In my opinion they should definitely first set up recycling programs and then teach all the classes why they have that; that water bottles don’t break down in landfills and information along those lines. They should offer elementary classes rewards for recycling, such as gold stars or whatever the class has. In high schools they should definitely go into more detail: theories on how will the economy and earth be affected if we do this, what will happen to the planet if we don’t change that.
I think kids should learn how to “live” green, rather than be fed environmental ideas, which won’t actually avert the serious environmental issues we are faced with today. As far as recycling, kids should learn the truth about how things are recycled and how costly it can be to recycle plastic, for instance. Rewards might lead kids to think that it is okay to overuse disposable containers and that it might be solved by recycling, when it reality it is lifestyle choices that make the difference.
Kids should be taught at a young age the importance of localized agriculture- like growing carrots and tomatoes. They should learn why mass agriculture and factory farming can be harmful. Kids should be taken on field trips to natural environments so they can experience and appreciate these things over watching TV and playing video games. If we all were taught to appreciate these things as kids, I think environmental problems related to overconsumption might be lessened!
The only way environmental knowledge will ever be taken to heart is through a radical restructuring of society, not just education. A Earth-centric education would be helpful but even the most environmentally-sensitive student will still cause untold damage to the environment from simply participating in our society.
However, I think there should atleast be a focus on “green-washing,” which is rampant and a major obstacle for environmentalism. Tons of companies and corporations are rolling out products and projects which they green-wash, making them appear environmentally sensitive when in fact they are usually no better than most non-green products. Greenwashing also covers renewable energy, which can be more damaging to the environment than helpful in most cases. Students need to be taught about what actually helps the environment and what is just companies, lawmakers, and the media trying to make themselves seem like they care about the environment.
I appreciate your perspective on this, and hope more environmentalists can see this way. “Green-washing” is indeed of the biggest obstacles to environmental change as it brings politics and special interests into environmental issues and thereby degrades their relevance. Sometimes I feel like there are two types of environmentalists: those that use scare-mongering to pursue their interests, and those that are truly concerned about the well-being of human civilization as a whole.
Thank you. I’m a firm believer that most “environmentalists” are poorly educated on what’s good for the environment and what isn’t. In fact, the only place I’ve ever really found environmentalists who truly have a handle on all the facts are fringe environmentalist direct action groups. This is why we need a stronger environmental education, especially one that is free of the mainstream media which perpetuates falsehoods about what is good for the Earth and what isn’t.
I think schools should create a type of program for green activities, maybe an extra curricular activity. They should incorporate recycling, composting, awareness and organic gardening into their curriculum. More high schools should offer elective classes based on environmental issues, and information on green careers.
Schools can incorporate environmental issues into just about every subject, from English (reading essays environmental essays and creating campaigns), to social studies (the politics that impact environmental concerns, science, to math (environmentally related statistics). School districts can also do their part by hiring food contractors who can provide healthy and organic foods for the kids in the vending machines and cafterias and even providing food through their own gardens. All schools should have recycling programs and try to choose electronics over paper when possible.
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