Environmental Education as an Answer to Climate Crisis by Leila Escobar
Our capacity for learning, as humanity, has been and is the key to the great evolution of the species and of all the cultures of the world.
The environmental culture of Peruvians, and in general our society, is far from being the best. To give context: we are a process of development South American country (something nice to say that we're part of the called third world) with great biological, geographic, and cultural diversity. Despite this, studies affirm that 58% of Peruvians would leave the country if they had a chance. This reveals to us a lack of appreciation and love for what is ours, and worse still, our ignorance.
So, if one receives a treasure, but does not know its value, would it not be easy to despise it? What happens with our country and the planet in general. If our education were based on «forming values and developing skills and attitudes necessary for a harmonious and respectful coexistence between human beings, culture, and the environment», our entire society would reach a higher level of evolution. Guess what, everything highlighted in the previous line is the definition of environmental education, and that is why the need to implement it in educational systems, and so urgent in my country.
Of course, the importance of including it in the curriculum does not mean leaving aside important topics such as civics or science, or that we are going to create a generation of "hippies", but we can not claim to have great mathematicians, writers or politicians, if we do not first understand our relationship of dependency with nature and that major problems such as poverty and lack of access to food and water are closely related to climate change.
It is very strange that Peruvians, despite suffering by first hand the effects of the climate crisis - through natural disasters, the affectation of indigenous Amazonian communities, the reduction of crop production and that our capital is one of the 20 large cities that would suffer severely from the 0.5 m rise in sea level - we still do not know what it is, nor our responsibility in all of this. Therein lies the importance of environmental education in all of us, but especially in our children and youth, who are and will be the agents of change.
Integral training that prioritizes access by children and young people to real and current information about what is happening to the world and our relationship with it, would give them critical thinking and the need to act. It would also ensure us professionals from all and different areas, such as scientists and politicians, committed to environmental justice, which is also social justice since it would ensure the preservation of humanity and the world as we know it, and therefore we would be better citizens, concerned by the most vulnerable and developers of tools to achieve it.
Would not all this generate a development in our thoughts and culture, and at the same time the development of a country? Well, everything depends on us, in a change of attitude towards the environmental and climatic issue. You need to learn learning like creating meanings and making them your own, and nobody better than children, because of their ability to adapt to changes. As adults, you can demand environmental education from our authorities, or by choosing representatives or politicians concerned and committed to the issue, in addition to the fact that it is in your hands to educate your children and make them better citizens. And as young people, we have the responsibility to share with the little ones what little or much we know, so that they have all the tools to act and speak out for change, starting with ourselves.
About the Author
Leila Escobar Yomona was born in Callao, Peru. She's part of the Latin American team of Polluters out (Raices Libres) and We The Planet, and FFF digital