Environmental Education from an early age is essential to our planet’s future. It provides children with an opportunity to engage with real-time world issues that are beyond the classroom walls.
As a result, they can discover the relevance of their studies to environmental challenges affecting our planet. As such, they’ll develop the skills to be creative thinkers in solving some of these environmental issues, and also becoming advocates for a suitable environment.
In Nordic countries for instance they have policies in place to ensure environmental education is part of the syllabus. Thus, children can acquire knowledge of environmental sustainability at an early age. And thereafter, develop a tradition of environmental protection and conservation.
In Swedish for instance, sustainable development in the national curricula dates back to 1994 and 2006. Through an amendment of the Higher Education Act, this was possible. Denmark which tops the global Environmental Index incorporates environmental education in the national curricula through Danish educational policy.
This policy ensures grade 1-10 understands the relationship between, nature, society, and individuals. But that’s not all; learners are also equipped with knowledge about their surroundings through a study of the history and culture of Danish. And through this, they acquire a versatile understanding of the human relationship with nature and how to foster sustainability.
From these examples, and the global-environmental-performance Index where 4-Nordic countries rank top, we surely have great role models. It’s a clear indication of why environmental education, among other practices, is important for a sustainable planet. Further:
What’s Environmental Education?
To put it simply, environmental education at an early age involves taking kids outdoors to explore what nature has in store. Also, it involves speaking or discussing nature, its role, and how humans can manage it sustainably.
- Sustainability policies in education
To sponsor environmental awareness, the member states in the Nordic region have taken it upon them to sponsor sustainability policies. While the framework of these policies is not uniform across them, they’re all focusing on the same mission. And that is, to promote environmental consciousness among individuals from an early age.
So, whether it’s Iceland, Finnish, or Danish, just to mention a few, they all have sustainability policies in place. These policies ensure environmental education is imparted to individuals at an early age through education.
Education is a critical part of a vision of carbon neutrality across the world and not just in Nordic Countries. Starting from Pre-school to tertiary institutions, educating young individuals about nature and sustainability is vital. As such there’s a priority on this from Nordic Countries like Norway, where teachers are encouraged to focus on environmental education.
Ecology to Conservation
Through ecology, you can learn about the environment and its biodiversity. And most importantly, you have an opportunity to interact with the environment during learning. And through environmental education programs in schools, youth and children develop the motivation to take part in environmental conservation.
In Norway for example, environmental education is compulsory in both nursery schools and schools. And the main objective is to impart knowledge, skills, and attitude about the environment to children and youth so that they can be ambassadors of sustainable development.
Through the cross-sectoral cooperation between ministries, there’s a national formal agreement on the environmental education of youth and children. These ministries include Education, Children and Family Affairs, Environment, and ministry of Research. And through this cooperation, environmental education has a prominent place in the syllabuses of schools and nursery schools.
How Environmental Education Encourages Critical Thinking
Through environmental education, individuals develop heightened consciousness of their surroundings. In schools, for instance, it motivates students to do research and look into why and how certain things occur. As a result, they can make an informed decision on their own on intricate environmental issues.
Through the development and enhancement of critical thinking, environmental education cultivates a new generation of individuals with environmental consciousness. Such individual includes informed workers, consumers, and policymakers just to mention a few.
The take on environmental education from an early age in Nordic countries is truly commendable. And it’s something other countries can emulate for a sustainable planet as a whole. From 2020 ranks on Environmental Performance Index, where these countries dominate top 10, it shows there’s a success with this program.
Would you like to know more about eco-friendly travel?
To receive inspiration direct to your email inbox, please click here and subscribe to the Ecotourism World newsletter!