Sustainability starts in the classroom

12.01.2021 - The Ecologist

This post is also available in: Portuguese

Sustainability starts in the classroom
An elementary classroom (Image by CC BY 2.0 / Image in the public domain)

Emily Folk

Education is the best start to a sustainable life.

Sustainability and caring about the planet are worthwhile causes that need consistent attention and care from our communities.

While sustainability starts at home and on a personal level, education plays a vital role in enacting and teaching sustainability to new generations.

School is where children go to learn about the world around them, and it makes sense that the classroom would be the primary place to learn not just about the principles of the world, but also of the actual world itself and the impact that people can have on it.

Ethical

With sustainability becoming more and more critical each year, schools need to get on board sooner rather than later.

Between building positive habits and informing students about the truths of the global environment, it’s more important than ever to build sustainable practices in school, so kids can take those practices and ideas forward in their lives.

One of the biggest reasons why a sustainable public begins with a sustainable school is because learning early is the best way to create good habits that last a lifetime.

By using curriculums and incorporating sustainability into the education itself, students can understand the importance of sustainability and its place within the sciences, history and other disciplines. It’s not about talking about sustainability in a vacuum, but instead educating from a sustainable perspective overall.

In addition to the curriculum, it’s important to create a sustainable and ethically focused environment in schools, as well.

Learning

Just like students need to become aware of the happenings of the planet, the adults around them need to enact practices that work towards a better future. This means environmentally-conscious practices within the school itself.

By maintaining health and safety practices within the school, recycling, and engaging in activities such as class gardening or plants, sustainability in schools can become normalized and more widespread.

Each school is different and might take different approaches to help the cause.

Everything from going paperless to serving more plant-based meals in the cafeteria can make a difference. This can also help students feel like they’re making a difference along with the material they’re learning.

Practices and educational elements like these can empower students to participate in sustainability both inside and outside the classroom, which is the purpose of learning in the first place.

Solutions

Educating from a sustainable perspective doesn’t just create responsible school practices or help students understand the world around them better. It also actively creates hope for the future, both in the technical sense and the emotional sense.

Much like other elements of education, like life skills and sex education, bringing sustainability into the classroom ensures every student experiences an understanding of these important concepts.

By participating in activities that benefit the community and sharing them with the classroom — such as gardening and composting and recycling projects — awareness can begin to take hold both in the students themselves and in those who experience the benefits of the curriculum and activities.

By bringing sustainability into the classroom and ensuring future generations understand it from an early age, schools can actively create hope that as they grow older, they can unify and create solutions on a collective level.

Ideology

School is about shaping young minds so they’re more capable of making the world a better place for themselves and those around them.

One of the primary issues facing our world today is the fact that many people are ignorant of climate change and other related issues. When sustainability starts in the classroom, it becomes a natural part of learning and a natural part of life.

Creating a sustainable school environment should not be left for last. In fact, it should be at the forefront of educational priorities.

Everything from making small but important changes within the school itself to teaching students about the ins and outs of the ideology behind sustainable practices can help shape a better future for every young person who steps into a classroom.

 

This Author

Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability writer and the editor of Conservation Folks.

Categories: Ecology and Environment, Education, International
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