Climate education

Mai Samih , Tuesday 8 Nov 2022

A new survey shows increasing awareness of climate change among Egyptians, but more needs to be done, reports Mai Samih

Climate education
Climate education


Fifty-six per cent of Egyptian respondents 18 or over say they are aware of the climate change crisis and the rise and fall in temperatures leading to floods and droughts worldwide, compared to 43.5 per cent who said they were not aware.

The answers were part of a survey conducted by the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC) to determine the degree of awareness on the issue of climate change and its danger to Egypt and the world at large.

Of those asked, 43.7 per cent believed that the chief cause of climate change was human activity that produces greenhouse gases compared to 35.6 per cent who believed that climate change occurred naturally.

On the other hand, 2.7 per cent believed that climate change was the product of a combination of both natural causes and human intervention while 18 per cent could not define a cause.

In addition, 43.1 per cent saw climate change as dangerous to Egypt while 21.6 per cent felt it represented minimal threat.

Head of the Arab Environmental Experts Federation Magdi Allam said he believed it was “a good sign” that over half the sample were aware of climate change. As for the fact that 43 per cent were unaware of the issue, he said this was due to the high percentage of illiteracy and the disinterest of youths.

“The high percentage of people who think that climate change is due to human behaviour means that they are aware of the cause of the problem which is a good sign but it is strange that some people think it is a natural problem since even scientists do not know for sure why it is happening,” Allam said.

The 43 per cent who think that climate change is a threat to Egypt is a reasonable percentage which means that there is some awareness, he said.

Allam said it was possible to raise awareness of Egyptians and young people in particular about climate change by educating them. “As the Egyptian proverb goes, ‘Education in childhood is like writing on stone’. It is much easier to teach children about climate change and methods of sustaining the environment — which is the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we plant our crops in for food — than it is to teach older students. There should be a practical syllabus in schools to teach children about the environment. They should be taught how to plant trees. This is what stays in a child’s memory. And, competitions between schools should be held and the most environmentally friendly school should be awarded,” suggested Allam, adding that this is how children are raised in European countries.

“The climate will not be back to normal unless the air, the water, and the soil are clean once more,” Allam said, adding “it is up to the generations to come to make sure this happens.”

*A version of this article appears in print in the 10 November, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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