Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis and 20 million Americans took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet. A wave of action resulted, including the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States. The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were created in response to the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many countries soon adopted similar laws. Earth Day continues to hold major international significance: In 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day when the historic Paris Agreement on climate change was signed into force.
Earth Day 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of this ground-breaking event with the theme of the day focussing on climate action. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.
Lessons within Individuals and Societies this week, across all grades in the middle and high school, have centred on Earth Day and the need to recognise the causes and effects of climate change and the need to take action. A range of approaches to learning have provided the students with the opportunities to reflect on the on a range of issues. Students were made aware of several contributory factors affecting climate change, the consequences of which were identified through series of atypical climatic events which marked 2019. Access to the themes central to Earth Day 2020 were made available using cartoons and pieces of Renaissance art, digitally enhanced to reflect climate change. Awareness of the impact of climate change on a regional, national and local scale focussed on Bangladesh and displacement of thousands of Bangladeshi’s, annually, as a result of floods. The role of Great Thunberg as a figure for her generation was also reviewed and acknowledged. Here are just a few observations made by students in MYP3 about their learning experiences and views on climate change.
During this online learning period we have had time to look at different aspects of climate change in geography. To make this process more interesting and entertaining we have used different medias such as: documentaries, paintings, articles, cartoons and much more. One of my favourite lessons was when we looked at the painting exhibition in Madrid, to coincide with the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in same city, where famous paintings were technologically modified to a state in which they would have been now in the 21st century. The paintings included floods, droughts and other aspects of climate change. I thought this was a great idea since This exhibition makes you think about our future and what it will be like if we don’t take action.
Today we discussed about climate change, we have seen different cartoon illustrations and we gave our opinion on those particular illustrations which represented global warming and the relationship with humans, antagonizing the men. We talked about also a very famous female activist, her name is Greta Thunberg. We shared our opinions on the young activist, some of us thought that she was doing an awesome job and she was an example, while others thought that she was only talking, and without doing anything of effective for our planet. My main opinion was; if the students around the world skipped a day of school to protest against global warming, instead of screaming, could have they cleaned the streets and do something of really effective?
I think that climate change must be considered the main problem in the world. I think that it should be solved immediately and properly. I think that we should all start and stop using non-renewable energy and we should actually start doing what people like Greta Thunberg say. She can’t just do it on her own! People producing polluting energy should stop immediately and start producing renewable energy. We have to stop heating the world because the causes will be all brought to us with impossible climate changes; people will tend to migrate using planes or trains and this will be even worse. Lots of species are dying because we continue to produce things that we don’t need. I think that the only solution will be to use all the things that we already have, to stop producing things that we don’t need. I think that for example you don’t need 40 bag brands, you just need two really good ones that don’t contribute to global warming. I think that we should all think about it now that we are blocked in our houses. The cause of all of this is us because we are in a cage right now. The earth can breathe without us.
Today in our geography we have talked about climate change and how our society’s reaction is: I personally believe that people right now are underrating the problem, we all definitely know our planet is in danger but most of the people are not doing anything about it, and I also admit I am one of those people. I am not really optimistic though, unless everybody commits to this, we will never change anything.
We looked at the very important problems threatening our planet such as global warming or the issue of deforestation. We learnt how these problems look on the global scale. A very interesting initiative which we looked at was where some famous Renaissance paintings from the Prado Museum in Madrid were transformed, or digitally enhanced, in a way that they showed us the effects of global warming. I think that this whole initiative is very inspiring and pursues people to change their minds and start to make a better impact on the environment. It is very important and the way in which the effects of global warming and our current crisis are presented inspires and makes you wonder about your taking actions.
Mr Anthony Crewdson