In recent decades, environmental problems have become globalized in terms of their existence and impacts as well as the socioeconomic forces that generate them. Therefore, learning about all environmental issues by discussing them as concepts will not be enough, but how we as human beings must act to face them. It needs a considerable and sustained effort from the government authorities, academia, NGOs, and others to ensure that young generations have the means to understand and take action to protect them from prejudice, ideology, or irrational thinking and prepare them to live in a changing world. In this perspective, education is an essential component and a catalyst to respond to global environmental issues and climate change phenomena by integrating it into science education to raise awareness and promote knowledge and skills development.
Education systems can at least make an effort to promote sustainable development in what they teach and in efforts to make their institutions “green” and eco-friendly. Even less discussed education systems must do something to sustain themselves and be resilient in the face of, and to prevent, prepare for, mitigate the impact of, respond to, and recover from such emergencies. Good intentions for the professional development of teachers have fallen short in practice. SEAMEO QITEP in Science (SEAQIS), as a regional Centre in Southeast Asia that focuses on developing the quality of science teachers, has brought environment and climate change issues through its training courses as well as Environmental Education for Sustainable Development (EESD) since its establishment in 2009. EESD provides an umbrella for many forms of education, and climate education fosters an understanding of the complexities and interconnection of the various challenges posed by climate change. The training is designed to provide participants with knowledge on climate sciences and skills in inquiry-based science education so it can be an important part of improving the quality of science teaching and learning in schools concerning the environment, ecosystem conservation, and their support for sustainable development.
Due to a pandemic situation, in 2021, the Training Course on EESD was held virtually using the Zoom Cloud Meeting platform on 8-15 November 2021. This training was attended by 30 participants consisting of 20 science teachers from Indonesia and five science teachers from Lao PDR and The Philippines.
In this training, several materials related to environmental education, especially in the topics under climate change issues were presented. They were Sustainable Development: Historical Perspective and State of the Art presented by Prof Oekan S. Abdoellah (Centre for Environment & Sustainability Science-CESS, Universitas Padjajaran); Green House Effect, Climate System, and Climate Change presented by Dr Perdinan (SEAMEO BIOTROP); Teaching on Climate Change and Biodiversity in Classroom presented by Indra Fardhani, Ph.D. (Universitas Negeri Malang); Climate Change and Biodiversity presented by Prof Parikesit (Centre for Environment & Sustainability Science-CESS, Universitas Padjajaran); Promoting Strategies for Climate Change Education presented by Verena Puspawardani (Coaction Indonesia) and some other related activities led by facilitators from SEAQIS.
Not only focusing on knowledge sharing from the expert, but the four hands-on sessions were also carried out on the topic of climate change, with a special focus on the link between climate change and ocean, climate change and agriculture, and climate change and biodiversity. This training also shared the inspirational story from Ms Desi Merisa Susanti from SDN Sukarasa where she shared her best practice about environmental activities in her Adiwiyata Winner’s school.
Overall, the training went well. Each participant committed to apply and disseminate the knowledge they got from this training to their peers and colleagues back in their hometown.