Enhancing awareness: tools and strategies to disseminate climate and ocean literacy for students and adults

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The climate belongs to everyone, to the whole of society. It cannot be discussed only within the scientific community or in meetings of experts. Solutions to the climate crisis necessarily go through the public opinion’s awareness, and therefore also through initiatives that involve schools, students, and teachers at all levels. Climate change is a complex subject that relies on a solid scientific basis, invades all aspects of the society, the economy, and the environment, at a global and local level.

Climate literacy was at the heart of an event that took place at the United Nations Conference in Madrid, the COP25, at the beginning of its second week of work.

The meeting, entitled Climate and Ocean Literacy: tools for a sustainable future, was held in the Italian Pavilion of the Conference on Monday 9 December and was an opportunity for discussion and dialogue between international organizations that operate in the field of dissemination and training on climate change and ocean, such as UNESCO and the Italian CMCC Foundation (co-organizers of the event), the Moroccan Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection and the French NGO Ocean & Climate platform.

“The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate – explained Francesca Santoro of IOC UNESCO – this is the second principle of ocean literacy. We need to use ocean literacy as an approach aiming at empowering people to take action through knowledge and understanding to promote climate action now”.

“Climate change is our challenge: it is multidisciplinary, it is highly complicated, it is global, it is all-pervading, it impacts all the aspects of the society and the economy; it affects our lives and involves a diverse audience”, Mauro Buonocore from CMCC said. “To effectively communicate climate change and to increase public awareness, we have to find specific languages, specific tools for each target, and use them in an integrated and simultaneous way.”

“Ocean and Climate Literacy for all is a critical element to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, leaving no one behind”, explained Ayman Cherkaoui of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection. In particular, he continued, African Youth voices and action should be responded to and amplified through concrete and relevant support. The African Youth Climate Hub, hosted at the Hassan II International Center for Environmental Training, is committed to being a key facilitator in that regard”.

In the end, the debate revealed the strong need to develop projects and initiatives that, starting from schools and the students’ engagement, provide content and opportunities to improve public awareness on a topic that is recognized by the international community as one of the most important challenges of our time.

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