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Environmental education and its importance

By April C. Barbosa


The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental education as a process that enables people to investigate environmental issues, engage in problem-solving, and take steps to better the environment. As a result, people have a deeper comprehension of environmental problems and the knowledge and abilities to make sensible decisions. Included among its components are awareness and sensitivity to the environment and environmental challenges, knowledge and understanding of the environment and environmental challenges, attitudes of concern for the environment and motivation to maintain or improve environmental quality, abilities to recognize and contribute to the resolution of environmental challenges, and involvement in activities that advance the resolution of environmental challenges.


Here in the Philippines, several actions are being taken care of by the government. These steps aim to further strengthen the protection as well as the preservation of the environment for today’s generations and the ones still unborn.


This subject is covered in a post written by the Global Environmental Education Partnership. It claims that by promoting awareness of the value of environmental education for the Philippines’ sustained national development, the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act has helped to raise that country’s level of environmental literacy. This policy requires that environmental education be incorporated into all levels of school curricula, and that students be given a core curricular foundation in environmental issues and laws, the state of local and global environmental policy, citizens’ obligations to engage in environmentally responsible behavior, and sustainable development.


The Global Environmental Education Partnership also mentioned how the K-12 curriculum incorporates the discussion on environmental education. The Philippines launched a program dubbed the National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools in 2009 in accordance with the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The program honors schools for incorporating environmental education into their instruction, administration, and programming and is a key component of the implementation roadmap for the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008. The improvement of environmental consciousness among the educational community through structured EE/ESD learning and experiences is also articulated as a strategic action in the ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan 2014-2018, which includes the Philippines as a partner.


Lastly, the article states that the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority will work with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to implement capacity-building programs in environmental education. This is in accordance with Section 7 of Republic Act No. 9512, also known as the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008. These consist of courses for teacher education as well as workshops, conferences, and training related to environmental education.


However, some individuals still think that environmental education does not have a significant number of beneficial effects, especially on people from rural areas, despite all the current initiatives the government has given and ensured. Take this article by Laverne Tarubal for example. He illustrated a straightforward academic issue in which a student from Mulanay, Quezon was unable to hand in his module because he was planning to assist in burning charcoal in the mountains. Aside from the fact that a child is being compelled to work at a job that adversely affects his education, he is also doing work that slowly degrades the environment. Additionally, Aguas (2018) stated in his article that due to a combination of natural and human forces, the Philippines have historically been at the epicenter of numerous ecological disasters.


In light of the above mentioned data and information, I came to a realization how beneficial environmental education is to the people outside of the school who are parents, families, and the people of the community. If teaching the students at school is taking so much time to properly advocate for environmental causes, why don’t we make the people around them, together with them, get involved?


Hence the conduct of the 2-year-old collaborative effort of our school, Guinaban Elementary School, and the Barangay Local Government Unit of Guinaban called Solid Waste Management Program: A Community Project. This attempts to educate the community as a whole about how improper disposal of solid waste harms and destroys the environment. The school and the barangay council host a seminar with a range of resource speakers and invited guests to discuss the environment, its significance, the issues it faces, and the mechanisms that can be used to target the majority of them and improve the current state of the world and its residents.


According to the European Environment Agency, poor waste management directly impacts many ecosystems and species in primarily rural cities and contributes to climate change and air pollution. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas linked to climate change, is released by landfills, which are the last resort in the waste hierarchy. Microorganisms in landfills convert biodegradable waste, including food, paper, and yard waste, into methane. Landfills may contaminate soil and water depending on how they are constructed.


Aside from consultative seminars, Solid Waste Management Program: A Community Project is also divided into two different categories at the center. The first step is for households to break up their plastic garbage, recycle it, and put it in 1-liter soft drink bottles. They will be able to produce an amount of kilograms equal to the kilograms of rice in total. The second is home visits, at which time families are urged to create their own compost pits, recycle, and separate their garbage. Residents and award recipients are invited to the year’s culmination event, which is hosted by the school’s teaching staff and barangay officials as a way of honoring a full year of environmental stewardship. It is when everyone exchanges their thoughts and realizations about the project and its importance to them and their own families.


The time is now more than ever to begin reshaping ourselves into the watchful defenders of the planet we live in. The only chance for future generations to ensure that the resources we have today will still be available in the days to come is for humans to do so. However, such acts shouldn’t be left up to the government alone. People from all diverse backgrounds and social strata must work together in a collaborative effort. Because, we are ultimately the only one who get the most from it, despite being the main cause of it deteriorating in the first place.


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