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Carbon Academy – How Indonesian Climate Activists Plan to Go Global with Green Education

Mohammad Naufal is on a mission to make education on tackling climate change available to everyone, everywhere, all at once.

The founder and CEO of Indonesian start-up Carbon Addons – a plug-in extension for e-commerce, transport and accommodation businesses that allows online shoppers to offset the carbon footprint of purchases through micro-donations used to fund projects, such as tree planting and forest conservation – Mohammad is now piloting the Carbon Academy – as a step toward establishing a widespread open learning platform for climate and sustainability for youth and young professionals.

“The climate crisis is set to transform both where youth and future generations could live, and what jobs they will do to survive as adults in the future,” Mohammad says.

“The works and climate actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years. Yet, despite being one of the most important issues for young people, it appears only minimally in many school science standards worldwide, and access to high-quality climate education has been a privilege of the few.”

At the same time – according to Pearson Global Learner Survey 2021 – more than three-quarters of people worldwide are actively seeking to education themselves about climate change.

“People do not feel prepared for a future of work built on green jobs,” he adds. “Most believe career opportunities in green jobs will increase over the next 10 years. But there is a major challenge where people say they do not believe they are currently qualified to work in a role of this nature thus equipping students and youths with skills for green jobs is undeniably needed.”

This is where the Carbon Academy will step in, Mohammad says. Designed as an open-access online course, the potential of the project has been recognised through its inclusion as one of the ten finalists in the European Training Foundation Green Skills Awards 2023.

During a pilot stage, 50 young people came up with 17 sustainable business ideas, and 18 green career plans, including Solarice, a solar-powered ice maker initiative implemented in fishing village in East Nusa Tenggara. Access to ice is essential to reduce waste from catches in rural fishing economies, where rotted fish are both an economic and ecological cost. Lack of access to electricity often means little can be done to prevent food waste. Solar-powered machines address that.

In another example, Santini, an accounting graduate who wants to work in the green economy, used SWOT analysis to identify her green learning gaps. She is now a project leader in a local public-private partnership to support sustainable local businesses, build capacity and share learning.

The success of the Carbon Academy can also be measured by numbers:

  • 305 applicants from 29 provinces in Indonesia and five different countries

  • A social media campaign that reached 6,261 people and 247 shares

  • Collaborating with the UNDP and Movers Asia Pacific as learning partners

By building on the foundations already created, Carbon Academy aims to become a key resource for green skills development internationally.

“By opening this learning platform, we believe we can empower millions of learners to unlock their potential and become climate changemakers by 2030,” Mohammad stresses.

“We are now seeking to expand our Carbon Academy impact and sustainability by becoming the next edX focusing on climate and sustainability issues. We’d like to create a ‘massive open online courses’ platform so that lifelong learners, universities, corporations, NGOs, and even entire nations could easily obtain accessible high-quality climate education for free.”

From small acorns, mighty oaks can grow – even during the pilot stage of the Climate Academy, the principles of Carbon Addons were used to capture 1.25 tonnes of carbon emissions generated during the workshop and monitoring sessions, which was neutralised by planting mangroves – with the usual two-year monitoring associated with the Carbon Addons app.

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