Why education might be the key to fighting climate change

The climate emergency is one of the greatest challenges facing our planet. As world leaders, politicians and scientists debate how best to tackle the crisis, there is one basic tool that we mustn’t overlook. Education.

Here are just some of the ways it could help us turn the tide.

Resilience in the face of disaster

Women and girls living in the world’s poorest areas are being hit the hardest by climate change – without an education they will earn less, won’t be able to save, and will have little resilience when floods or droughts hit their communities.

For girls, crisis situations can mean that they are more likely to be married early, or that they become more vulnerable to sex trafficking and exploitation.

Educated women have better life chances and more economic potential –  making their communities more stable, making them stronger in the face of serious emergencies and disasters, and giving them more capacity to navigate a changing world.

Better use of natural resources

Women farmers produce 60-80% of food in developing countries and yet in many places they are prevented from owning land and can’t access the right tools and technology. This means they don’t produce as much from the same amount of land as men.

We can close this gap by creating a more equal society, giving women access to land rights and the correct resources, and educating women on the best farming methods. This could improve yields by 20-30% and drastically reduce CO2 emissions from inefficient practices.

Educated women have more productive small holdings, are better able to feed their families and communities, and are better natural stewards making the most of the world’s precious natural resources.

Family planning

Not completing their education is linked to women having their first child earlier and having larger families overall as they are less likely to be aware of, understand and access family planning. Empowering women to plan and manage their family can positively impact how resources are used.

Smaller, healthier and more educated families can lead to increased resilience in communities as they are more able to understand their role in supporting the careful use of finite resources.

Link is working in Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda to improve education for all and to break down the barriers to education for girls – making education systems stronger, more accessible, and more responsive to girls’ needs for a fairer world.

Want to know more?

Education Counts – Towards the Millennium Development Goals | UNESCO

How empowering women and girls can help stop global warming | Katherine Wilkinson – TEDWomen

Educating Girls is More Effective in the Climate Emergency than Many Green Technologies | Resilience

Want to stop climate change? Educate girls. | Peril & Promise – PBS

Effects of climate change on girls’ rights | Plan International