there and do as much as I could to make a difference.
Climate change is the most pressing and threatening issue facing us. Through lack of understanding from generations before us, we are now having to fix it.
And how could we do this without education?
However, yet again, our government – part of the generation who bear more responsibility for this problem – intend to not only fail to act on climate change themselves, but to obscure the truth, and any chance young people have to act. It is outrageous that Michael Gove can even consider the elimination of climate change education for under 14s. This education is vital if we want young people to be as skilled and informed, as I and others like me are, in taking on this challenge today.
The biggest surprise of all has been the reaction from organisations such as the Royal Geographical Society and the Geographical Association. They welcome these shocking changes and in doing so discredit their reputations. These organisations have responsibilities to their membership; all the lecturers, students and teachers.
All the people who are passionate about this issue call for more climate education, not less. We should be taking a step forwards, not backwards. For most, these institutions provide a place for their passions to flourish, providing them with inspiration to be involved in proactive change not held back from education.
The proposed change to the curriculum will reduce our potential to help tackle climate change. It stops us from taking a stand to protect our futures.
Like so many people, I owe my passion for furthering the understanding of climate change to my school geography lessons. I was able to understand the many issues and perspectives surrounding climate change. The beauty of geography is the fact that it gives us the skills to frankly express the problems that the Earth and humanity faces, without hiding the truth.
The change to the curriculum takes away this opportunity for honesty. Geography showed me that climate change isn't fair. It isn't fair that we are causing harm to people less well off due to our own carelessness. Geography lessons taught me more than that "the polar bears are dying". They allowed me to realise that climate change is unjust, it affects people in an inhumane way. Not only that, but it is also something we can stop.
It is clear that we don't have all the solutions. We don't know how to stop the ice caps from melting. We don't know how to reduce natural disasters. But we do have the opportunity to learn and change this. If young children aren't able to learn about climate change in an environment which allows them to be inspired, how can you ask us to take the lead in the future? The fact is, we can't. That is why it's so important so teach us.
• Esha Marwaha is the organiser of a petition to keep climate change on the geography national curriculum for children up to 14 years old