Most strategies to combat and reverse climate change are obvious and constantly repeated. Constant reminders to “reduce, reuse, recycle, renewable energy, electric cars,” are just some examples. But one very important strategy is largely unknown, overlooked or pushed aside: Put girls in school in order to support and protect their education.
A new study by Christina Kwauk and Amanda Braga from the Brookings Institute is titled “Three platforms for girls’ education in climate strategies.” The research underlines an important, sad reality: the most vulnerable populations are the most severely impacted by global warming. Data recorded from 1850-2011 said developing countries were only responsible for 21% of carbon emissions, but in 2015 these countries paid 78% of the social cost of climate change— due to weaker infrastructure, exposure to natural disasters and less reserve capital.
According to the research, “For every additional year of schooling a girl receives on average, her country’s resilience to climate disasters can be expected to improve by 3.2 points.” The research refers to critical points such as fertility, population growth, reproductive rights and leadership training.
Schooling for girls in developing nations is often de-prioritized in government, social and family realms. Girls are more likely than boys to be kept out of school to help work and earn money, r do domestic chores such as caring for younger siblings. They are also more likely to drop out of school early due to marriage or pregnancy.
According to the Brookings Institution blog post: “Studies show that female leaders are incredibly effective in conservation and protection efforts, and are more likely to pursue more sustainable futures for their communities.”
Embracing female leadership, promoting equal rights and giving girls the skills to be independent are critical factors in mitigating climate change.
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