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28 Aug 13 13:50

Commenting on the findings of Swiss Re's Risk Perception Survey, CRO David Cole, says the findings show that the old and the young frequently see eye-to-eye about what needs to be done to address future risks. This convergence of views is what we need, he says, "to create the inclusive, resilient communities of tomorrow."

He's dead right. But broad agreement expressed through a survey is one thing, turning words into concrete actions quite another.

In the longer term, how good we are in funding longer lives, weathering climate change or ensuring people have enough to eat will depend on opening our children's eyes to these challenges. And this effort has to begin with Generation Z, that is to say at as young an age as possible.

The UNESCO initiative, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), advocates the introduction into school curricula of "climate change, bio-diversity and disaster risk reduction - as entry points for promoting sustainable development practices through education."

One of the many ways it pursues this goal is through teacher training. For example, it recently made available an online training course for teachers, designed to give them the skills to help young people understand the causes and consequences of climate change.

The UNESCO website says: "With our limited natural resources, individuals and societies have to learn that actions here and today have implications for the lives and livelihoods of people in other parts of the world, as well as for future generations."

If we can use education to open our kids' eyes to this reality, then "creating the resilient communities of tomorrow" does indeed become an achievable goal.

As Nelson Mandela said: "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."

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1 Comment

Jennifer Rodney - 28 Aug 2013, 5:22 p.m.

Fully agree Richard, education is so key and often is way too far down the priority list when it comes to budget, resource, etc. in my opinion. Did you read about this program in New York that is dedicated to teaching about the some of the themes mentioned by the UNESCO initiative? Very inspiring stuff!

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