Need of the Hour- Environmental Education

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“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

The above quote reminds us that we are responsible for maintaining a healthy condition of the planet we are living in, and we need to take serious steps towards it.

Most of us remember environmental education as a subject in primary classes we paid attention to only to pass the exams and score good grades. It taught us about our planet earth, various phenomena taking place in it and what we can do to preserve the planet and protect it from deteriorating. But is that it and shall environmental education be given no more importance than a primary subject? Certainly not. Environmental education is a learning process every individual should be a part of. It aims at increasing as much awareness as possible among people of all ages. There are a large number of environmental issues we as humans need to tackle, and this is what makes environmental education a necessity in the present scenario. Let us know some more about what exactly it is and why it is need of the hour.

Environmental education refers to a thorough understanding of our planet, all the ecosystems existing in it, various environmental challenges and how our existence affects the condition of our planet. Here is what this field of science primarily focuses on:-

Increasing awareness and inducing environmental sensitivity- The first step while tackling any problem is gathering as much information as possible about it. Then spreading that information is also one important step. That’s why one major objective of environmental education is acquiring awareness and sensitivity towards the environment around us and the problems prevailing in it. Only if we will know the exact complication and why it is harmful to us, we can start looking for a solution.

Improving our knowledge and developing a basic understanding- This is yet another step one needs to lay stress upon since, without relevant knowledge and a basic understanding of the environmental challenges, no substantial efforts can be made. Environmental education greatly focuses on explaining what all composers of our environment and all the phenomena taking place in it. This includes the land we are living on, the air we breathe, the water we use, in numerous species of flora and fauna and various scientific occurrences that happen around us.

Getting the right attitude- each needs to develop a concern and a protective attitude towards preserving our environment and should actively participate in environmental protective drives and campaigns. Studying environmental education helps in developing the concern about maintaining a healthy planet and preserving it for generations to come. When one studies environmental education and a correct attitude and encouragement regarding making eco-friendly choices comes automatically.

Gaining required skills- Environmental education works towards developing greener skills that are necessary and extremely helpful while trying to resolve environmental problems and building a sustainable environment. There can be plantation drives, cleanliness drives and many such other campaigns that can teach individuals about very basic but environmental friendly actions.

Encouragement and participation- When we discuss any environmental problem it isn’t a particular region that needs to work on it but these are global issues that require the participation of large masses. Studying environmental education can help in motivating and encouraging people to get involved in working towards maintaining a sustainable environment.

Teaching environment education at the school level can be specifically beneficially for the students and our society in large. It helps in equipping the future generation with a better knowledge about the challenges of present and future. It will teach our children to care for the environment and be concerned about issues like resource depletion, land degradation, species extinction, pollution, etc. Teaching environmental education also helps in developing a spiritual connection between the human beings and our mother earth.

Environmental education shall not be considered just as a primary school subject, but it is also emerging as a secure and intelligent career option. Studying environmental education in higher educational levels is the new it thing! A large number of students are opting to study their surroundings in a broader and holistic way. This will not just open up a large number of varied career opportunities for them but will also help in creating a harmony between nature and its creations. After studying environmental education different career prospects like teaching, jobs in non-profit organisations, environmental education officer and even environmental scientist become available. Being a teacher one can instill good values and healthy habits in the young minds of children whose attitude towards environment and actions will highly affect the condition of our planet. After gaining a higher education in this particular field, one can also become an environmental engineer or an environment scientist. Both of them have highly crucial roles to play. They are required to evolve feasible solutions to the existing and the potential environmental problems and look for greener ways so that our planet can be preserved. Environmental engineers also have important roles such as designing more eco-friendly products and promoting their use among the masses. These eco-friendly products can range from pollution fewer automobiles to recyclable plastics and all of them somewhere help our planet in staying green and clean.   All these professionals work in harmony to build a safer and healthier environment.

Addressing of environmental problems and looking for viable solutions can be easily understood in five stages:-

Analysis and assessment- the very basic step has to be a scientific analysis and assessment of the environmental problems which includes a collection of all the facts, figures and data. This data then helps to structure a model that can well define the environmental issue. The model will also help in predicting how severe the problem can have its effect in future.

Identifying solutions- Once all the data and the information is assessed, possible solutions and the risks involved in them is calculated. Whether the proposed solution will be effective enough in tackling the problem or will it introduce more complications. Such investigation and study are necessary.

Raising Public Awareness- Once the problems have been detected, and intelligent solutions have been found the public needs to be made aware of them. And their involvement is also required to bring a larger and considerable change. Factors such as media, internet, endorsement campaigns, etc. can be significantly beneficial for raising public awareness and encouraging more and more people in adopting a greener lifestyle for the sake of a healthier planet. Particularly the electronic media is a very strong tool that can be used in raising awareness among people.

Correct Political assistance- A certain amount of political involvement is also required when it comes to policy formation and implementation of those policies. But instead of focusing on economic, social and political factors, the results obtained and solutions proposed from the environmental investigations done by scientists and engineers shall decide which policies shall be made and what environmental laws shall be formulated to prevent deterioration of planet.

Continuous Assessment and Evaluation- Once the actions have been taken, their results should also be assessed to see whether they are having a positive effect and addressing the problem correctly. Evaluation is a continuous process that is an important part of environmental education.

The current state of our planet earth is quite damaged and also under various threats like global warming, ozone layer depletion, fatal diseases, etc. Some regions of the world are hit by floods while many others are stuck by droughts. The emissions of greenhouse gases are increasing day by day and so is the temperature making the planet a hotter place. All of these are serious environmental issues that if not be addressed immediately can have a drastic effect on our planet and all the species living on it. This is why serious actions need to be taken, and environmental education is a necessary step towards it.

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