13th December 2018
Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.
Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.
GS III: ENVIRONMENT
Q1Recently, there were protests of students in Australia and Sweden against the lack of measures taken to prevent climate change. Discuss the reasons for the same
- Thousands of schoolchildren demonstrated on the streets of Australian and sweden. They were protesting against their government’s lacklustre response to climate change.
- The protests are a result of collective feeling that natural catastrophe would make academic attainment meaningless.
- Like children in various other parts of the world, Swedish and Australian children have been studying environment science in their regular curriculum. It specifically refers to the dangers of global warming and the impending disasters associated with climate change. But in addition to the curriculum, direct experience of endemic forest fires impelled adolescent minds in Australia to mount public protests.
- Another reason lies in the fact that many of the world global leaders fail to see climate change as a threat. It is intellectually challenging for many people to reconcile this notion of climate with the idea of climate change that the UN is using to warn people against terrible environmental disasters. Another idea that the UN is doing its best to promote is that of ‘sustainable development’.
- There is lack of focus school level education on climate change, and wherever it does exist, economic growth is prioritized over it. Interestingly, the UN’s promotion of these ideas is based on a global consensus which gave birth to these concerns in the first place. In a study mooted by UNESCO’s Delhi-based Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. Its report, “Rethinking Schooling for the 21st Century”, presents an analysis of curriculum policy documents from over 20 Asian countries. The analysis shows that the sustainable development goals promoted by UNESCO have been included in the school syllabus across Asia, but their presence is merely nominal in most countries. Policy documents include environmental concerns, but prioritise economic growth. In the context of globalisation, most countries propagate competitive nationalism. It is used as a major ground for regimentation of children’s bodies and minds in order to ensure that they become proud, loyal citizens.
- These messages are hardly unique to Asian countries. The Australian children who registered their protest on city streets receive similar lessons at school. Yet, they feel more sensitive than Australia’s political leaders to the threat of climate change. The reason perhaps lies in the nexus between politics and economic interests. Those who espouse environmental causes are often seen as romantics while people who support fast economic growth based on rapid industrialisation are perceived as practical realists.