Article Title

Shifting Mindsets to Achieve a Sustainable Future

The awareness of climate change and environmental impacts has been rising among the modern generations. Many youths worldwide, as a result, are actively participating in tackling those problems. To equip young people with a better knowledge of natural and human influences on climate and atmospheric composition, Parami offered the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change during the first modular period of the Fall semester. The course touched on different topics such as atmospheric radiation, greenhouse gas, climate change, and how sustainable energy can address our energy in the future. 

The course was taught by Dr. Win Maw Hlaing Oo, Faculty of Science at Parami Institute of Continuing Education at Parami University. "I try to give students a basic understanding of laws of nature in order to make wise decisions. I teach them how to choose rather than what to choose."

The course attracted not only passionate young environmentalists from Myanmar but also the neighboring country, Cambodia. Socheata Seng and Sharon Aye completed their class in the second week of October, and they now left with a better understanding of the law of nature. They talked about how the knowledge has helped them better understand the root cause of climate change and encouraged them to increase their participation in addressing the problem. 

Socheata, a student from Cambodia, joined this course at Parami to enhance her knowledge about climate change. She believes that we all contribute to climate change no matter a businessperson, politician, or student. Therefore, people should build awareness of climate change by educating ourselves about what is going on and the relationship between humans and the earth.  

“I have experience in media and communication, but my motivation in life is to minimize my impact on climate change, like recycling and using used clothes. The course is perfect for me since I did not really know the technical terms and the aspects of climate change. Also, I would like to learn more about [in the field of communications in sustainability and took this course to test whether to pursue my higher education [in this field]. This course has verified this is what I want to study for my master’s degree.”⸺Socheata Seng

Meanwhile, Sharon Aye, a graduate student, joined this course to learn more about climate change's root cause and understand the tendency toward sustainable energy and renewable energy resources. 

“I am a business student. Previously, it seemed less interesting to me to learn more about sustainable energy issues. However, after seeing the advocacy and awareness of climate change activities and programs [online], I have become passionate about learning more about it. To preserve our planet, we have responsibilities for what we’ve taken advantage of, and this leads me to learn more scientific facts as it is also essential to practice the environmental protection rules for business. Also, I want to know how much we are individually contributing to climate change, and this is the reason why I joined this course.”⸺Sharon Aye

The students highlighted their favorite class sessions that reflected their interests and concerns on energy and climate change, including the critical and knowledgeable concepts they acquired from the sessions. 

Sharon added that "my favorite class session is fossil energy and its impact on the environment. From this session, I learned that we use fossil energy because of its economic and technical efficiency. Everything we use, everything we do, is really somehow related to burning fossil fuels, and this is one of the root causes of our climate change."

Socheata also stated that energy plays a crucial role in our daily lives and contributes to the economy. She found it fascinating to discuss solar and green energy in the class when linking the topic to the context of her country. 

"The course introduces science and a rich concept formula, but we had lots of time to discuss later. I really like this kind of class as it is easy to understand for me. I got to ask questions like, "why don't we have much green energy yet? In Cambodia, the electricity supply in the city is not quite green yet," she shared. 

Sharon Aye and Socheata Seng have different educational backgrounds, but they share a common interest. They both pointed out that knowing how much individuals contribute to climate change encourages people to pay more attention to the issue as they are aware of the problem's root cause. 

“We should change our mindset first. We cannot control many things due to political and economic issues. However, we should not procrastinate anymore to reduce carbon emissions, and everyone should be environmentally conscious, especially the policymakers. Still, we can control our behavior by focusing on reducing our carbon footprints. I am trying to be eco-friendly more and more. Minimalism is a great idea to reduce carbon emissions because staying away from unnecessary things will be actually helpful. I would encourage my friends and family to reduce carbon footprints as much as possible by using electricity efficiently, depending more on public transportation, not buying unnecessary products, and refusing to use single-use plastics as much as we can.” Sharon highlighted. 

Socheata added that people need to be aware of things happening in their surroundings to make informed decisions and see where they can adjust or whether they have the capacity to advocate and contribute to climate change action. For example, if it is not necessary, there is no need to buy a car, and people should try to reduce the consumption of fast fashion. 

Students highlighted that the students' diverse backgrounds in this Sustainable Energy and Climate Change course helped develop their critical thinking and communication skills by sharing their different perspectives on the subject in the classroom and in small group discussions. This is well-aligned with Parami's aim to teach students to develop an interdisciplinary mindset encompassed with the four C's of 21st-century skills, namely Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity. The Parami University is thankful to the Parami faculty and students for making this happen. 

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