At SchoolSphero Team
Four people pick up trash in a field to create a cleaner environment around them.

The world faces many obstacles in its pursuit of a sustainable tomorrow. Climate change, hunger, poverty, and economic inequality are just a few of those challenges. The world can succeed in overcoming them, but there’s a long road ahead. We can pave that road with the help of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for future generations.

Obstacles to a Sustainable Tomorrow

Having brilliant minds and skilled experts at the helm of scientific research can drive growth and development in many industries. The global community must recognize the power of STEM to mold children into the future leaders the world needs. With STEM education, we can help to develop individuals who will be able to solve these global problems.

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity happens when a household cannot provide enough food for its members. This problem is alarmingly widespread in our society. In 2021, 33.8 million people lived in food-insecure households across the United States. This reported food insecurity affected 5 million children.

A household is considered food insecure if it obtains just enough food to meet the needs of all its members. Poorer countries are more vulnerable to this phenomenon — often resulting in dire consequences — but it can and is happening worldwide.

Climate Change

According to NASA, July 2023 was the Earth’s hottest month to date. It was 0.43° Fahrenheit warmer than any other July between 1951 and 1980. This is a clear sign of global warming and will only worsen if the world fails to act in time.

A rising global temperature is just one of the many adverse effects of climate change. Other equally disturbing events are threatening to make the world uninhabitable if humans fail to find solutions that work.

Environmental Pollution

Degrading air quality is the direct result of worsening air pollution. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of people breathe polluted air, and the effects can be fatal. Fossil fuel air pollution contributes to 1 in 5 deaths worldwide.

The heavy death toll will continue to rise unless people find ways to address the problem. Oil and gas industries must recognize their contribution to this world issue. A sustainable future should be free from heavily polluted air.

STEM Education as a Global Solution

It will take a global effort to effect change to the world’s most serious problems. That effort can start with providing kids with proper STEM education. Educators can impart essential knowledge to their students that will have lasting effects on the world.

Educators as STEM Heroes

Many kids find it difficult to see themselves working in STEM-related fields. Educators can step up and encourage kids to follow their dreams if they want to pursue a career in STEM. The world needs scientists, tech professionals, engineers, and mathematicians now more than ever.

Children have incredible potential once they understand what they can become. STEM courses can show them how to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and decision makers. Someone must guide them to take the first step, welcome challenges and pursue learning that will lead to a life of innovation.

STEM Programs for Sustainability

STEM education teaches students how to apply their learnings in real life. One of the strongest qualities of STEM learning is its hands-on approach. Children are exposed to how systems work using real-world contexts.

Lessons in robotics are fun and engaging. At the same time, they’re also beneficial as the world sees more advancements in robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Kids who see the value of this technology at an early age could be more likely to find it helpful in making the world more livable for all its inhabitants. Its applications cover various industries like agriculture, manufacturing and health care. Sowing the seeds of curiosity and growth in younger generations is key to making all of this possible.

Key Tech Labs is preparing Seattle’s children for a sustainable future through robotics and other STEM lessons at an early age. Inspired by the encouragement they received from their family, twin brothers Adam and Andrew Powers are sharing their love for learning and knowledge with local children from diverse backgrounds.

Using robotics as a starting point, Key Tech Labs teaches kids the value of creating a sustainable environment through planting produce, generating electricity using solar panels and using an air-to-water generator to create clean drinking water. These fundamental lessons aim to equip students with an appreciation for STEM on a deeper level. The Powers and their team understand the value of preparing a workforce with the right mindset and skills to face the challenges of a sustainable world.

Developing Skills and Character for the Future

STEM education excels in character building and skill development. Today’s children face a heavy responsibility — a future with modern technological, ecological, and economic challenges.

It’s up to society to promote the required mindset to face these challenges head-on. As students go into STEM education, they learn key character traits and 21st Century Skills that include:

  • Resiliency
  • Leadership
  • Collaborative thinking
  • Creativity
  • Compassion

These are just some of the essential skills kids need to understand the importance of banding together to solve tomorrow’s problems. To complement these characteristics, STEM also equips kids with the skills to fill vital societal and industry roles, such as:

  • Coding
  • Programming
  • Engineering
  • Accounting
  • Research

As students become aware of their potential, they develop skills to succeed in their careers. Learning is a never-ending process. STEM-educated children will always find a need to continue honing their abilities, and contribute to scientific breakthroughs and innovations.

Creating STEM Foundations Now Secures a Sustainable Tomorrow

Today’s kids are more aware than kids from decades ago. At a young age, they know many things will have to change before the global situation improves.

The world must act now to prepare future thinkers, scientists, engineers, and world leaders. Building a sustainable tomorrow will be beyond challenging. There is no doubt about that, but having STEM-educated heroes at the forefront of innovation will give the world a fighting chance.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

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