Climate change agenda for truckers’ children

Jiangxi is home to more truck-drivers than any other province in China. With the support of our corporate partner, SCANIA, Caring for Life is helping children stay safe on the roads and feel valued for their part in action against climate change.

Over the summer of 2020, ACTAsia worked with a group of partners to plant the seeds of environmental awareness, interconnectedness, global citizenship and road safety in China.

SCANIA – Swedish manufacturer of worldwide commercial vehicles, and Cheng Shin Tire, the world’sbiggest manufacturer of bicycle tires, together with education committees, elementary school leaders and meteorological experts joined us to host a three and a half day summer camp in August, at Ziyang Sixth Elementary School in Wuyuan.

Most of Jiangxi’s 44 million inhabitants live rurally, with many employed as truck drivers. The school invited ACTAsia and partners SCANIA to return for a second time this year, after an enthusiastic response last summer.

64 students took part in a new enrichment lesson plan: Climate Change and Biodiversity that complements ACTAsia’s Caring for Life Curriculum (CFL) for schools.

Promoting SDGs through summer camps

The camp activities also addressed the issue of road safety in line with UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 3: to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2030. These SDGs help inform the development of ACTAsia’s CFL Education programmes. Road safety is a particular problem in Jiangxi, where new and faster roads are being rapidly built and upgraded, but limited provision is made for road safety.

Understanding climate change through fun

Climate change and biodiversity guided activities to show children how our actions affect our planet, and how we can build an environmentally friendly future together. Discussion aided understanding of the relevance of very big questions, helping students find alternatives to environmentally damaging behaviours in the context of their own lives.

The children were divided into seven groups, each a colour of the rainbow, and painted huge canvases around environmental themes, triggering critical thinking on the main themes of climate change and biodiversity. They took part with enthusiasm, and the results showed much improved awareness of the root causes of the environmental problems considered.

 

A message from student Sun Weiying:

“I am Sun Weiying and my dad is a truck driver. Because my dad is in the truck, it’s hot in summer and cold in winter. I hope when he’s in his truck it can be warm in winter and cool in summer. But how can we do this without air conditioning that adds to climate change? I have a suggestion: in summer, fans and electric fans can also cool you down; in winter you can exercise more to warm your body. In this way climate change won’t happen so fast and the temperature won’t be as hot as it is now.”

Critical thinking aids direct action

Critical thinking is the underlying method of Caring for Life Education for children, allowing students to explore ideas around protecting our planet for themselves. By understanding the consequences of exploiting nature, children are empowered and motivated to combat climate change and protect biodiversity for themselves.

Activities to encourage group collaboration and deeper thinking involved a game to help students describe their own emotions and also to empathise with the emotions of others. Observation of plant leaves from around the school grounds gave reason to look closely at nature, and to understand the role of plants in absorbing C02, producing oxygen and forming an eco-system crucial for our survival. The day ended with a comedy play to sum-up the day’s lessons.

At the end of the event, the children went home looking forward to practising all they had learnt, including an understanding of:

  • the needs of people and animals
  • the causes of climate change and increase in temperature
  • that all living things are closely related to each other
  • that green travel is vital for sustainable development
  • and how to be environmentally-friendly themselves.