Under the patronage of The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
All Eyes on Environmental Education
Rio De Janeiro - Brazil: 14 June, 2012 – The sun was shining on the second day of the Rio+20 Athlete's Park exhibition when Eye on Earth showcased the Eye on Environmental Education Special Initiative at the UNEP Pavilion. The speakers for this event come from far and wide to reinforce the importance of education on the future of our environment.
Vicky Colbert, founder and director of Fundación Escuela Nueva and co-author of the Escuela Nueva educational model, spoke about children and youth being key to our future. However "education is not changing as fast as society" and her organisation looks at tackling the issues systematically across the globe. Professor Joseph Alcamo, Chief Scientist, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), spoke passionately about the urgency of Africa to have better educational foundations for the future of sustainability in the region. He emphasised in order to "take up knowledge you need to implement the knowledge" and this is the continent's biggest challenge. The UNEP project aims to build sustainable science dedicated institutes, both new and existing to encourage home-grown experts. Locally, Dr Ashraf, Senior Specialist Research Division from Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) spoke about how technology will allow the environmental issues to be integrated into Abu Dhabi's education curriculum. Demonstrating action Dr Ashraf showcased to the Rio +20 audience the recently launched the Environmental Atlas of Abu Dhabi Emirate - Interactive Atlas, an online environmental resource – a key resource supporting environmental education in the curriculum.
Simran Vedvyas, the Eye on Earth Youth Ambassador spoke of the need for change, but to do this "youth needs to be the change." Only 13 years old, Simran is very accustomed to the limelight, having presented at the Rio+20 Youth Blast on Monday 12th June. Simran departs today for her next role as torch-bearer representing the United Arab Emirates at the London Olympic Games Torch Relay.
Polar explorer and environmental leader Rob Swan OBE closed the mornings event with a rousing presentation on his missions of engaging and inspiring young people to use renewable energy on our "good ol' planet earth". It is his 50 year mission, set for him by the late Philippe Cousteau, to ensure that the Antarctica continues to be protected beyond the 2041 expiration of the Kyoto Treaty protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic. Swan recently returned from the expedition titled 2041 International Antarctica Expedition to the North Pole beginning in February this year. Five Emirate women joined the Swan along with 65 fellow explorers. The five UAE women first travelled to Ushuaia in Terra Del Fuego, southern Argentina, where they were trained for their expedition.
The Special Initiatives side events continue on the Eye on Earth Stage @ UNEP Pavilion each day until the 22nd June.