Analysis: Why we need environmental education

Early environmental learning

All my life, I lived near two famous bodies and I still know very little about either of them.

I am 22 years old and still trying to educate myself about climate change and other environmental issues I could’ve learned in middle and high school.

The biggest things I really learned early on about the environment was that I should recycle, turn off lights if I wasn’t using them and carpool, since all contributed to a warming earth through energy use.

During our “Ohio” and “Kent” studies in elementary school, it was mentioned the river burned because of pollution from factories, but that was pretty much the extent of it.

With all of the huge issues our environment is facing (and faced even when I was younger), I find it problematic our country still hasn’t pushed for more modern and timely education regarding the earth.

Sure, we learned a little in our biology classes about the earth and a little about climate change, but I don’t remember talking much in detail, unless you took an elective class.

Why it’s important

Our current political climate is one of polarization regarding climate change. Some are calling for “Green New Deals,” while others deny climate change exists at all. So the fact that environmental education is still lackluster isn’t all that surprising.

As someone who grew up near the famous Cuyahoga River, I am all too aware of the issues our natural resources and wonders of nature are facing.

While I am not a very “science-brained” person, I think I would have enjoyed and benefited from better science and historical lessons about environmentalism, especially surrounding the stuff happening in my own backyard.

All of this didn’t really dawn on me until I talked with Charlie Malone from Wick Poetry and he mentioned how they were helping schools get involved with programs like that of the National Park Service’s Every Kid in a Park program. 

There are so many articles and groups online promoting environmental education.

A Forbes article highlighted this kind of learning is especially important for the youth of the world since “conservation starts with education.”

I can wholeheartedly agree with that, as I would find it much easier to talk and teach a young child about the environment instead of an old family member who never had environmental education in the first place.

There are also organizations all over that promote more education involving the environment. 

Project Learning Tree shared a number of reasons why we should be pushing for better environmental education. Things like better critical thinking skills, exposure to nature, stronger communities and responsible action are listed among the many reasons for the push.

Let’s get better

Like many others, I think it’s important for our education system to grow and change with the times.

If we could start teaching about the earth’s issues earlier, I think it would much easier for people to have intelligent conversations about serious, science-backed issues like climate change.

The times are calling for better environmental education and I think it’s time we listen.




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