I just read the article “’Dismal’ and ‘inadequate’ climate education must be tackled, students and teachers say” and I completely agree with the need for a necessary education reform, not only in climate education but across the board.
Climate education can only be authentic and effective though, if we, the so-called grown-ups, become climate role models. Our children are highly aware of the threats to our planet and their future and it’s our responsibility to educate and support them towards more hope and optimism.
Many youngsters already present symptoms of eco-anxiety with their mental health adversely affected. It is so important that we don’t stop at implementing a climate curriculum. We need to show in our actions and everyday behaviours that we care and are serious about making the necessary changes to support climate health.
Thoughts like “What difference can we make?”, or “I can’t do anything about this anyway!” often prevent us from taking action. Yet we can all do our bit, however small. Just imagine if we all made one single change and used refillable coffee cups, how many millions of tons of rubbish that would save each day? What’s even more important in relation to educating our children is that they see our effort and know it’s not just empty words without action.
Here are some ideas on how we can show our children that we are in this together and be climate role models:
- Stop buying bottled water and invest in a water filter and refillable bottles.
- Swapping two staple food items to organic.
- Consciously have two meat-free days a week.
- Visiting a farmer’s market and buying plastic-free produce.
- Shopping with local businesses.
- Reducing car journeys where possible.
- Buying cotton clothes instead of polyester.
- Boycotting produce containing palm oil.
- Supporting environmental initiatives in your locality.
- Planting a tree.
- Growing some food, even just in a flower pot.
- Finding plastic-free or more eco-friendly alternatives: ie wooden toothbrush, solid shampoo/soap, eco washing powder, products in glass bottles or tins.
Let’s be our children’s climate superheroes:
Our children need to know that we have their back, that we recognise the challenges we are facing and that we are actively engaged in making our contribution towards a better future. We underestimate our children’s awareness and to think we can just carry on as normal while teachers work with them to work out strategies and solutions in climate education would not make sense.
Eco anxiety doesn’t just affect our children, all of us are affected to some degree, even if we are not aware of it. Denial is one of the widespread protection mechanisms present in our society. It is vital that climate education in schools and beyond is supported with approaches addressing the mental health aspect. Change can only happen when we recognise the facts, but it is equally important not to get overwhelmed and find ways to support our mental health.
How can we “greenskill’ our lives and professional practice authentically?
Educators, healthcare professionals and the wider population can learn about methodologies that do both: honour and see what is happening to our planet Earth and find empowering and hopeful practices to help us move forward in a positive and proactive way. One essential part of this is integrating more conscious Nature Connection into all aspects of our lives.
For anyone interested in learning more, we offer various trainings for educators and healthcare professionals that can support us in meeting the challenges around the climate crisis in a compassionate end effective way:
Mindfulness Rooted Ecotherapy is a professional online ecotherapy training (approved through CPD, IICT, IMMA). This training provides knowledge, methodologies and approaches to integrate Nature Connection and address modern-day challenges into professional education and healthcare settings. REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN Find out more here.
Mindful Nature Education is a 4-week online training for educators who want to learn more about Nature Education and how to integrate it into the mainstream curriculum. The course includes extensive resources ready to use. The course is on-demand and can be taken anytime. Register here.