Social media can be a potent weapon in the war against climate change. We are living in any age where hundreds of millions (if not several billion) people globally are using social media on a day to day basis. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Whatsapp or the Chinese Weibo, social media platforms attract numerous users on a day to day basis. That is a huge audience that we can tap into, to recruit more soldiers in the war against climate change.
Some of the people who use social media are workers/staff who log into their social media accounts in between tasks or during their break times. You could, for instance, be looking at someone who works at CVS Health. So you find that upon getting to the office at 9 Am, he focuses on work tasks, right up to 11 Am. Then in between 11 Am and 11.30 Am, he takes a brief break, in the course of which he signs into his social media accounts. He therefore ends up spending most of his free time on social media. And that turns out to be the routine for many other workers.
In practical terms, while using social media to combat climate change, we will need to:
- Identify the specific social media platforms we will be using in the exercise: there are, for instance, some messages that are best passed through Twitter. There are others that would be most appropriately passed through Facebook or Whatsapp posts. So you just identify the best social media platform for the sort of message you are seeking to pass.
- Craft the messages we are to use in combating climate change: the messages need to be simple, with strong calls to action incorporated.
- Post the messages onto the social media platforms: here, the most important thing is to identify the strategies we are to use, to ensure that the message actually reaches the targeted people through the social media platforms.
One way to increase climate change awareness is by incorporating lessons about climate change into the school curriculum. This way, kids will be taught about climate change from an early age. They will therefore grow up with climate change awareness as part of their innate knowledge. And as such, they will be more inclined to make the changes that are necessary to mitigate climate change effects, without being coerced. In the process of incorporating lessons about climate change into the school curriculum, we will need to:
- Make the relevant pedagogical decisions: these include the decision as to what subjects the climate change lessons are to be incorporated into. Also critical is the decision as to what grade the kids are to be introduced to climate change in, and how they are to progress from there. The objective is to have age-appropriate lessons. So decisions have to be made, as to what the appropriate climate change lessons for, say, third graders would be. And what the appropriate climate change lessons for tenth graders would be… and so on.
- Simplify climate change concepts: the lessons should be given in a way that the kids can relate to, given their ages and ability to comprehend things.
- Educate the teachers on climate: the objective here is to empower the teachers, so as to ensure that they are well placed to be truly effective at the role of teaching kids about climate change.
- Carry out a pilot study: pilot studies are always critical in all undertakings. It is only through pilot studies that concepts can be tested out, and potential challenges identified. Even Lowe’s (the retail chain), probably had to undertake a pilot study, before launching the Lowes Kronos employee portal. In a similar manner, before rolling out the lessons about climate change in the nationwide school curriculum, it is important to first undertake a pilot study.
- Roll out the climate change lessons fully: if the pilot studies are successful, you can now proceed to roll out the climate change lessons, that will have been incorporated into the (nationwide) school curriculum.