Need to priorities education, research on climate change

Pakistan is facing not only a climate change crisis but also threats to sustainability on all fronts. Though the country has only meager percentage towards releasing green house gases, global warming and environment pollution, yet the price it is paying is too high in terms of change in annual whether cycle, floods, land erosion, damage to crops as well as properties, dangers to ecosystem and biodiversity. The government as an attempt to resolve the issue a couple of years back had devolved the subject to provinces, however, no tangible result has been witnessed since then. Where the authorities need to bring all the stakeholders on one page, there is a dire need to rope in all educational institutions and engage them aggressively by introducing academic programmes. At this stage, advocates of environment protection, official authorities, relevant organizations, academicians and political leadership are supposed to incorporate their inputs on the issue. It is essential that campus climate action plans address the curricular component of this problem by making climate change and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experience for all students. Curriculum changes should involve all students and sustainability challenges and the urgent need for future professionals, leaders and citizens in all disciplines to be engaged for solution to these problems. All colleges and universities need to formally acknowledge this transcendent problem and reorient academic programmes to be relevant to the challenges all future graduates will face. Higher education has an obligation to lead in creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society. If the current situation of environment degradation continues to persist, the country wont be able to cope with the negative impacts of this crisis. As an academic solution to the issue, action and change must be in three areas including content of learning, context of learning and process of learning. Through this process, education leaders should focus on teaching and learning experiences that enable students to understand the interdependence of humans and the environment, how to assess the effects on humans, relationship of population, consumption, culture, social equity and the environment and learn causes and consequences of climate change. This could be achieved only if the institutions draft an action plan on yearly basis to arrange exhibitions, contests and practical campaigns. A variety of strategies can also be used to develop the capacity to launch and undertake different activities like, broad administration support for intellectual direction, broad involvement of faculty, strong connection of formal education to practice of sustainability on the campus and with local and regional communities.

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