My Environmental Education

While reading through chapter 2 of the Bigelow and Swinehart textbook, I was able to reflect on my own environmental education. In elementary school, we always had parties or fun activities to celebrate Earth Day where we enforced the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle). I remember in first or second grade we had this project where we all raised caterpillars as a class and watched them grow into butterflies where we eventually released them. I was quite lucky to have an interest in the environment as a kid, and that was further encouraged by my older cousin who always wanted to be some sort of biologist even from a very young age. I wanted to be just like her when I got older so I spent a lot of time listening to her and joining her when she went on “bug hunts” in her backyard. The text emphasises that there are a lot of children that don’t get that sort of exposure and I was very lucky to. Although, as I got older, projects that had a focus on the environment turned into something arbitrary in the eyes of the education system and was no longer taught. As soon as middle school started it became a thing of the past and was “not suitable” to be taught at a higher level, implying that it no longer had a place in our education. I think this mindset is extremely flawed and is one of the contributing factors as to why people are rather complacent when it comes to Earth’s sustainability. On page 40 of the textbook, there are a list of objectives that instill an “ecologically responsible curriculum” and one of the objectives that resonated with me was “students need to develop an ecological literacy that alert’s them to life’s interconnectedness”. Since the idea of interconnectedness was stressed in the previous chapter, it is very important for people to realize that everything is connected, in some way, back to the environment and we all need to be very mindful of what we take and put back into it. If our education system was able to implement this effectively along with the other objectives, the improvement of our current global health (ex. global warming) would drastically improve.

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