‘If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.’ This ancient Chinese proverb remains relevant to humankind’s future, even as we struggle against an existential environmental threat. The challenge underscores the prism that the journey toward sustainability requires more than technological advancements and financial investments; it demands an informed and engaged populace.

The youth are at the forefront of this crucial task, their enthusiasm and inherent curiosity about the world making them pivotal contributors to building a sustainable future. However, a glaring deficit in environmental literacy poses a significant challenge requiring a collective and strategic response.

As governments and the private sector make substantial financial investments into transition toward a net-zero emissions future, it is imperative to recognize that their success relies on a robust human capital foundation. Merely channeling billions into technological advancements and infrastructural changes is insufficient if there is a lack of corresponding investment in nurturing the minds and capabilities of the next generation.

The call to nurture human capital is not merely a plea but a pragmatic recognition of the return on investment (RoI) that sustainable education yields. When educational strategies align with economic sustainability, the result is a pipeline of skilled individuals ready to contribute toward implementing sustainable solutions. This alignment is essential for the success of climate initiatives and for the long-term benefit of society.

Education is an investment in the world’s future leaders. By instilling environmental literacy in the younger generation, we shape the minds that will lead nations, raise families, and drive communities. The RoI in their education ensures a generation committed to upholding and advancing the sustainable agenda.

In educating the youth about environmental issues, we are sowing the seeds for a future where climate change mitigation is not just a policy but a way of life. The knowledge and awareness imparted today will empower these young minds to become advocates and contributors in the fight against climate change.

Read the full article about environmental literacy by Malakeh El Haj at Alliance Magazine.