Environmental education needs to be incorporated from a very early onset. After all, it is when we are young that we begin to form our world view and start to form many of our habits. And everyone knows that bad habits die hard!
Environmental education should be taught even to our youngest students. Even young children can begin to understand how their individual actions can affect the environment. Even young children can learn to take personal responsibility for the preservation and restoration of our environment.
This does not mean that you need to involve young children in an in depth discussion about global warming and how the emissions of our cars contribute to it. After all, these kids do not even know how to drive these carbon dioxide-releasing vehicles!
But, even the youngest kids can learn how to turn off the water while brushing their teeth. Even the youngest kids can learn to pick up litter that they might have dropped, and even to pick up other litter. Even the youngest kids can learn to appreciate and protect the environment more fully, because of a little environmental education.
Any teacher can incorporate environmental education into his or her plan. If you teach at a school that does not have an environmental education program, that does necessarily mean that you can not incorporate some basic lessons.
In truth, environmental education can be incorporated into lessons in every subject. Quite obviously, environmental education can be incorporated into different sciences, like geology, biology, etc. But it can also be incorporated into math, English, geography, history, and other such subjects.
You can do math story problems about garbage, water, or land, etc. In English, you can read stories about the environment, etc. In geography, you can explain how polar ice caps are melting or how cultures are changing because of the changing environment. In history, you can talk about how much the environment has affected humans over the years and how much we have affected it. Mention environmental laws, etc.
Even if you do not incorporate environmental education into your day to day learning, you can still have one or two special environmental education days throughout the year. Invite a forest ranger or a conservationalist, etc. to come speak to your class. Bring out coloring books on the cycle of water and why we must conserve it. Watch the animated film “Fern Gully!” Learn about extinct animals. Learn about endangered animals.
If you are not happy with how the environment is right now, do something about it! Incorporate environmental education into the classroom at a very early age! You may feel like you are simply passing on the problem to a younger generation, but this younger generation can help solve the problem if they are given the tools at an early age.