Does eco-education deserve a space in our curriculum? Let me start by saying ‘absolutely’. Schools are a place where we learn about our world and how to interact with it. This doesn’t just mean understanding what a prime is, knowing where Waterloo is and who lost a battle there, and understanding what happens when we expose White Phosphorous to air. It also means that we grasp the importance of the world around us, what happens if we treat it poorly and lessons to avoid doing so.
At its most basic this will serve to make the generation of tomorrow more responsible citizens – after all a responsible citizen takes care of what is around them, which happens to include their environment. But it is more than that. By teaching children an understanding of their environment, we give them huge advantages as well. Let’s explore both of those ideas.
Understanding the interconnectivity of everything
Everything is interconnected. That’s why a butterfly’s wings in New Mexico can theoretically cause a storm in China. Everything you do has knock on effects which can chase around the world for years and potentially even decades. This isn’t just true on an ecological level either, but on every other level as well. It lies behind the idea that if we all did a positive deed every day and paid the positivity we received forward, it would all eventually come around again and we’d all be better off.
By teaching ecological concerns to our children, we make them aware of that interconnectivity. And they, in turn, will come to understand the nature of our society as well as ecology. And that kind of understanding will both help them be more responsible citizens as well as more conscious of intentions and actions.
It improves health
There are a lot of dangerous substances we use in daily life that are harmful to health as well as the environment. By teaching ecology, we’re far more likely to give our students an understanding of what those are and how to identify them when they see them.
In this way, they don’t just help the environment, or for that matter just themselves. Instead, they will help their entire community by making them aware of dangerous materials and situations where people are taking harmful actions that degrade the environment.
It allows children to reconnect and disconnect
The great thing about teaching ecology is that you can do it right there, in your backyard. It is, after all, all around us. In this way, it allows students to connect with their direct environment and their community.
And in the process take some time to disconnect from all their devices and look beyond the tiny screens of the smartphones.
In that way, ecology classes can serve to reconnect students with the physical world and even learn greater appreciation for it. That will be good for physical and even better for the students.
Our environment needs us to step up
Despite what a vocal minority might say, the scientific evidence that our planet is warming and that we’re responsible is overwhelming. Even NASA says so. That means that if we want there to be any world left we have to take action. That takes a concerted effort on all our counts.
The best time to teach a concern for our environment is during our childhood years, as afterwards people are less likely to shift their position on such things and learn the habits that can actually make a difference.
For that reason, it makes perfect sense to teach our children to be more eco conscious in school as then we can teach them the right behaviors to help our environment and to make the best of the damaged world we leave them.
And at least that’s something (even if it probably isn’t enough).
Amanda Sparks, pro writer and editor at Essay Supply, lifestyle writer at Huffington Post. I am fancy doing perfect things for this perfect world, and help people make their life easier with my lifestyle tips.