Civil society

6 ways to build biodiversity preservation into education

International Biodiversity Day 2024

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The ripple effect of biodiversity loss affects everything from the future of the students in your classroom to your research objectives.

The world over, biodiversity is under threat from climate change, pollution, invasive species, over-exploitation, and growing cities and populations, among other factors. 

But as someone entrusted with expanding minds and advancing knowledge, you have a critical role to play in addressing this crisis. 

What you teach the next generation will shape our collective ability to solve the environmental and social challenges ahead. And, by integrating biodiversity into curricula at all levels, nurturing nature-focused research, and helping students take informed action, you can plant the seeds for transformative change.

That’s why, on this International Biodiversity Day, we propose six ideas for how educators can build biodiversity preservation into your curriculum and research efforts.  
Let’s take a look. 

Want more resources to combat climate change issues?
Check out the Alter website

World Biodiversity Day 2024: This year’s theme

The International Day for Biodiversity is a UN-approved day that’s celebrated all over the world on May 22nd. The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and the need to protect it. 
World Biodiversity Day, as it’s also known, is part of UN efforts to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and the Biodiversity Plan

The theme of the International Day for Biodiversity 2024 is “Be part of the plan,” meaning the Biodiversity Plan. It’s a call to action for everyone from governments to local communities to businesses and individuals to get involved in protecting biodiversity and find ways to collaborate with each other.

As the UN Environment Program says:

Everyone has a role to play and can be part of the plan.

6 ways to teach and advance biodiversity preservation

Saving biodiversity starts with education, so here’s what you can do for biodiversity preservation in the classroom, lab, and beyond.

1. Develop courses and materials around biodiversity

Integrate biodiversity education into schools and higher education. For example, by providing training in biodiversity management and conservation to turn classrooms into cradles of conservation awareness and action.

Other things you could do include developing a certificate in biodiversity conservation sciences and training more teachers in biodiversity education best practices. Or mentor undergraduate and graduate research tackling compelling biodiversity questions with real-world impact.

Start nurturing the next generation of interdisciplinary problem-solvers now so they’re ready to address this complex, urgent crisis.

2. Conduct research and collaborate on conservation efforts and policy development

Your efforts in the lab and field can advance biodiversity knowledge and shape conservation policies and practices. For example, you collaborate on citizen science projects like I-CHANGE to produce valuable data and contribute policy briefs to guide decision-makers. 

Remember, biodiversity also begins at home, so look at adopting sustainability goals like protecting wildlife corridors on campus, too.

3. Provide research opportunities for students and professionals to work on biodiversity-related projects

Rich, hands-on research opportunities empower students and professionals to directly contribute to biodiversity conservation, fostering a new generation of environmental stewards. 

For example, offer competitive summer internships and multi-year fellowship programs. Or partner students with local conservation groups and provide funding so all interested learners can participate regardless of financial background.

4. Collaborate and engage with businesses, policy makers, and civil society 

This helps drive behavioural change by raising awareness of biodiversity and co-producing and safeguarding related knowledge. 

Host public lectures and workshops to share your expertise. Partner with NGOs on community science and outreach initiatives to spread biodiversity literacy. Engage industry in sustainability efforts to inspire systemic change. You can also collaborate with international organizations to share knowledge and best practices in biodiversity conservation. 

Bridging the gap between theory and practice helps co-create solutions that protect our natural world.

5. Fund and support international teaching missions

Whether virtual or in-person, exchanges expose learners to diverse issues, solutions, and cultures. This fosters a sense of ownership of the natural world and the drive to protect it. 

Consider offering micro-credentials for academics, work-based professionals, and potential trainers to teach specialty topics abroad. This helps disseminate vital biodiversity knowledge and skills across borders, strengthening global conservation efforts.

6. Make it easier for women, girls, and minority groups to access education

When you ensure everyone has an equal chance to learn and be heard, you empower them to make a difference. With this in mind, you should provide need-based scholarships and recruit a diverse faculty that represents all demographics. The more people see themselves represented in your institution, the more they’ll be able to see themselves learning or forging a career there.

International Biodiversity Day: Biodiversity preservation starts in the classroom

We all have a role to play in biodiversity preservation but as teachers, researchers, and stewards of knowledge, you have a unique opportunity to drive change by empowering new generations to safeguard biodiversity.

Our students and peers look to us not just for knowledge, but leadership on the issues shaping our future. So, on this International Biodiversity Day and beyond, follow our tips for how to integrate biodiversity preservation into your curriculum, research, and everyday practice. 

Get involved, lead the change, and become an example to follow by making every day a day for biodiversity.

Want more resources to combat climate change issues?
Check out the Alter website

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Author: Kate Williams

Author: Kate Williams

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I am a marketer and journalist specialised in sustainability, climate change, and new technologies, among other topics.

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