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Lifelong learning for
a fairer Australia

Lifelong learning for
a fairer Australia

Climate Justice and Adult Learning and Education

Shirley Walters – Professor Emerita of Adult and Continuing Education and founding Director of Division for Lifelong Learning at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa and PIMA President.

 

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Angela Davis

How do we, adult educators, scholars, activists, play, engage, inhabit ‘climate justice’ – its theory and practice? What roles can we play to mitigate and adapt to the dramatic, anticipated environmental changes? It’s a vast, complex landscape that requires collective insights, imagination, and action. Solving the climate crisis affects all aspects of society. Therefore, our own education as educators, scholars and activists is essential.

Many regions of the world are already in a climate emergency. Droughts, floods, heatwaves, fires, increasing desertification, food insecurity have already arrived and environmental conditions are only going to get worse. The global meeting on climate change, COP26 begins in Glasgow on 31 October 2021. It is being billed as a ‘make or break’ meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations stating that humanity is on ‘red alert’. People who have contributed least to environmental degradation will suffer the most. This is a climate justice issue.

COVID-19 and the climate emergency are interconnected. We all have rich experience of the last 18 months that can serve us well, to respond to both future pandemics and the climate crises. COVID as a zoonotic disease illustrates the close relationship between the virus and accelerated climate change. As an environmental thinker and activist Vandana Shiva argues, the emergencies created by the COVID pandemic, planetary extinction, loss of species diversity, and global warming are inseparable.

To overcome COVID-19 and the climate emergency global cooperation and solidarity are needed. How well are we doing on that score? So far, not very well. At the time of writing 60% of people in high-income countries have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but around 2% have done so in low-income countries. The vested interests of the economic elites continue to dominate political decision-making.

As educators how do we respond? In addressing this question, the PIMA international network of adult educators, lifelong learning practitioners, scholars and activists, has just brought out a Special Edition of its Bulletin on Climate Justice and Adult Learning and Education (ALE). It has short informative articles on climate justice and lifelong learning, transformative resilience, ecofeminist popular education, creative teaching and learning approaches, and much more.

For more information contact Shirley Walters, PIMA President pimanetwork@gmail.com


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