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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Education is the Answer

We're reaching a critical time in the field of sustainable development. At the end of October, the global population hit 7 billion. That number may not mean much on its own, but the rapid pace of global growth is what makes it truly concerning.
Since I was born, the world's population has more than doubled, and we now find ourselves with the largest youth population in history. More people are using more resources -- but those resources are fast depleting. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations is predicting that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity. We encounter the same problems when we look at available food, minerals and other natural resources.
Yet this is not necessarily as ominous as it sounds. The Earth could actually support billions more people, assuming those people were making sound choices around resource production and consumption. This brings us to the heart of the issue: how do we convince individuals, organizations and governments to make the right choices, thus ensuring a sustainable future for us all?
Since the beginning of my career, I have always believed that the answer to that question is remarkably simple. In order to ensure a sustainable future, people of all ages and all walks of life need to start thinking and acting more responsibly towards our environment. But it is impossible to ask this of anyone without first making sure that people understand a right choice from a wrong choice and that they have the information and skills needed to follow through on whatever choice they make.
Education is the answer. It is transformative. Providing the right information and education can change people's values and behaviours, encouraging them to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. It can also break the cycle of poverty, malnutrition and disease that affects so many worldwide.



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