Environmental issues are one of the major problems of today’s world. We’re living in an era where the Earth is jeopardized on different levels, and the efforts we’re putting in to change that don’t seem to be enough. We’re struggling with preserving our planet, and we need to address that issue over and over again. In addition, we need to be more active and involved in changing our behaviors in order to be environmentally conscious.
Many people seem to forget that everything starts with an individual. You don’t have to be part of an environmental movement or organization in order to contribute. It’s always welcome, but not necessary. In essence, changing some of your everyday habits and raising awareness of the environmental issues is a great way to start. Same goes for children – teaching them the basics and employing quality environmental education can go a long way. Together, we’re going to look at the main reasons why environmental education for children is crucially important.
What Are the Biggest Environmental Issues?
Before we move to the education of children, let’s take a step back and remind ourselves what are the biggest problems our plant is currently facing. It’s important to keep ourselves aware of the population’s major issues.
Here are the biggest environmental issues:
- Air, Water and Land Pollution
- Global Warming
- Waste Disposal
- Climate Change
- Species Extinction
The list can go on but you get the picture. It’s clear that we’re at a critical point in which we need to stay united in order to preserve our planet.
What is Environmental Education?
Environmental education refers to teaching and learning everything there is to know about our planet, it’s resources, nature, and sustainability. It’s a process of gaining awareness of the issues and learning how to solve them.
Let’s break down environmental education to its basic components. Here’s what it’s all about:
- Raising awareness of the environmental issues
- Gaining factual knowledge
- Changing people’s mindset
- Gaining skills to act on the problems
- Inspiring people to inspire others
This kind of education is simply mandatory if we plan on solving the environmental issues and saving our planet. Without the education and raising awareness, people won’t have the knowledge to realize how serious the issues are.
Schools, Take it to Another Level!
Schools need to work on improving the environmental education and taking it outside of the biology classroom.
There are government funds and Environmental Education Grants you can apply for. You need a good plan and a detailed project description, and you can make some wonderful changes in your school!
We’ve reached a critical point when it comes to environmental issues. There’s no time to waste and we need to take action as soon as possible.
Given the situation, it’s only natural we educate our children about the concerns and problems we’re facing.
Children need to learn about environmental issues from the earliest age, in order to gain valuable insight and avoid adopting bad habits. Here’s a couple of important things that children need to understand:
- the concept of preserving the nature
- the importance of being environmentally active
- their role in making a difference
- their behavior affecting the rest of the world
By starting the environmental education early, we create a healthy mindset in our children. We don’t allow bad habits to even be created, let alone take over the good ones.
Awareness and Knowledge
Kids need facts. We need to give them the knowledge necessary for understanding what is happening in their surroundings.
Environmental education teaches them about:
- major environmental issues
- what causes the issues
- how they can help to solve the issues
- what is their role in the system
Once children are properly educated and informed, they are ready to be a part of the global fight for environment preservation.
They’ll start raising the awareness of others. They’ll start contributing to the global movement as individuals.
Adopting New Habits
Environmental education for children is not just about the theoretical knowledge. On the contrary, it’s about answering the following question:
- What can you DO in order to help save the planet?
In other words, environmental education is about taking action. Children get the chance to adopt new habits and employ them in their everyday life.
They learn about:
- riding a bike instead of their parents driving them
- planting trees
- turning off the light and unplugging appliances
- planting a garden
- avoid plastic bags and use reusable ones instead
- eating less meat and more fruits and veggies
- wasting less
Children will carry their habits home and continue living in an environmentally- friendly way. The habits they adopt ones will stick to them forever, and help them be a part of a better, more aware and more active generation.
Kids are great influencers, and we can learn a lot from them. Changing their routine might affect their family members, friends and peers to do the same.
In other words, by educating the children, we educate everyone around them. They’ll be the ambassadors of environmental awareness.
They can influence their parents to:
- drive less
- quit smoking
- save energy
- properly dispose of trash
- adopt new habits
By giving a good example, children will become environmental educators themselves.
Volunteering and Taking Action
The best part about environmental education for children is that they get the chance to do good, help others, make changes and contribute the overall mission of reducing everything that’s making our planet polluted and at risk.
They can participate in:
- cleaning natural surfaces
- environmental awareness workshops
- recycling movements
- ecological restoration
- marine conservation
Give Your Kids a Chance to Love Environment
Environmental education isn’t strictly tied to the school. It doesn’t end once the bell rings. Kids need to learn to implement their knowledge in other spheres of their life. Their family needs to support them.
If you have kids, find a way to keep them thinking about the environment outside of school and contribute its preservation. You can:
- Send them to environment summer camps
A great way to spend the summer: making new friends, acquiring new skills and helping save the environment.
- Help them organize a local environment event
Your kids can organize an event such as cleaning the local river or park, collecting plastics and disposing of it properly or donating for an environmental cause.
- Have them participate in an essay-writing contest about the environment
If your kids like to write, they can participate in a contest and share their environmental vision with others. They might even win a prize.
Environmental education is important for everyone. The more we know about the ways we damage our planet, the quicker we can change and adopt new habits. We need to start from ourselves and move on to inspiring others.
The children are the future, which is why it’s necessary to pass on the knowledge onto them. By starting as early as preschool, environmental education will shape the mindset of your children and make them environmentally aware and responsible. That will inspire them to make smart choices and good decisions. And that is a kind of generation we need!