Reasons and Resources for Teaching Environmental Education

Environmental awareness is becoming more and more important in these times of obvious climate change and expanded global economic growth. In this day and age, being environmentally aware means, having sufficient knowledge about how the small seemingly insignificant actions on the part of one or many, can lead to major environmental issues, such as: climate change, habitat destruction, species extinction, soil erosion, resource depletion, overgrazing, desertification, pollution, and contamination.

It seems that with all the potential that a single person or company has to impact or affect the environment these days, that environmental awareness would be a higher priority in the eye of the public than we now experience it to be. Regardless of how society has perceived the environment in the past, it is important now, to ensure that every single individual has the chance to be educated on the various ways in which their daily choices and actions can influence the environment, and thus the world.

So what is environmental education? Well, to begin, it is ultimately a learning process that heightens a person’s knowledge and awareness about the environment, including all the challenges that exist in relation to it. Environmental education essentially helps to develop the essential awareness, skills, and capabilities of the individual, so that they are better prepared for addressing and dealing with the environmental challenges that currently exist in our world.

This environmental education can be taught to a person or student at any age in their life. Unfortunately, environmental education seems to get most attention from an age group that has already experienced 18 to 21 years of education bereft of learning about the environment, before they learn of their power to affect environmental change. The 18 to 21 yr-olds that I speak of are essentially university level students. I mention this unfortunate likelihood from my personal experiences, as I was midway through my higher education studies before I was exposed to the grand idea, that my every day actions actually have the ability to influence the environment and in essence the world.

The good news is that there are now resources being made available, which allows individuals to get exposed to the ideas at an age that is far younger than the much more mature age of which they were exposed in the past. This is definitely a beneficial opportunity, as students of a much younger age, can now engage in the conversation, of what is important or not important in tackling the challenges that come with being environmentally aware. This is an opportunity that can ultimately lead to more individuals being available to come up with the good ideas, and the much action needed, to positively impact the environment in this day and age.

One specific resource created especially for young students, is called Teaching Hoot. This resource consists of Lesson Plans for Hoot, which teachers can utilize to educate their students, on the importance of environmental awareness and activism, as it is a primary theme in Carl Hiaasen’s book, Hoot. This resource is highly recommended for all teachers interested in exposing their students to environmental awareness and for informing them early on in their life, of their individual responsibility to be good stewards of our planet.

Of course, there are many other resources available out on the net that many teachers can tap into to teach their students environmental education. The most important thing to remember; however, is that we can and should begin to educate our society early, on ways that they can manage their behavior and ecosystems. Why do we want to do this? Simply put, it is so that they and we can all live in a more sustainable world now and in the future.

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