I have heard school kids cribbing about studying that extra subject all the time. (I’ve done that too – till I scored a perfect hundred in my board examination in the subject.) Environmental Education as a subject for school going kids has often been subject to debate over its relevance besides the continual boost it gave to so many results. Well, for one I’d support the need to introduce environmental education as a compulsory subject during schooling years because it helps in all the unseen ways. I didn’t think it helped unless the other day mom noticed that I never throw my clutter on the road side. I keep holding it through the way and dispose it in the bin. Childhood days, well I’d take delight in those flying wafer wrappers I threw out of the window. Here’s why there is a need that the learning years are integrated with environmental education.
Boosts immunity and health by raised awareness
Believe it or not, I never liked my green veggies till I read about their nutritional values and ofcourse I started losing hair. I started loving spinach in a desperate attempt to retain the thick mane. That about awareness. More so, the very exposure to fresh air and greenery can be a huge immunity booster for you. You have absolutely no idea what the air conditioned air is doing to your skin and lungs. You weigh the needs of vitamins and minerals, are environmentally conscious and you unconsciously switch to healthier options of diet and lifestyle. Didn’t realize? Try and notice a person who has studied environmental education during their schooling years and differ from those who have not. 8 of 10 times you are sure to see a healthier lifestyle in the one that has. Point proven!
High ability to think strategically and critically
You may not agree immediately, but do you realize how easy it is for you to join a conversation that discusses the environment? You tend to question techniques and sciences which are either unheard or unbelievable to you. If they tell you to not water your plants for a month – is it possible that you do not question? Pretend like your plants remain fresh – will you not want to analyse the science and draw a conclusion as to how did it so happen? This critical thinking and quest to know develops in you a spirit for knowledge and the ability to think critically and systematically.
Helps raise spirit of community service: Teaches to be of help to others
The need for environmental education can often be seen as synonymous with the need for better tomorrow. The motive is to raise awareness and encourage steps that condemn acts that harm the environment. For a better tomorrow environment wise, everyone has to do their bit but for a common good. If you do not dispose hazardous wastes into the river today, you are doing good not just to yourself or your family and community but to the community of mankind. You learn to be of service to others and the need for a common good for welfare of all.
Leaders for tomorrow : High consciousness about environmental concerns
Believe me or not, but any extra subject means more scope for employability. More the subjects, more the diversity in professions. Today’s student of environmental sciences may just grow up to be an environmentalist tomorrow. An activist or leader that condemns any acts that harm the environment. So that little consciousness or spark of interest that the subject may ignite in your now may prosper into you dream and passion for the future. I agree it would be a very selfish motive to study environmental education for, but if you so choose your career stream in the field, you’d be serving yourself as well as others too. What’s the harm then?
Teaches Self Control : Tests the ability to practise control for environmental good
Cite the example I gave for not disposing my clutter unless there is a bin. I don’t know if that may matter to you or not, but I learnt self control. I may as well be a chain smoker and learn self control to not smoke for the pollution I’d be responsible for. The inner conscience pricks you to control all your actions that may prove to be hazardous to the environment. I switch my lights and fans off when I leave the room. I may not have done that to save the little amount of money I may, but to imagine a world without electricity makes it an almost involuntary act to switch the lights off.
Raises Awareness about Environmental Threats
Do you know of the El nino? The global warming? The species on the verge of extinction? No? Maybe you never got a chance to read your environmental education lessons well. If you do not know of the ozone layer depletion it causes, what difference does the concentration of CFC’s and HCFC’s in your deodorant spray make to you? Alright, not that I’m very sure that the ozone layer depletion will matter, but having to survive the 50 degree Celsius temperature can sure encourage you to switch to safer and better choices. You’d know your rescue drills for natural calamities better, you’d know how to use your greens better (they can do what no medicine can) etc. One subject that warns you against everything which may go wrong? You cannot say it is unimportant. Can you?
Condemns Indoor culture : Reconnects youth to the environment
You’d never deny how kids today remain indoors all the time. They might as well know their roses and lotuses only by the pictures they’d google or those in their textbooks. They’d know their sports as long as they mean a game on their Nintendo. No wonder there is a sudden incline in childhood obesity and steep decline in overall children’s health. Environmental education will make the students more aware of their surroundings. Project and field work would encourage them to go outdoors and connect with the environment. It may not look as important, but the one connect is an escape from diseases, obesity, unhealthy lifestyle and stress.
Learning years build a person’s capacities and capabilities for a lifetime. It affects how you think and behave. The school kids today are the future for tomorrow. It is upon them to cherish and relish the environment and protect it for future generations too. You still think we can do with environmental education? I doubt!