From a very young age, we are given the skills to adapt and change what we don’t like into what we would like to see. We are taught that our actions have consequences and that we have the potential to do great things. We are taught about history’s biggest mistakes so we may avoid them when making our own decisions. At the end of the day, what we are taught can be summed up into one phrase. “We must leave the world better than it was before.”
However, one of the biggest threats societies is facing is the climate crisis. Environmental education with no doubt is a part of schools’ curriculums. That is how students are taught about recycling, green energy, composting, zero waste and all fundamental basics that green leaders advocate for. However, what about middle school or high school students? A survey was sent out to youth ages 15-24 and statistics showed that 61% of students worried about climate change. “Since I was a kid, I was always interested in the environment,” said the Grade 12 student, who wants to study ecology after she graduates. “I needed to become more educated.”
The current environmental education curriculum only goes up until grade 8 and starts at grade 1. However, it is indeed the first year of high school students need to learn in further detail so they can work on their own project with other youth. The current environmental education curriculum focuses on the following 5:
- Awareness and sensitivityto the environment and environmental challenges
- Knowledge and understandingof the environment and environmental challenges
- Attitudes of concern for the environment and motivation to improve or maintain environmental quality
- Skills to identify and help resolve environmental challenges
- Participation in activities that lead to the resolution of environmental challenges
Environmental education promotes sustainability helps in building advances to our world, gives knowledge and method to solve complex environmental issues which also gives harmony among communities while expanding a child’s mind enabling them to understand the gravity of the climate crisis. “The dooming years ahead of where land will be engulfed by water, where the Earth’s temperatures reach record highs affecting the oceans and animals, and where we can predict a decrease in the human population. So with all this information – are we doing enough to create sustainable change that will continue to improve and grow in the years to come?” one of our volunteers had written in our previous blog perfectly illustrates the consequences of not taking climate action.
There are many benefits of environmental education. As kids learn more about the struggles it takes to preserve our only planet, they will develop the routine to practice every day that will keep our planet healthy. These small acts will eventually give them the head start to become the green leaders, activists, company CEO’s that will be the first to bridge the start to a prosperous future. The following several reasons will greatly benefit students from kindergarten to grade 12:
- Promotes healthy lifestyle
Issues such as depression emanate from children not getting out more often. According to recent studies, nature has a healing power and environmental education activities will ensure that children do not laze around lying on the couch watching movies all day but instead explore nature and their natural surroundings.
- Instills respect for nature
Environmental education enables children to understand why it is necessary to respect Mother Nature since there is no planet B. Students will be taught how common everyday companies reap from the benefits and wonders that nature provides hence developing responsibility skills.
- Teaches children about environmental challenges
Environmental teaching also prepares the children for future careers, and equips them with prerequisite skills to become professionals in future. However, it also gives them the chance to work through barriers and contribute to the global effort of protecting the environment.
- Trains on significance of being kind to nature
This includes being kind to animals and to fellow human beings. “Sharing is caring” is the first phrase children are taught. Environmental education will apply this phrase to explain through sustainable actions how humans and nature can live in harmony together without depleting each other’s resources
- Enables development of critical thinking skills
The discussions and teachings on environmental education enable children to make an analysis and evaluation of the circumstances affecting the environment which will prompt them to take the necessary actions. However, throughout this process, they will learn the fundamental skills of research and making decisions which is a basic life skill many young adults master later on in their life.
- Teaches them to be responsible
Environmental education demonstrates to the children the importance of being responsible human beings and will shape them to become the next green leaders when making democratic decisions as well.
It is observed that students who go through environmental education become better and more responsible adults in future. Their civic involvement in environmental conservation activities results in a more cohesive society and will help them better connect with government initiatives to spark the necessary changes we wish to see. Every individual should play a role in ensuring that we secure a safer, cleaner and indeed better environment for generations to come.
The Green Schools Green Future curriculum is designed to allow children the ability to learn through study and practice. Not only will children be reading about issues and watching informational videos, but also allows them to experience and work hands-on with sustainable solutions. Giving children a different way to be engaged and create positive environmental behaviors that will last for a lifetime. Instead of children sitting in a classroom reading about what will come in the future and the devastation our planet may face, let’s give them the resources to make life better today and in the future. Give them a school structure that uses the natural resources around it to function and provide the same level of security as a regular school in the city. From solar panels that power their computers, to vertical farms and aquaponic systems that put food on the table at lunchtime – the students will have many options on areas to explore and new concepts to implement. Implementing environmental education and allowing them to experience sustainability first-hand is the change we desperately need right now. Donate to support our mission today!
Written By Sarah Syed