Green revolution is coming. Even traditionally conservative thinkers are beginning to come around. It isn’t just that it needs to come to prevent the extinction of life on earth (a compelling motivator for change), but also that green energy will soon make economic sense. That’s when it becomes hard to argue for the old ways of creating energy and managing resources. So if we are going to do everything differently, how can we educate for this change?
We’ve been learning about global warming in schools for at least 50 years (I asked my parents!). Many would say it hasn’t made that much difference, but look at the increasing environmental awareness, particularly amongst millennials. Environmental education, along with many other factors, is starting to seep into the global consciousness. However, continuing to teach young people about global warming, plastics and other problems is not enough. The key to educating responsible green citizens is giving them the opportunity to put it into practice. That means a realistic hands-on approach to going green. In effect, working out how they can make a difference, be it cycling to school or the foods they choose to eat – they are all political choices. This way, it stops being an external problem and becomes one in which we are all complicit.
One estimate is that 23% of young people will pursue green careers. So how can we make them succeed? The government has acknowledged the skills gap, but also the opportunity we have to bolster a post-Brexit, post-Covid 19 economy with green projects. Opportunities for college and university-age students to focus on green careers are essential. A bridge needs to be created in effect, to ease the path of young people into green industries.
The average student debt is now £50,800 in the UK. This clearly makes it difficult for certain sectors of the population to pursue higher and post-graduate education. We need to incentivise students to specialise in environmental areas. Thought leaders will be needed to provide vision, and in greater numbers. This is the biggest problem humanity has ever faced. Without a full commitment to change and the skills to make it happen, the world as we know it will be a thing of the past.
Sean Cain has an interesting TED talk called A Better Approach to Environmental Education in which he makes suggestions like field trips to recycling plants, and using social media to create a “weaved in” environmental curriculum in any subject. Ursula Salmon also gives an interesting talk called Growing Environmental Engineers, with many thought-provoking ideas.
Hi, my name's Phil. I am a Content Writer and Producer. My background is a mixture of education, social media and management. I've spent a lot of my career working in Latin America and Spain, and I have a love for languages and education.