Environmental education requires more investment and innovation if future generations are to be able to fully respond to the climate emergency, experts said.
The deepening environmental crisis will continue to worsen if there is not significant support and investment in environmental and science education, the researchers warned. Reforms would help young people cope with the complex, interrelated and dynamic issues of our contemporary situation.
Experts argue that governments and other organizations must devote more funds to innovation in education in response to consistent warnings from scientists about trends in deteriorating ecosystems, biodiversity and climate, among other issues. environmental.
Write in Environmental education research, Alan Reid, of Monash University, Justin Dillon, University of Exeter, Jo-Anne Ferreira, University of Southern Queensland and Nicole Ardoin of Stanford University, who are editors of the journal, assert that environmental education is a “cornerstone for social and environmental changes” needed in the future.
Environmental and science education helps people identify misinformation and ideologies, and understand and respond appropriately to warnings about the climate emergency.
They add that consensus on our environmental problems is not, however, just a matter for scientists. It must be supported by those in the humanities, arts and social sciences, and by society in general. Only then will contemporary calls from organizations such as UNEP and UNESCO that “environmental education be an essential component of all education systems at all levels by 2025” will stand a chance. to secure the urgently needed multilateral and multi-level support.
Academics highlight international surveys that show many governments continue to fail to support and invest enough in environmental and sustainability education in preschools, schools, colleges and universities.
Professor Ferreira said: “The research base is clear on the superiority of whole-school approaches to rapidly resolving curricula to address topics such as climate emergency. Aspects of existential risk also mean that we need to look at investment and innovation in lifelong learning and not a school offer, alongside examining the current focus of initial teacher education and professional development continued. “
Professor Reid said: “The popularity of outdoor education centers and activities is a testament to the broader base of interest in the environment and nature, as well as when the arts, media and civil society address The Climate Crisis. Flagship environmental and science communication documentaries by the likes of David Attenborough examining the causes and effects of the climate emergency whetting many people’s appetites to understand more from credible sources. The Own Learning Journey from Sir David to understand the urgency of the situation underlines the rich learning opportunities available to all of us, especially in the run to COP26 in Glasgow. “
He added: “Ensuring that any form of environmental education is relevant, coherent, fit for purpose, appropriately funded and available to current and future generations within and beyond the program will be crucial to address to strong and relevant warnings from scientists. “
Professor Dillon said: “World leaders should discuss how to reimagine, recreate and restore environmental education to reduce the consequences of the environmental crisis. Countries should mainstream environmental and science education throughout society. in a way that makes sense locally. “
Professor Ardoin said: “It is only by investing in education – and in particular in environmental and sustainability education – that it will be possible to radically change the course we are on. currently, and thus to demonstrate to ourselves and to future generations that sufficient attention has been paid to our warnings. “
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