Our nation’s future relies on a well-educated public to be wise towards of the very environment that sustains us, our families and communities, and future generations. It is environmental education which can best help us as individuals make the complex, conceptual connections between economic prosperity, benefits to society, environmental health, and our own well being. Ultimately, the collective wisdom of our citizens, gained through education, will be the most compelling and most successful strategy for environmental management. When should environmental education begin–in the third grade; first grade; kindergarten? Even earliest it should start. Environmental education based on life experiences should begin during the very earliest years of life. Such experiences play a critical role in shaping life-long attitudes, values, and patterns of behavior toward natural environment.
A Native American proverb says “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”. This is an absolute true statement in today’s context. As parents, we care about the environment, in large part, out of concern for our children. And when we begin to realize the environment, as our children will know it, depends on the lifestyle policies we adopt in order to protect their health and well-being, there will then be an instinctive understanding that the environment, as our children’s children will know, it depends on the lifestyle policies they adopt.
In our Boarding schools in India , research has shown enormous benefits from environmental education. When integrated into a science curriculum, environmental education demonstrably improves student achievement in science. Such an increase is likely due to the fact that environmental education connects classroom learning to the real world. Students, when given a choice, will gravitate towards environmental science. When integrated into the core curriculum or used as an integrating theme across the curriculum, environmental education has a measurably positive impact not only on student achievement in science, but also in reading (sometimes spectacularly), math, and social studies.
Yet many children have little or no meaningful exposure to environmental education or opportunities to connect with the natural world because they are involved with activities that isolate them from it. Computers, video games, television, schools’ emphasis on homework, a full after-schools in vizag schedule of extracurricular activities, lack of access to natural areas, all these things and more are isolating children from the natural world and the advantages of environmental education. You don’t need to be a teacher to promote environmental education for children. In the classroom of life, we are all teachers, and we are all students.