This article is sponsored by the Mobius Foundation.
Uttarakhand is facing a severe crisis with heavy rains and flooding. Reports indicate that this natural disaster has claimed 85 lives and caused a loss of Rs 1,000 crore in the state. Other parts of India are also grappling with extreme weather conditions, which are linked to climate change.
A 2023 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stated that global temperatures have risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius in 2011-2020, compared to what they were in 1850–1900. The report emphasises the significance of education as a vital tool to combat global warming and achieve sustainable development.
The Mobius Foundation is dedicated to contributing to sustainable development goals (SDGs) through various initiatives — one of which is the International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE). Now in its fifth year, the conference focuses on exploring the details and importance of sustainability education as a catalyst for change and transformation.
Dr Ram Boojh, convener, ICSE 2023, calls the conference the flagship programme of the Mobius Foundation. He says they strongly believe in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which talk about education as a major catalyst for change to find solutions to the climate crisis.
“The UN SDGs are the basis of survival of humanity in the 21st century. It guides us on how to combat climate change, create better health, access affordable energy and fight poverty. We also feel that education can pave the way for transformation, which is what we intend to do with ICSE. We want to give an opportunity for stakeholders and students to come together to encourage collective action and share ideas about fighting climate change,” says Dr Ram.
Education as a tool for climate transformation
The ICSE 2023 theme is ‘Educating for Climate Action and Sustainability’. It will take place from 19 and 20 September 2023 at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The conference will bring together professionals, educators, leaders, policymakers, teachers, and students to collaborate on climate change solutions.
“This conference offers an exceptional opportunity for educators, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to come together and exchange ideas, strategies, and innovative solutions for effectively addressing planetary issues of climate action and sustainability through education. We will be demonstrating what changes have been made through case studies,” adds Dr Ram.
They aim to inspire and motivate young people to pursue sustainable solutions through success stories and case examples. “Youth play a critical role, both today and tomorrow, in many of the sustainable development goals. Whether it is the SDG related to hunger, quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, or reduced inequalities, all these changes start with the “YOUTH”. We tend to follow what the Youth does,” says Pradip Burman, Chairman, Mobius Foundation.
The ICSE 2023 chief guest is Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who will be inaugurating the conference. Other notable attendees include Dr Anil Prakash Joshi — environmentalist, green activist and founder of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO); and Jadav “Molai” Payeng — environmental activist, forestry worker, renowned as the Forest Man of India.
Including sustainability in national education
Their ultimate goal is to reform the national education framework and curriculum. This aligns with the goals of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which seeks to incorporate environmental education into the school curriculum. The NCERT is actively working on this by developing the National Curriculum Framework.
“NEP is a great change. It is important to add specific courses to make the curriculum ‘green’ while developing the new framework. We will be having experts from the education sector and ministry at our conference, through which we hope to empower the teachers,” adds Dr Ram.
Previous ICSE conferences drew about 1,000 participants from 40 different countries. This year’s conference will feature notable speakers like Dr Jane Goodall, founder, Jane Goodall Institute(JGI), UN Messenger of Peace; Kartikeya Sarabhai, founder and director, Centre for Environmental Education; Dr Vibha Dhawan, director general, TERI; Pramod Sharma, senior director of education, Foundation for Environmental Education; among others.
You can register for ICSE 2023 here.