Climate Change, Global Warming & Urban Heat Island? – Let the Awareness Begin in the Classroom!

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) dire warnings on the impact of human-induced climate change and global warming have provided an instantaneous wake-up call for swift actions to strengthen the global response towards major climate-related risks. This calls for an immediate action to inculcate fundamental knowledge on climate change to foster the contemporary society towards environmental stewardship and sustainability practices. Importantly, such moves should be started from the children as they are going to represent the future stakeholder society that will embark in various development activities to meet the future human needs without undermining the stability and integrity of the natural ecosystems.

In response to this, a ‘Climate Change and Urban Heat Island Awareness Program’ was organized on 26th March 2018 (Monday) for the secondary school children of SMK Seri Hartamas by Grand Challenge Research Group (GC002-15SUS) in collaboration with Sustainability Science Research Cluster and Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Malaya. The aim of the event is to foster some fundamental awareness of climate change, Urban Heat Island and associated issues through interactive and fun-based activities for the lower-secondary school children. The concept of this event is similar to an ‘ExploRace’, where children in groups of ten have to patronize individual checkpoints to obtain clues to solve a crossword puzzle on Urban Heat Island phenomenon. A total of five checkpoints were set up and each checkpoint arranged some activities related to climate change issues. Meanwhile, short presentations on introduction to climate change and air pollution were inserted in between the main agenda to ingrain some basic knowledge of climate change issues. Lastly, Prof. Dr. Wong Li Ping wrapped-up the event with a brief talk session on how the children can engage themselves on combating the climate change.

In a nutshell, this program serves as an initial move of Grand Challenge team of University of Malaya, led by Dr. Nasrin Aghamohammadi, to spread its wings out for the empowerment and activate participation of the children in tackling various climate change issues at the local level. Proper and effective dissemination of knowledge is pivotal in the creation of new generation stakeholders and decision makers who can perform pragmatic evidence-based decisions to sustain climate-friendly living environments for the future. Remember! Our current actions will indelibly mark our children’s futures!

Written by Logaraj Ramakreshnan, for the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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