Value of Ecologising Education and Teaching Sustainable Perspectives
Undoubtedly, for some people, the future teems with choices, great, exciting opportunities, and enhanced comfort. But the children of today, even those hailing from affluent homes, already face a world characterized chiefly by environmental destruction, shocking ill-health, and societal inequality, where the modern lifestyle and current actions obstruct future options geared at leading just, sustainable and healthy lives (Scott and Gough, 2003). Twenty-first century kids eventually have the greatest stakes in the world's future, and will be subject to the repercussions of current environmental, economic, and social actions and decisions.
Consequently, equipping kids with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values required for reconsidering and altering existing trends, thereby securing a healthy, sustainable and just future for humanity, counts among the biggest responsibilities of present-day society (Sterling, 2002). To achieve the above, environmental education and sensitivity is imperative. But early childhood educational curriculum, including policy, practice and theory of approaches, which emphasizes environmental perspectives, is seriously lacking.
The 1978 Tbilisi Declaration outlines several principles and objectives which demonstrate that ecologising education must promote the idea of students' understanding their natural environment, engaging in critical thinking and active participation, and balancing and recognizing, within their respective communities, the impacts of societal and economic needs on ecological relationships (Tbilisi Declaration 1978). Beginning with one's personal community during early education, the declaration demanded the development of problem-solving ability, knowledge, and environmental sensitivity-related value clarification. The declaration also covered environmental problems from global and regional standpoints, for allowing students to gain an understanding of environmental problems in other areas around the globe. This would help cultivate empathy, cooperation, and responsibility, when it comes to effecting environmental improvements and conservation. The premise of ecologising education in global and native manmade as well as natural environments are inter-reliant, and involve interactions between economic, biological, cultural and societal influences (Locke, Russo & Montoya, 2013).
Benefits and Limitations of Becoming Eco-Literate for Teachers and Young People
The concept of ecologising education has a directness that enables inclusion of a broad array of subjects, and supports creativity. One can observe its effects in various areas, like evolving teaching techniques which lead to increased social learning and project work, a consideration of building layout and design (e.g., school yard) as well as school energy optimization, and enhanced health education integration (via, for instance, inclusion of current social and ecological problems in everyday lessons, providing healthy snacks, etc.).
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Engaging in the approach of ecologising education enhances school image and furthers external relations (e.g., community relations) (Rauch and Dulle, 2011).
Adopting ecologising education within schools which practice sustainability will be able to positively affect environmental competencies and awareness of students, by means of, for instance, demonstrating sustainable resource utilization. Ecologising education brings about improved self-reflection and awareness in students, in the area of sustainability, including healthy eating, changing shopping habits, and increased awareness of resource utilization, (Rauch, Pfaffenwimmer & Dulle, 2016). Focusing on the aspects of values and knowledge interlinking is of particular importance. That said one must bear in mind not to overvalue the school's significance, since it is merely one of many influencers. Another important factor is successful parental engagement by schools in sustainability practices. This was adopted by more primary, as compared to secondary, schools (Rauch and Dulle, 2011).
Popularity is probably the hardest barrier to overcome with regard to ecologising education. Although a number of nations concur with the fact that the ecologising educational approach is vital, sustainability is not a dominant theme in their government policies or mainstream culture. For instance, one of the sustainable development principles states that renewable resource utilization rates must be lower than their regeneration rates. Despite this, a number of communities are considering, or already have in place, "disposable" practices. Disposable food wrappers, utensils, beverage cans, plates, etc. are seen frequently and on an everyday basis by many. These one-time use-and-throw articles are dumped in water bodies, buried, or incinerated (Scott and Gough, 2003). Such a culture consumes resources like fossil fuels and trees more swiftly than it is able to replace them. As sustainable development principles aren't, at present, interwoven into governmental policy and everyday life, eco-literacy can grow into a key "bottom-up" factor in ensuring community-based sustainability. Ecologising education can mold and inspire ethics and behaviors supporting a well-informed public with a political desire to attain sustainability for the long run (Wals, Shallcross, Robinson and Pace, 2006).
Refocusing of education for encompassing sustainability necessitates extra funding. One main issue with regard to ecologising….....
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