Posted by: David McKay | September 7, 2011

Thoughts on Environmental Education

I just read a piece over at Yale Environment 360 about environmental education.  As I try to work on finishing my portfolio to get my teaching license, I have many moments of distraction and procrastination.  So, I try to make those moments count for something.  When in doubt, I go to my blog and click on one of the many links that run down the right-hand side of the page.

The piece I just read, titled “Green Failure: What’s Wrong With Environmental Education?” is a good read.  It talks about changing the way we think about things.  It talks about how our public educational system is failing our children, and our world, on teaching about the importance of environmental stewardship.  The idea that “environmentalism” equates with “responsible citizenship” is right up my alley.

Are we morally responsible?  What does that mean?  Don’t we need to teach our children how to be morally responsible in order for our society to maintain equanimity?  Well, shouldn’t that sense of responsibility extend to the world all around us?  To our planet?  To the oceans and the forests, the rivers and lakes?  Shouldn’t it extend to the web of life all around us?  The animals and the plants?

“Teachers are underpaid and undersupported, and they’re asked to do a very difficult, even impossible job. But I know at least 20 teachers I’ve worked with in the past 10 years whose classes are more motivated than the average, and who are themselves more motivated. They find a way to teach the importance of social engagement, and to insert some relevance for their students into the material they’re required to teach. I think we need to identify who those people are and support them as much as possible.”

The thinking needs to go beyond individual teachers — it needs to be systemic.  [Insert rant on politics, Monsanto, corporate greed, slave systems, short-sighted selfishness here].

When I get a classroom of my own someday, I will be teaching Language Arts from an Environmental (Responsible Stewardship) platform.  My students will be living and learning by being actively engaged in their communities and making a difference for themselves and for their planet.

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Rethink. Refuse. Reduce. Reuse.




  1. Great post, David. Get that portfolio done!! Yo

  2. Love it!!! Your students are waiting…onward and upward!

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