Should Global Warming Be Inculcated In Our Education System?

Posted on December 29, 2009 in Learning+, unEarthed

Monadhika Sharma:

Global issues are not solved within the four walls of a scientist’s laboratory. They need to be brought to the knowledge of an average individual. And informing youth is the best way to begin.

Global warming, “is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation.” It is caused by “greenhouse gases” that include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and nitrous oxide. These gases have the property to ‘trap’ the heat coming from the sun thus increasing the average surface temperature of the earth. Global surface temperature increased by approximately 0.74 °C between the start and the end of the 20th century. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report indicates that the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C during the 21st century.

If the topic of global warming is included in the curriculum of higher education as a non evaluative subject, it will definitely be beneficial as we will be imparting knowledge about this phenomenon to the youth, which is responsible for all the future effects on the environment.

If a whole generation of engineers and scientists know about this impact of global warming on our ecosystem, the future technology will have the inventions that do not worsen the present condition or even contribute to solve it.

The main causes for the global warming are attributed to release of green house gases by human activities. When an entire generation will be wary of its ill effects, even the small steps taken to prevent the production of these greenhouse gases can make a huge difference. This is very crucial since the projections of climate change depend heavily upon future human activity.

It’s an interesting fact to know that buildings, both commercial and residential, represent a larger source of global warming pollution than cars and trucks. Building of these structures requires a lot of fuel to be burnt which emits a large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The future architects and engineers who are well informed about this menace to the environment may have the solution to reduce the emission of CO2.

The second major greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide is methane which is more than 20 times as effectual as CO2 at entrapping heat in the atmosphere. Methane is obtained from resources such as rice paddies, fossil fuel manufacture etc. Almost in all parts of the world, rice is grown on flooded fields. When fields are flooded, anaerobic situation build up and the organic matter in the soil decays, releasing methane to the atmosphere. Also nitrous oxide is another green house gas. The main sources of nitrous oxide include nylon and nitric acid production, cars with catalytic converters, the use of fertilizers in agriculture and the burning of organic matter. The solutions of these problems lie with the young minds going to schools and colleges today.

‘Ignorance is bliss’ is now an obsolete saying; only knowledge and complete understanding of the subject can act as the precipitate to obtaining the answer. Global warming should be added as a non-evaluative but compulsory subject in at least the professional courses to begin with. Who knows, the seed of ultimate breakthrough to solve the global warming issue might be planted in a young brain today…Why deprive humanity of this chance?

image: http://www.edu-design-principles.org/dp/viewFeatureDetail.php?feKey=324
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