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Students engaged in a clean-up initiative in Mersing, Johor.NSTP/File pic

The Sustainable Development Agenda (2030 Agenda) is one of the government’s blueprints to become a developed nation in economic development, community wellbeing and sustainable development.

To achieve sustainable development, youth play a vital role as agents of change in sustainability through education.Education is the key that improves health and societal wellbeing.

Many educational programmes to encourage sustainable values have not been successful.

According to SWCorp Malaysia,Malaysians generate about 38,000 tonnes of waste per day, equivalent to 13.5 million of tonnes of rubbish each year.

Environmental awareness programmes have been introduced to promote sustainable living among youth.

But Malaysians’ lackadaisical attitude and the tendency to believe that we are a country of abundant resources and it is the government’s job to protect the environment has led Malaysia to become ‘unsustainable’.

It should be the moral and social obligation of everyone to maintain and preserve the environment.Sadly, many don’t take it seriously.

The target should be youth, whose attitude towards the environment should be moulded while they are young to be carried into adulthood and through the generations.

The Education Sustainable Development (ESD) under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) integrates sustainable development issues into teaching and learning,climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, and poverty alleviation and sustainable consumption.

The teaching and learning will motivate and empower youth to change their behaviour.

ESD strives to engage people to negotiate a sustainable future, making decisions and acting on them.ESD skills include critical thinking that helps people to have the knowledge, skills and values to care for and solve sustainable development issues.

These initiatives should motivate and empower youth as they are future leaders who play a key role in sustainable development to increase economic growth and protect the environment.

Youth, as agents of change, illustrate the concept of investment in education which should be guided not only as a lifelong income generation but extended to incorporate the contributions to community development.

Sustainable development needs to be a common practice.

Youth’s mindset must change and they must be aware of government policies and mechanisms so that they can propose changes for a better Malaysia.

Strategies for sustainable development practices must include environmental education and ecological awareness.

Through education and knowledge, Malaysians can understand the relationship between consumption patterns and their impact on the environment.

Youth must shape the lifestyle for the next generation.They are exposed to formal education and live in an era where environmental issues are rampant.

They should have a higher level of sustainable environmental awareness. In other words, they need to have basic knowledge about environmental problems.

Societies also need to be knowledgeable. This will create better communities and youth will be motivated to lead a sustainable lifestyle, and become independent and model citizens.

As such, the integration of environmental education and ecological awareness is vital for sustainable development.

WAN KALTHOM YAHYA

Faculty of Business and Management,UiTM Melaka

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