Raising Awareness about Global Issues Among Young People
We are in a race to save our planet, and it starts with educating young people about issues like wildlife crises and climate change. Every day we hear about bizarre natural calamities happening, icebergs melting, massive earthquakes, and unusual tropical. We also discover multiple incidents involving whales and endangered marine life washing up on shores or trapped in shallow areas. In just a few years, massive wildfires left iconic rainforests and protected wildlife areas on the brink of destruction. Nature is behaving weirdly, and we can hear its desperate cry for help.
The children’s book Who’s Yawning Now?, a book on rare and endangered species by wildlife photographer Nicki Geigert is particularly remarkable. At first glance, it’s just a collection of photos featuring animals yawning. However, if you look closer, each opposite page features trivia about the animal and its habitat, plus the corresponding IUCN Red List of Threatened Species tag that tells how endangered an animal is. Books like these are the ones we need today to spread awareness and interest in wildlife among young people.
Education starts at home and in school by exposing young children to the beauty and bounty of wildlife and the various forces that threaten their existence.
In recent years, we have witnessed young people actively taking part in the quest to save nature and expose the system that permeates atrocities against wildlife and the planet. Young people like Jamie Margolin, Greta Thurnberg, and Oladosu Adenike are at the forefront of the global campaign to save our home. We can produce more like them if we start educating children about wildlife and climate change.
At home, we can expose kids to wildlife books- picture books, animal books, and short stories that celebrate Mother Nature, its majestic creations, and the amazing planet that is our home. There are many children’s illustrated books out there. Still, we need the ones that will instill values, interest, and curiosity on how nature works, the relationship of animals and us, and the delicate balance that is now being threatened.
Schools, the center of shared knowledge and education, play a vital role in incorporating subjects and topics about wildlife issues and other global concerns into their respected curriculums. They can also project a more localized fact sheet on what is happening to their country’s natural resources, marine biodiversities, and rainforests. Nature trips to animal sanctuaries, forests, rivers, oceans, mountains, and wildlife areas will also give them a clearer picture of our planet’s wealth and, at the same time, the threats that are very real.
Young people play a vital role in creating a sustainable future that is also pro-wildlife, pro-nature, and not reliant on a structure that seeks to drain the planet of its resources.
“You might think that we are too young to know about the risks and realities of climate change. But we see its effects in our daily lives.” – Gertrude, 16, Tanzania.
One significant way that the youth and younger generations can help save the planet is the changed mindset and the small decisions that can ultimately force governments and corporations to abandon specific production of consumer products and culture. According to Voices of Youth, “as teenagers, sometimes we feel helpless and powerless, unable to take action or do things that really matter to us since governments and large corporations are the ones taking vital decisions. While major changes are only possible if countries and corporations alter their policies and actions, we as individuals also have the potential to make a difference, whether through small actions or larger initiatives. Let’s not forget that consumers dictate markets, and they can significantly impact the way goods are produced and traded if they decide to change their consumption habits.”
Among the many things that our children and the youth can do to help the fight against climate change and preserve our planet are the following:
- Recycling materials often
- Conserve energy at home
- Only buy sustainable stuff
- Buy only what is necessary
- Join environmental groups
Our children can do many things for the planet, but we should start them young, and it starts with raising their awareness about our beautiful planet, its wildlife, and how we can protect it.