Climate change is a hot topic!

Usha Raman

But what does it mean?

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Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize brought an important issue into the limelight – climate change and global warming, interrelated issues that have taken up a lot of space and time in the mass media. The former US Vice President Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” did its bit to raise awareness and rekindle debate about the causes and consequences of environmental change. The fact that an Indian scientist, Dr R K Pachauri, is leading the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) created ripples of interest in the topic across India as well.

The debate may not have escaped the attention of your students – many young people are extremely passionate about environmental issues and it is not difficult to excite their interest in things that (it is clear) will affect their access to natural resources in the not too distant future. As they prepare for the summer holidays, get them thinking how lifestyle changes have impacted their immediate environment and how these changes in turn have led to changes in the way we live, work and travel. Earth Day (observed by the United Nations on the spring equinox, March 22, and by several environmental groups on April 22) occurs right in the middle of examination season or the beginning of the holidays so it is often difficult to plan an event on the day. The next best thing therefore is to give students something to think about on Earth Day and carry it through as an activity during the summer holidays. If they are in class 9 going into the 10th, this could be one of their final year projects for Environmental Education, which is now a compulsory subject in most boards. It could also form the basis for an introductory discussion on environmental change, as this is the focus of much of the EVE syllabus.

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