Environmental education in an outdoor classroom

Climate change and the pandemic have highlighted the importance of being in a natural environment. Our inherent connection to the world around us is eternal. There is an urgent need to identify the problems that threaten the environment, to find creative solutions and to take care of the environment.

There is an increasing shift from fixed classrooms to outdoor education. Outdoor education provides many opportunities for students to engage in real world issues that transcend classroom walls. Students can see the relevance of their classroom studies in the context of the complex environmental issues facing our planet, and subsequently they can learn the skills to be innovative problem solvers and powerful advocates.

There is an urgent need to change the way we teach our future generation. In fact, green education should be a compulsory part of the curriculum so that students can easily adopt habits to conserve and protect the environment. It has the potential to bring realization, sensitivity and action into everyone’s life.

Environmental education is not limited to providing information about the environment. It helps integrate academic disciplines, stimulates the social and academic development of young minds, and encourages the conservation of the natural environment. It is vital for creating strategies to support, stimulate and preserve the environment.

Nature, eternal inspiration

To learn, you have to experience. To teach, you must first inspire. And nature provides massive inspiration. An outdoor classroom would increase and radically transform educational practices. One can learn the underlying theories and how to apply them practically. One can learn about biodiversity loss, the effects of climate change and sustainable development and develop the skills to become a reflective educator, helping to foster environments and activities in which everyone can participate.

Studying outside, in the middle of nature, is useful not only for the preservation of nature, but also for a healthy mind. It works as therapy for people who spend more time in nature. In Japan, it is used as nature therapy, called “Shirin Yoku”, which translates to “nature therapy”. According to a study conducted by Yoshifumi Miyazaki, a nature therapy expert, people who walk in a forest for 40 minutes have lower levels of stress hormones.

To raise awareness of and find solutions to the issues affecting our environment, we need to bring nature into the classroom or take the classroom outside.

The environmental education sector is booming. It helps students as well as nature in many ways.

Stimulate critical and creative thinking through imagination

Nature provides peace of mind, which stimulates imagination and creativity. It aids in critical thinking by challenging students to investigate how and why certain things happen in a specific way and what can be done to solve complex environmental problems. Thanks to environmental education, we will know what to do during natural calamities to save people. It motivates the younger generation to participate in decision-making and policy-making.

environmental education

Encourage a healthy lifestyle

Due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, many people have suffered from psychological distress. These days, even doctors suggest that people go out into nature to heal and reduce issues such as anxiety, stress and depression. Outdoor activities and studying outdoors help to deal with health issues such as obesity, which is prevalent among today’s children who are glued to smartphones and computers.

Take responsibility for actions

Environmental education helps the younger generation understand how their actions affect nature and what actions are needed to address complex environmental issues and keep the environment healthy and sustainable for the future. It also emphasizes the importance of using renewable resources, so that we can save resources for the future. Other than that, students can educate people by making them aware of ways to protect the planet.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)