Environmental Education brings to light the habitat we belong to, the challenges we face, and the solutions we need to act on to save the blue Earth we call home. Humans dealt so much with raising all aspects of living to the point that environmental degradation has taken a toll on human evolution and progression. Environmental Education offers a broader lens for students to see the reality outside the classroom. Learners begin to connect to the bigger picture that affects every one of us, not just in the present but for the years to come. In the effort to bring this program to the students here in the Philippines, the Republic Act No. 9512 on the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act was instituted in 2008 for the promotion of environmental awareness through environmental education (ECOLEX, 2008).
Teachers are now among those at the forefront of our battle against the environmental crisis. Environmental Education holds a vital role in shaping the consciousness of the young generation. Aside from gained awareness, students benefit more from this kind of training as it does the following:
Develops sustainable lifestyle
Humans consume more than what our Earth can offer. Early shift to a sustainable lifestyle is a solution towards using what the Earth can only provide. Being conscious of how we go about our daily lives at an early age is a good starting point.
Encourages healthy lifestyle
The cause of the environmental problems stem from many factors – not just from the pollution we emit and the waste we produce and but also from the food we eat and the transportation method we use, among others. Environmental education can open the door to educate the students to live a healthier life in a way that benefits the environment as well.
Inspires awe and teaches respect
We live in an amazing world, and environmental education allows students to reconnect with nature and rediscover its beauty. By caring for the environment they can learn to become its stewards, recognizing that they have a role to play in solving the problems in our environment. Each of our collective efforts can bring back change a hundredfold – and it starts by having the right mindset about the issue. The students of this generation hold the key to bringing back the responsibility and the respect that humans must have to our environment.
When the students know their responsibilities, they are urged to act on it. The data from https://www.overshootday.org/home/ states that last year, humans consumed one year’s worth of natural resources in just eight months (Earth Overshoot Day, 2020). Saying that we need to act on this matter right now is an understatement to its urgency. By being rightfully informed on what we are dealing with, we unconsciously do our part even in the simplest of ways.
Encourages imagination and analytical thinking
Students start to use their imagination and analytical thinking in finding solutions when they have the fundamental knowledge of the issue. APEC Schools students have already been doing this through their LifeLabs subject. The likes of solar panels and windmills that we use today have all started from an idea. The challenge for us now is to seed these ideas to the students of this generation.
The call for environmental education is at its high time. The effects of natural deterioration are evident around the world. APEC Schools together with WWF Philippines has launched the Environmental Education for Teachers CPD program. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines is dedicated to raising awareness about biodiversity conservation and the climate crisis and co-creating solutions with communities to mitigate the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. The program is designed to tackle four environmental aspects, namely Climate Change, Biodiversity, Energy, Water, and Waste, and School Resilience and Sustainability. With WWF-Philippines’ expertise in matters concerning the environment and APEC Schools’ mission to provide innovative education, teachers can become active participants in solving the environmental crisis through Environmental Education in their own classrooms.
Register at https://bit.ly/WWFxAPEC_EE2021
Teachers from all over the country, even abroad, are invited to join in this CPD course which will run from January to June 2021. The 4-part course is individually priced at PHP 500, and can be taken as a bundle at a discounted rate of just PHP 1,500. Interested teachers may contact Mary Ann C. Barcelon, Continuing Professional Development Officer of APEC Schools, at email@example.com.
Earth Overshoot Day. (2020). Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.overshootday.org/home/
ECOLEX. (2008). Republic Act No. 9512 on National Environmental Awareness and Education Act, 2008. ECOLEX – The gateway to environmental law. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.ecolex.org/