On June 11-12, students in Ukraine, China, and Korea worked on a problem that will impact on the future of humanity. They spoke virtually through a live video call about the implications and issues related to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13, which asks us to take urgent action to tackle climate change and its influences.
Although this issue is complex and presents numerous obstacles, the students on both sides of the classroom screens were jubilant and hopeful because they had built great insights during the last three months researching this topic. After months of intense research and invaluable collaboration with their partner country, students in Ukraine and Korea were undaunted by this imminent threat to the human economy, politics, and the environment. Through IVECA’s global collaborative platform, students experienced the roles of environmental specialists in this topic and self-actualized while implementing knowledge into tangible actions.
Students from disparate geographies, economies, and histories were able to share with one another the ways in which climate change specifically manifests in their countries. Instead of conducting superficial research solely about one’s own country and leaving the issue there, these students went beyond in their efforts to find the global intersections of climate change as an international threat that must be also addressed locally, through cooperation, mutual understanding, and respect.
Students from Hanil High School in Korea spoke eloquently about the SDG 13 as it relates to the destruction of habitats, the rise of epidemics, and increasing rates of methane gas production. In a wide-ranging and thorough investigation of climate change as it is presented in Korea, these high school students demonstrated a professional understanding of this complex problem. The solutions they presented were intelligent and realistic, dealing equally with the magnitude of the problem and the locality of it as it relates to government, economy, and individual well-being.
Students from STEAM School in Ukraine offered potential solutions and actions that we can take as global citizens to enact meaningful and immediate change. They made the case that, although this issue is global and goes far beyond the individual, there are still ways for us to help mitigate climate change. It starts, they argued, with appealing to local government, organizing peaceful meetings, and using alternative energy sources. Students from Zhenjiang Vocational College in China explained the impacts of light pollution, plastic waste (“White Pollution”), and water pollution. Solutions presented were pragmatic and achievable within the boundaries of UN SDG 13, and were founded in a balance of personal responsibility and collective action.
It was an inspiring Live Class session full of serious dialogue, sharing, and laughter. Ukraine’s principal summarized it well, stating, “We must act together because climate change affects everyone and concerns our common future!” And indeed this Live Class left us more hopeful and sure that we can meet this global challenge with the intelligence and ingenuity required.