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Introducing Climate Change & Environment Knowledge Into Classrooms

It has been about two years since the British Council with its partners have worked together to develop a portal on climate change issue for...

It has been about two years since the British Council with its partners have worked together to develop a portal on climate change issue for teachers and educators called the “Climate4Classrooms” (C4C), which is officially launched on 21 March 2011 in Jakarta. The C4C Project is a joint partnership between British Council (China, Indonesia, Mexico and UK programmes), The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and the Royal Meteorological Society.

It is a response to the lack of teaching materials in schools that carried the climate change issue though it is currently a challenge with all the citizens of the world without exception. C4C delivers innovative resources for schools in the United Kingdom and other countries to teach, think, and discuss climate change from the national and global perspective, in the classrooms or cross-cultural exchanges and partnerships.

In Indonesia, C4C aims to develop appropriate climate education materials for teaching resources and step by step basic guideline climate project templates for learners, also to obtain endorsement from relevant authorities for the integration into curriculum and adoption by schools and to facilitate key stakeholders’ support for broader implementation of climate education in Indonesia. Climate Change Teaching Guideline covers intra as well as inter-subject climate change teaching guidance for teachers including examples of teaching module/s and activity sheets as guideline for other lesson ideas and activities. C4C materials is expected to be a contribution to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) which the curriculum is currently being developed by the Ministry of Education.

Allowing with the launch of C4C portal in Indonesia, the British Council also conducts an education training as part of C4C materials adaptation for teachers from 40 schools throughout Indonesia, including the Islamic Boarding School teachers, in which the Islamic context/approach is also given to the teachers and participants. In this event, Hajj Fazlun Khalid, the founder of Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES), assisted by Nana Firman, a certified presenter for The Climate Project (TCP), deliver the session about Islam, Environment and Climate Change as part of an attempt to unite the world community in facing the challenges together, and have a deep commitment to environmental justice for the poor in developing countries.

Islamic teaching indeed offers an opportunity to understand the natural order and to define human responsibility. It teaches not only to take benefit from the natural resources, but also teaches its code of conducts with sustainability for common welfare as overall result. In fact, one of the Prophet’s Traditions (Sunnah) defines that every member of society is entitled to benefit from a common resource to the extent of his need so long as he does not violate, infringe or obstruct the equal rights of other members of society.

Scarce resource utilization is controlled and the common welfare is protected. As the guardians of God’s creation, human-beings have a responsibility to protect the environment. Overly exploitation on natural resources and climate change impacts have been viewed as major cause for landslides and floods in Indonesia within the last few years. These natural disasters not only have killed hundreds of people but also left thousands homeless. The act to prevent or at least to lessen the impact for natural disaster has been seriously developed. Thus, it should be understood that according to Islamic teaching, conserving the environment is simply an expression of worship.

Bestow up on the history of Indonesia and its present way of living, Islamic teaching has always been inseparable which makes the Islamic approach to reduce climate change impact and to protect the environment viewed ideal to be implemented and would play an important role in the future development of Indonesia. As a matter of fact, most teachers and participants attended the training have already been familiar to the Qur’anic verses pertaining to the environmental messages; however they have not been aware on the depth of the messages on the nature and environmental protection. Thus, the training is an eye opener to most of them in term of expanding their horizon and incorporating into their teaching materials. This means that the Islamic values could well be included for the C4C adaptation materials which will certainly strengthen and safeguard the environment against future threats.

Following the training, all teachers and participants are required to convey the message to larger public and share the experience and knowledge they have learned. They are also encouraged to share to other fellow-teachers and to expand the methodology to suit the local situations, through various green initiatives and activities as the real action to address climate change (e.g. green competition which will encourage students to participate, parenting session which will be aligned the school teaching on environment and climate change issues into daily life, etc).

C4C is the first portal that uses projections of climate change at national level which is adjusted to the conditions of each country. It is easily accessible to allow students and teachers to learn how their country and other countries in the world affected by climate change impacts, how to adapt to change, and mitigation. The existence of this material is expected to increase self-confidence and knowledge of teachers, facilitate young people aged 11 years and over to understand climate change as something that is relevant to their own lives as local and global citizens, and provide opportunities for exchange of ideas from different people from different countries. Certainly, integration of climate change in the teaching materials can actually provide the context of a discussion that can be approached from different points of views. And by introducing climate change issues to the younger generation, the British Council hopes to contribute significantly to the welfare of the Indonesian community in the future!

Article by Nana Firman

http://theclimateproject.org
+ www.climateclassroom.org
+ www.ifees.org.uk
+ http://www.tcpindonesia.org

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