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Climate change and me

- Wits University

First-year student at Wits says climate change and its impact on our world are more than just distant concepts—they're personal.

Aatikah Moola

Aatikah Moola, a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering is not just navigating her way through the corridors of academia; she's diving headfirst into the urgent discourse around climate change. This opportunity to engage with a real-life problem has come through the ’Climate Change and Me’ course, a compulsory component of the first-year programme aimed at developing environmentally conscious students.

 "For me, climate change isn't just an abstract concept—it's personal. The Climate Change and Me course has made me become more conscious about what I do, I have become more aware of whether I'm addressing climate change or I'm contributing to it. The course has opened my eyes to the interconnectedness of environmental, social, and economic systems, and it's given me a sense of responsibility to act," shares Moola.  

The UN stresses that the interconnected crises facing the world, and that climate change is linked to 80% of the 2030 Agenda targets, a year by which significant advancements must be made in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Addressing climate change which falls under goal 13 of the SDGS is critical to the universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Launched in 2022, Wits was the first institution to lead with a university-wide course aimed at responding to this global challenge. The course is the largest course by student numbers.  

Course coordinator Ariel Prinsloo, highlights the importance of approaching climate change as a complex, interdisciplinary challenge.

"The impacts of climate change also impact people differently with some more vulnerable than others, depending on gender, class etc. Given the scale and complexity of this crisis, the solutions and approaches we develop cannot be linear and must come from different perspectives and knowledge expertise incorporating the many socio-economic challenges we currently face in South Africa and the world."

The course is catalyst for community building and shared intellectual experience says Moola.

"There's something powerful about coming together with my peers to tackle such a pressing issue.It fosters a sense of belonging and solidarity that extends beyond the confines of the classroom."

Moola says she looks to the future with a renewed sense of purpose and determination. “Climate change may be daunting, but it’s also an opportunity for positive change,” she asserts.

Empowered with the knowledge and skills from this course, Moola says she is ready to be part of the solution.