Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) response to these challenges involving global citizenship, human rights and sustainable development in the form of civic learning that requires active participation in worldwide issues of social, political and economic or environmental nature.
The one environmental issue that I choose to emphasize is about air pollution. Pollution is everywhere in every nook in the world. Any unwanted change in water, air, land, etc can be termed as pollution. Some air pollution comes from natural sources such as volcanic eruptions, wildfires, ozone etc but most air pollution's results from human activities. Human activities may bring along many effects, one aspect of it may bring prosperity and development while the other side of the coin may be a detrimental effect. Air pollution is defined as any undesirable changes in the physical, chemical and biological characteristic of the air particle that can cause devastating effects on humans. Some of the air pollutants such as dust particles, smoke, soot, aerosols etc and gaseous pollutants such as nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide etc are harmful to humans.
Air pollution is a big crisis that is affecting certain countries on a big scale such as Spain, India, China etc with high Air Quality Index (AQI). In addition, I get to broaden my knowledge about air pollution with loads of information as it is a common pollution that occurs quite regular on certain part of the world particularly in India and China as these countries have vast number of residents hence increasing their human activities and AQI.
Statistically, an estimated of four million premature deaths globally are related to air pollution that are mainly comprised from heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory infection in children. Ranging from children to adults, both short- and long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to respiratory infections, reduced lung function and aggravated asthma whereas maternal exposure to air pollution can lead to adverse birth outcomes such as small gestational age births, pre-term birth and low birth weight.
Global air pollution accounts for:
- 43% disease and deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- 29% disease and deaths from lung cancer
- 25% disease and deaths from ischaemic heart disease
- 24% deaths from strokes
- 17% disease and deaths from acute lower respiratory infection
Learning Domain's of Gced
There are three main elements in the learning domains of GCED. These three elements can contribute to many issues involving local and global issues in social, political and economic or environmental issues. These are how the learning domains or the three key conceptual dimensions of GCED can bring benefit to the society towards resolving environmental issues:
- Cognitive – the knowledge and thinking skills which are essential for having a better understanding of the ever-evolving world. This element introduces the basis for any implementation of GCED into practice.
One of the factors resulting in an environmental issue is the ignorance of human being and the lack of knowledge of such issues. People tend to forget that there is a reaction to every action made by living or non-living things. Therefore, this element enables people to acquire more knowledge and the thinking skills or critical mindset required in resolving environmental issue such as what’s causing environmental issue, who’s affected by this issue, how to resolve this issue etc.
- Socio-emotional - the attitudes, values and social skills that enable learners to physically, psychosocially and affectively to live together with others in a peaceful manner.
This element gives us a grounding in understanding the sense of responsibility towards one another and acting upon it. This element needs to be instilled in everyone to produce a human being who respect each other in protecting our environmental rights such as organising a campaign related to environmental issue. A strong bond and connection can be forged in nurturing a better future and a better place to live in.
- Behavioural - the means of acting, conducting and engagement of the learning domains of GCED in a more effectively and responsibly on local and global issues for a more peaceful and sustainable world
In order to achieve a safe and sustainable environment it is essential to act according the knowledge and theory acquired as knowledge that is acquired but not put to action can be ascribed as fruitless tree.
Way's to Reduce Air Pollution
One way to reduce air pollution is to encourage the use of bicycle. China was once considered to be the "Kingdom of the Bicycle,” with bicycles dominating city streets across the country, but over the past four decades, China’s dramatic economic prosperity and development has seen many people move to motor vehicles as their primary means of transport, contributing to a marked deterioration in air quality.
In Hangzhou, a city in eastern China that was once described by the Italian explorer Marco Polo as “the finest and most splendid city in the world,” air pollution has had a devastating effect. According to data backed by the World Health Organization (WHO), Hangzhou’s air pollution is well over WHO’s safe level.
However, in a bid to improve public health and the environment, the Hangzhou authorities have put a fresh emphasis on cycling which allied with digital technology in helping to cut pollution. Over the past decade, the local government has been improving bike-friendly infrastructure, such as lanes and traffic signals created solely for cyclists, and has provided almost eighty-six thousand public bicycles. A smart card allows users to easily access all forms of public transport, from bicycles to boats to buses.
“All together there have been seven hundred sixty million rides, that’s almost half the population of China,” says Tao Xuejun, general manager of the Hangzhou Public Bicycle Service. “So far, more than four hundred cities in China have adopted our project. Our dream is to promote our model across China and all over the world.”
As a result of these initiatives, according to Tao, cycling has become a popular choice for both local citizens and tourists, and the efforts of the Government-run company have been rewarded with international recognition, including the International Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel in the year two thousand seventeen.
Another way of resolving environmental issue is by using mobile app to plant millions of trees. Hangzhou is home to an innovative way to encourage more sustainable lifestyles, with an app that is helping to stop desertification, cut air pollution and plant millions of new trees.
The “Ant Forest” mini-program, a Hangzhou-based project from giant Chinese payments and lifestyle app Alipay, incites users to make small, environmentally friendly decisions in their daily lives, such as cycling rather than driving to work, or recycling clothes. When users perform any carbon-reducing activities, they are rewarded with “green energy” points.
As they accumulate enough virtual points, a real tree is planted. According to Ant Financial, more than hundred million trees have been planted, thanks to the low-carbon actions of five hundred million individuals, roughly five percent of the world's population
Next, using cleaner cooking fuel can reduce indoor air pollution. Some States, such as Indonesia have begun to address the problem of indoor air pollution linked to cooking by helping millions of poor families switch to cleaner cooking technologies. In India, a Government-funded programme provides women with funds to buy natural gas stoves, the goal being to equip ninety-five percent of all target households by the year thousand twenty-two.
According to the Special Rapporteur, households using solid fuels for cooking and heating is also decreasing in Latin America, parts of Asia, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. In the US and China, strong laws and policies promoting cleaner air have improved air quality too. In California, children’s lung function has improved, the Special Rapporteur said, while in Shenzhen, the level of particulate matter in the air has been reduced by thirty-three percent in the past five years.
Among the Special Rapporteur’s key recommendations are a ban on new fossil energy power plants and the replacement of existing ones by the year two thousand thirty, along with support for the growth of distributed renewable energy generation systems
Environmental issue is caused by a selected few of natural source and mainly by human activities. It can impede a devastating effect on human everyday life caused by the air pollutants. By implementing the three key conceptual dimensions of GCED can help every citizen in contributing towards resolving environmental issue for a better future and a more sustainable environment.
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