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Earth Day 2023 – Delivering climate fluency for the next generation

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At times, the concept of living sustainably can seem daunting. What exactly does living sustainably mean and how will it impact our lifestyles? While the umbrella of sustainable living is broad, little adjustments can create large-scale change as more individuals strive to become climate-conscious. 

The idea of living sustainability can be overwhelming. Defining what sustainable means and how this impacts our lifestyle is challenging. The primary goal of Earth Day is to raise awareness for climate change and take action to protect our global resources and environment. On April 22nd 1970,  millions of people took to the streets to protest environmental issues and demand changes for our future. It had an impact, and over 50 years later, people worldwide still come together on Earth Day to voice their concerns for the planet we live on.

Earth Day is a significant day for environmental issues, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to transform our behaviours and deliver global, national and local policy changes. The battle for sustainability and a clean environment continues with considerable urgency as climate change becomes more clear every day. 

As our recognition of the climate challenge grows, so does the demand from societies worldwide for reform and adaptation. People worldwide are demanding far greater action for our planet and its people. Earth Day remains a critical moment to stop and reflect on our connection with the planet and explore the impacts our interaction has on all people. It is an opportunity for the younger generation to take climate action and to recognise how the climate challenge will shape their future.

Sustainability and the next generation

When considering the next generation, we often focus predominantly on tech-focused individuals. Worldwide, the younger generation has become so connected to technology that they are often considered digital natives, but this isn’t just referring to social media and gaming. Digital natives are entering education systems and accelerating the boundaries we thought existed in AI and emerging tech. Innovation has become a critical factor in driving progress, and many industry leaders believe this development can be adapted to environmental sustainability, creating a new generation of climate-focused sustainable natives.

In reality, environmental sustainability needs longevity, accessibility and community participation. A sustainable plan must carefully consider its impact on the earth and all communities for now and for the future.

The next generation will grow up in a world increasingly impacted by climate change. Creating a generation of sustainable natives requires implementing a similar path to the rise of technology. To establish climate fluency, we must consider that digital adoption is primarily exclusive to those with access to technology and education. Climate fluency, therefore, must be accessible to everyone and applicable to a range of communities.

The latest IPCC report warned that global policies must become stricter on climate legislation to achieve targets within the Paris Agreement. New regulations will involve introducing climate education with considerable funding to ensure adequate training and resources are available. Integrating climate education at an earlier stage is critical to developing climate fluency. It enables people to naturally take sustainable action, similar to those in tune and so at ease with today’s technology. 

Studies highlight the positive benefits between environmental education and climate action. By creating a standardised, broadly integrated climate education system, the next generation can grow up with an engrained understanding of climate change and be more active and capable of taking action.

With Earth Day 2023 approaching, now is the time to consider changes on a personal level that can support the drive towards climate fluency. Engaging the next generation in climate action will accelerate their understanding of the climate challenge and empower them to take decisive action.

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