Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Can humanity face the challenges presented by climate change before it's too late? This is a big question and it's vital if we are to achieve global sustainability and live in harmony with our only home, Planet Earth.
But alarmingly, scientists have discovered that we are presently consuming resources at a rate equivalent to 1.7 Earths per year, well beyond what our planet can sustain. Researchers are uncovering clear evidence of big scale changes within global ecosystems due to habitat destruction and climate change. And most worrying of all, the UN's latest IPCC report on global warming concludes that humanity has just 12 years (until 2030) to take radical action and avert climate disaster.
A Dystopian Future?
I know what you're probably thinking: This all sounds extremely gloomy! Well it's true, the latest projections are bad, really bad for humanity, and we should be concerned. There's now a 97% consensus among the world's leading scientists that climate change is fast taking hold, and unless we take rapid global action to tackle it now, we'll face 1.5°C average warming globally by 2030.
Climate researchers believe our planet could sustain 2°C average warming and avert the worst case climate predictions, but much beyond that, things start to get serious. The Earth's climate system is complex and scientists have identified at least 10 known tipping points within our climate system, or cliff edges, which once exceeded cannot be reversed anytime soon.
One of these thresholds involves the absorption of sunlight and heat into the ocean, as a result of melting ice sheets and glaciers. This so-called albedo effect is expected to cause a feedback loop, with ever increasing ice melt leading to more heat being absorbed by the darker ocean water, potentially resulting in run-away global warming.
The Changemaker Model
How can we create a brighter future for humanity? How can we empower the next generation to become changemakers? How can we make sure we reverse these harmful trends and pass on a healthy planet to our grandchildren?
At Outdoortopia we subscribe to The Changemaker Model of experiential education as the framework for positive change on sustainability issues. This is a cycle of experience, followed by reflection, deep learning and taking informed action for real-world change.
But how specifically can we encourage children to appreciate the beauty of nature? How can we improve environmental literacy among young people? And how else can we empower youth to create change for a better, more sustainable future?
Join our Online Community to connect with parents, teachers and youth leaders passionate about education for a brighter future!