Environmental Education is multidisciplinary and integrates biology, ecology, geography, earth science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and other subjects. It teaches how the natural environment functions and how to manage it effectively to create a sustainable environment that is safe for everyone.
Global climate change has been caused by human impact on the ecosystem. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), states that to ensure the future global developments in the societal quality of life, a wide environmental awareness must be increased.
Environmental Education can make people more aware of the effects their actions have on the environment and what they can do to reduce it. Environmental Education is more than just a subject that students learn in school. It also involves raising public awareness through print media, media campaigns and websites. Many zoos and aquariums offer information on the environment and its effects on life.
Environmental Education: A History
Although environmental education has been around for a long time, its importance has only been recognized in recent years due to the increasing global climate change. Jean- Jacques Rousseau, a French Philosopher, and Louis Agassiz, a Swiss naturalist, laid the foundations for environmental education in the 18th Century.
They stressed the importance of environmental awareness through education that focused on “Study Of Nature, Not Books”. Environmental education was taught using moral lessons and fables in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. These were meant to teach students the importance of the environment, and how to appreciate it.
The Handbook for Nature Study was created by Anna Botsford Comstock, Cornell University, in 1911 to teach children about cultural values and nature. Comstock and Liberty Hyde Bailey, both well-known figures in education, supported Nature Study greatly.
This led to significant changes in the science curriculum for children. Conservation Education was a new field that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s. It was completely different from Nature Study because it focused on a scientific approach rather than studying Nature’s history and characteristics.
Conservation Education evolved into a modern method of conserving nature that uses scientific management as a planning tool. The early 1900s saw the beginning of conservation education and nature study, which led to modern environmental education. It was recognized and embraced by many in the 1960s, 1970s. The dangers of radiation and pesticides, as well as the increase in air and water pollution, were becoming more apparent.
This increased concern over the potential health hazards led to the topic gaining popularity. It was clear that a greater population was required to improve the environment. Active participation by the general public was only possible when they were well informed.
1970 was the first year Earth Day was observed on the 22nd April
The UN conference in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972 declared that Environment Education was a mandatory requirement to address growing environmental problems. This was known as the Stockholm Declaration. The Stockholm Declaration contained 7 proclamations and 26 principles that were meant to “inspire and guide peoples around the world in the preservation, enhancement, and enhancement of the environment.”
In 1975, the Belgrade Charter was created. This charter added principles, goals, and objectives for environmental education and was intended to educate the public. In 1977, the Tbilisi Declaration was adopted. It “noted the unanimous agreement in the importance of environmental education in preservation and improvement, as well as the sound and balanced development, of the world’s communities.”
In the same year, the intergovernmental conference on Environmental Education established various principles, goals, and objectives for improving this vital subject. To further promote the increasing concern for the environment, UNDESD was established in 2002.
The seventh World Environmental Education Congress was held in Morocco, 9-14 June 2013. The 11 areas of concern were addressed during the conference. They were then incorporated by the 2400 participants from 150 countries. Partnerships to promote environmental education were formed.
What are the components of environmental education?
Many countries have added environmental education to their school curriculum to promote a deep understanding of the environment starting at a young age. Environmental Education policies provide assistance in organizing and developing education programs, which are not only targeted at college or school students but also for all citizens.
The three major components of environmental education in schools are curricula, green facilities and training. Here is a brief description of each component.
Environmental Education is now part of school curricula. These curricula not only provide classroom learning but also offer outdoor learning. It improves the connection between the young generation and nature and helps to understand how humans and the environment interact. Environment education, also known as “environment in an integrating context”, is a way for students to understand how human actions affect the environment.
It can help them reduce pollution and preserve the environment as it is. Environmental education has helped to decrease “nature deficit disorder” among children. Outdoor activities include not only trips to parks and fields, but also experiential activities at school with green clubs and projects.
Green schools and green facilities are promoted by environmental education policies. Green schools are more efficient than traditional schools and have a lower impact on the environment. A green school also uses healthy food. This means that students are provided with fresh, organic food that is prepared from local produce.
While green facilities are more expensive than traditional schools, the initial cost is less for environmental education policies.
This component is the most crucial of all in environmental education. It not only educates people about living in a sustainable environment but also gives them skills and knowledge that will help to create a strong relationship with nature.
To create a sustainable workforce, environmental education policies also include teacher training and worker training. People can learn the necessary knowledge and use it properly through training.
Five Reasons Why Recycling is an Important Part of Environmental Education
As mentioned above, environmental education is a way to raise awareness in many ways. It is important to include recycling in educational materials and student study materials. Recycling is a simple term that is often used, but it is not being done.
There is only one plant that can sustain us, so we must take care of it. Recycling is becoming a mandatory requirement in many places as communities are realizing its importance. Recycling is easy, and we can all do our part. There are many reasons to recycle, and we have listed some of them below.
Pollution is being reduced
It is unnecessary to cut trees, drill for oil, mine for metals, or do any other activity that could cause harm to the environment when materials are recycled. These activities involve heavy machinery, which can release toxic emissions into the atmosphere.
There will always be some pollution from recycling and other manufacturing processes. The pollution created by recycling is far less than that when virgin materials were used.
It is impossible to destroy resources
Recycling is a closed-loop system in which waste materials can be reused over and over again. There would be less need to reduce precious resources such as the South American rain forests if more people recycled paper products. Many of the planet’s natural resources are being tapped and reduced at a faster pace than people thought. These resources can be reduced by recycling.
You can save money
Many people believe it is more expensive to recycle than to dispose of items. It is false. Because the additional costs of processing and collecting recyclable materials are offset by the sale of these materials, it is more affordable for communities.
The environment is not good for landfills and incineration
Items such as tires were simply thrown in a landfill before recycling became popular. This is no longer possible thanks to modern technology. Tire recycling machinery can be used to recycle old tires into useful materials. The thick smoke from incinerators will not be released into our atmosphere if they aren’t used.
The amount of solid waste that Americans produce each year is staggering. It is actually more than 230,000,000 tons. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent if only 30% of them is recycled each year. This would be equivalent to 25 million cars being removed from the roads. This would be equivalent to 12 billion gallons of gasoline being saved.
Environmental Education Advocates
There are many groups, individuals and agencies that are working together to raise awareness. These individuals advocate for cleaner and better environments. These groups can be privately funded, state-funded or self-funded. Advocates work in the public interest. They not only raise awareness but also mobilize resources.
They can be assigned to small areas, such as neighbourhoods, communities or residential societies. They can also be involved with CURE, CSE, WWF and other organizations at a higher level, such as CURE, CURE and CSE. They can represent an interest group at the local, national, or international level.
Not everyone involved in environmental protection has to be the one who takes action. They can also act as influencers, which has an immediate impact on decision-makers and political leaders. The people in power set policies and give instructions to those responsible. If environmentalists can gather large numbers of people together, then they can demand that people solve environmental problems.
The environmental effects of past accidents such as the Chernobyl and Bhopal accidents had a significant impact on the environment. This impact has been felt for many decades and still impacts the people living in the affected areas. It is vital that the present generation is taught how to avoid accidents and what to do in the event of one.
Due to the growing levels of pollution and the adverse climatic effects it has had on all regions of the globe, environmental education has gained in importance over the last few decades. It is now well-known that chemicals can have adverse effects on our daily lives.
Environmental Education is a field that studies how to reduce future environmental damage. Since its inception, it has received much political support and many countries actively promote the inclusion of environmental education into school curriculums. The study of environmental science, which is part of Environmental Education, is an active field that encourages higher education and research to understand the importance and reduce the human impact on it.