Shaping the Future – Why I’m fighting for Sustainability and Climate Education

Olive Coxon - Why I'm fighting for Sustainability and Climate Change Education

by Olive Coxon, age 17.

I’ve always found comfort at school and through learning, knowing that I am being taught things that I need to know. But when it comes to the climate emergency, I feel let down. I feel like the responsibility of learning about climate change has fallen to me, rather than my teachers.

We need to be taught about the world we live in. And not just what climate change is, but how to tackle it! I strongly believe that educating young people about the environment is far more important than learning about circle theorems.  

I joined the strikes because of how much I care about the environment and because no change is ever made in the world by waiting for it to happen. I also knew how guilty I would feel if I didn’t strike to protect my future. The future that is in jeopardy because we humans are destroying our beautiful planet.

Similarly, I joined the Eco Council at school last year because I felt a responsibility to help our school become more environmentally friendly with an aim to reach carbon neutrality by 2024. But it wasn’t easy. Even whilst supported by two teachers, we found it increasingly difficult to get anything to happen, having to pass proposals through senior members of staff first. Even something as simple as getting more vegetarian options in the canteen felt like a never ending battle that couldn’t be won.

This year, with a new head who is enthusiastic about going green and heading the charge to get our school carbon neutral, I feel as though a huge responsibility has been lifted off my shoulders. A responsibility I never should have felt.

Yes, it is everyone’s job, including me and my generation’s, to battle climate change, but young people shouldn’t be bearing the brunt of this responsibility.

And the first step towards including everyone in the battle, is education. People need to know and understand what is going on so that they can help! Climate education is a priority, and without it I fear we cannot move forwards.

I long for an earth filled with people who love and respect the environment. An earth where humans and nature can live in harmony. A rift has grown between us and we must repair it!

To build a sustainable future, we need to come together as people and use our respective talents as forces for good. Whether your talent be to do with communication and getting the message out, educating our young people about climate change, researching ways of generating sustainable energy or going into politics to reform the way we use nature’s resources, everyone has a role to play.

So, I urge you to find yours and join the fight!

Olive is currently at 6th Form College working towards her A levels. Once she completes she’d like to take a year out to travel before continuing her studies at University.