Science Communication for Climate Change Disaster Risk Management and Environmental Education in Africa

Science Communication for Climate Change Disaster Risk Management and Environmental Education in Africa

Innocent Chirisa (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe & University of the Free State, South Africa) and Abraham Rajab Matamanda (University of the Free State, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7727-0.ch009

Abstract

This chapter describes and explains the role of science communication to advance environmental education on climate change with a special reference on Africa being one of the regions suffering from the effects of climate-induced disasters and risks in the increased anthropogenic effects of modern development. It is argued that scientists are poor communicators on what they do, and hence, are often misunderstood by the media and society. This then calls for attention to be paid with regards to science communication, which has to be packaged in ways that make it easier for the generality of citizens to interpret and understand. Efforts in this regard are made possible through environmental education, which has proved to be useful in the discourse of disaster risk management in different parts of the world. The buttressing methodological philosophy to this chapter is applied systems approach. Critical areas of reference are health and diseases, resilient communities, coastal adaptation, and farming practices and technologies.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction And Background

There exists a very strong connection between science communication and environmental education. In southeast Mexico, for example, a multifaceted, comprehensive teacher-training project was implemented and code-named Education for Sustainable Development. The project included training workshops, seminars, congresses, forums and distance education. New teaching units were added to textbooks, including topics on biodiversity, pollution, and deforestation. Strategies to raise awareness include media campaigns, messaging through youth radio programs, theatre and music, conferences, environment day celebrations, and other events and programs within and outside of school can complement formal curricula and significantly strengthen learning (Iltus, 2013). In all these cases, there is an aspect of disseminating scientific knowledge through other means, and at the same time raising awareness on environmental issues. Overall, in both formal and informal arrangements of education, the communication on the definition and science, characterization, policy, and advocacy on climate change, a lacuna exists on how to do this in a defined and compelling manner. As would be expected by any fuzzy yet real problem, there are many misconceptions, myths and isolated and piecemeal approaches to the whole debate on climate change. The major cause of disagreement oscillates around priority and action. The major questions become what needs to be done now, by whom and for whom? This is a policy concern and governments and key actors are rather concerned with immediate pressing issues like poverty, unemployment and managing politics around resources. To make matters worse, the climate science and environmental scientists seem to be talking only to themselves with their decorated models and deep-thought-out studies. The overall impression globally and regionally is the scientists are poor communicators on what they do hence are often misunderstood by the media and society over the work they spend their life and effort doing. In addition, they seem not to be getting their message to the policymakers and the communities themselves, those being the tipping centers that decide what actions have to be made practically and as implementing agents. It behooves, therefore, the authors of this chapter to explain how Africa can pass on the important message of innovative climate change education that will result in an improvement of how communities have to adapt and cope with the crisis across sectors - agriculture, water and sanitation, housing, to name these few. The present chapter makes a case for Africa in light with science communication, environmental education, and dissemination of climate change information. This is more or less a broad analysis of the issue of science communication as a mechanism of advancing environmental education on climate change. The dimensions are taken in this analysis range from the focus on public awareness, public understanding, climate change literacy, media coverage and how this relates to climate change education in the African context.

The aim of this chapter to describe and explain the role of science communication as a method to advance environmental education on climate change with a special reference on Africa being one of the regions suffering from the effects of climate-induced disasters and risks in the increased anthropogenic effects of modern development. We argue for a strong possibility of science communication as a tool for advancing environmental education on climate change, focusing on Africa. Africa has been witnessing serious climate-induced disasters. The issue under discussion is not to debate on whether Africa is able to cope with climate change or not. Rather, the debate centers on the mechanisms that can be used to make people understand what climate change is and how they can mitigate its negative impacts. Moreover, we also explore the possibilities of harnessing environmental education as a tool for the effective communication of this science information and data. Banda (2013) brings in the aspect of media coverage as one of the most important mechanisms for spreading climate change related information. Everyone needs to know about climate change.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset