Death of reading culture affects climate engagement

THE advent of new-media technologies has transformed technological and information growth at a very fast and breath-taking pace. While this is a milestone of a life-time, it has also affected the intrinsic motivation for young people to read. The yester-year culture of reading has been gradually affected by new-media technologies.

 Peter Makwanya

Before the rapid growth and transformation of the technological sphere, general reading, reading for pleasure and academic purposes were a top priority. This contributed immensely to scholarship and among others, four macro-skills like reading, writing, speaking and listening. But the success of all these other macro-skills are highly influenced by the ability to read.

Right now, we have a cross-cutting and interdisciplinary issue in the form of climate change literacy. People need to read information on climate change, understand it, interact and feel motivated.

It is also through reading strategies that the people will develop interests in the climate change community of practice.

Building people’s interests in climate change literacy through reading is fundamental in every respect and for livelihood purposes.

For people to be able to engage sustainably in climate discourses, they need to have a solid background of especially reading and then writing later on.

Reading influences and transforms the people’s world views, which are critical in their relationship and interrogations with nature. Meaning making is also influenced by the people’s world-views, shaped by social and cultural paradigms as well as transformed by reading strategies.

Even the concept of interactive climate change libraries and information centres will be difficult to establish, because people no longer treasure reading anymore although they want to be knowledgeable and as a result, the culture of reading has slowly, but surely disappeared.

Even if one would place a hundred dollar note inside a book, it will take ages for it to be discovered.

The fundamental aim for the environmentalist is to continue to nurture the culture of sustainable reading.

The children always learn by doing or seeing things getting done. If the adults cannot be seen engaging in reading activities, the children will not appreciate the significance of reading as well.

With the new media technologies that have invaded the schools, homes have taken over the place of reading books, magazines, pamphlets and briefs; the culture of reading has been overtaken.

What is important is not only the concept of reading for academic purposes, but reading for life-long learning and living skills.

Climate change literacy would requires people to use, understand and communicate environmental information through both reading and writing.

A situation where reading culture is highly valued just like what it used to be, should be the one to be cherished in every respect. This would play significant roles in the people’s everyday transactions and livelihoods.

Reading techniques thrive in a good environment, which would also influence the people to establish a symbiotic working relationship with nature.

Having had acquired the power of reading, people can document, plan, interpret weather phenomena and plant environmentally friendly crops. In this regard, they will end up telling their own sustainable stories or report sustainably.

It is also good in promoting a reading culture than a noise and talking society devoid of practical orientation and application.

Although it is necessary for people to improve their listening skills from stories told to them, it is also critical for them, in their own right, to be able to read their own stories.

Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his capacity and can be contacted on:


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