The generation bomb is ticking – what to do to stop it from exploding?
To prevent the bomb from exploding we need to educate. Teach the following generations not to aggravate the problems that are already present, teach them to be able to find possible solutions, teach then to not make the mistakes our generation made. However, we also need to educate this generation to change their way of thinking and lifestyle, live more consciously.
There is no more untouched ground on the Earth, mankind has populated most of it, it’s existence effects the whole planet. The burden on nature to satisfy our daily needs is bigger and bigger, which causes the destruction of nature, resulting in quicker extinction of species, desertification, accumulation of pesticides, growing occurence of health problems, starvation and poverty.
Environmental education, as a tool
The aim of environmental education is to give humanity tools to partly cure environmental problems, hence improving their own quality of life. The goal is to improve quality of life, conserve the diversity of the biosphere, establish a new lifestyle and behavioral pattern. It’s intention is to conserve and sustain the biosphere and the society living in it, nature, constructed and social environment by funding an emotional and intellectual customs system respecting humanity. Summarizing, environmental education is a way of teaching culture, that equally includes knowledge and lifestyle too.
To construct responsible behavior towards environment and nature, has always been present in human history, but the value and the emphasis on the relationship between humanity and nature has shown different importance throughout different historical eras. In Hungary environmental education began to appear in the 1970s and ’80s, but the first regulations providing legal frame for environmental education have only appeared in the middle of ’90s. The national core curriculum has introduced institutional environmental education, followed by several programs and strategies establishing the importance of environmental education.
What do the numbers show?
According to data from 2013, from 4 thousand Hungarian preschools environmental education is only provided in 204, and among 3 thousand schools in 354. The numbers are not very appealing , but it is important to mention, that year by year environmental education incorporated into school classes and out of school classes expands and private initiations that deal with the environmental education of children are also spreading with teaching gardening, new pedagogcial methods and experience-based learning and playful teaching. They wish to shape the view of the children – and by them, their parent’s – to live a greener, an environmentally more conscious life.
In the arena of environmental education, we can see conscious education first at preschool, by playing. Family education is also an important part of it and it’s success greatly depends on the view of the parents and the family model they follow. Which means, environmental education mainly depends on the upbringing. Today there is environmental education on every level of education from kindergarten to PhD training.
The practice of environmental education in the EU
The EU has no core corriculum regarding environmental education, it only composes recomendations for the ministry of education or parliament of member states. This way the environmental educatioinal practice in each state is shaped by educational documents that are the tools of the educational policy on national level. It is generally true about EU member states that they teach environmental education not as a separate subject but incorporated into each of the subjects taught. When developing environmental education, developers of member states connect goals regarding education development and learning development with teaching new contents. This is especially true for those European environmental educational networks, in which Hungary also participates. The students and teachers of several Hungarian schools take part in cooperations such as GLOBE, Science Across Europe, and OECD ENSI – SEED. SEED aims to link local environmental education with school development. Sceince Across Europe contains elements such as pedagocial project method and multidisciplinarity, which they connect with the development of the interantional communication competences of students. The program GLOBE the main educational elements are using educational databases and exploring local environment.
Transolator: Anna Kőszegi
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