Schools can play a crucial role in fostering environmental citizenship among students, but also in mitigating their own substantial carbon footprint.
Imagine a world where the highest paid job is salvaging treasures from once coastal cities now submerged beneath the expanding oceans. No, this isn’t a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie. It’s one of many possible futures our planet faces if we don’t take serious action on climate change.
There’s simply no denying it. Poll after poll has shown that Canadians are increasingly concerned about climate change. This is especially true among young Canadians.
Inspired by passionate young activists like 16-year-old Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg and the #FridaysForFuture movement, our youth are eager to see substantial action on climate change in their daily lives – including at school. The average student will spend at least 15,000 hours in the classroom from Kindergarten to Grade 12. During that time, they not only want to engage in activities and initiatives that promote environmental sustainability, but they also want to be immersed in an atmosphere where they live it. Today, John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in London, Ontario seeks to become Canada’s first carbon neutral school by 2021 through reducing greenhouse gas emissions to near zero. This is just the start.
The EdCan Network acknowledges the crucial role that schools can play in fostering environmental citizenship among students, but also in mitigating their own substantial carbon footprint. Once students and teachers become engaged, their heightened environmental awareness broadens to other issues, and spreads into their family lives and communities. Already, we have seen schools and school districts make great strides as trailblazers in this area.
Consequently, the EdCan Network is excited to announce that our March 2020 issue will focus on “Greening Our Schools” to tie in with Global Recycling Day on March 18, 2020. We’ll address topics like food waste in schools, energy reduction, how climate change is taught in classrooms, environmental leadership, and Indigenous approaches to environmentalism. But that’s not all. In the coming months, we will lead a national conversation on how the key players in K-12 education – students, parents, educators and other stakeholders – can be the catalyst to real, impactful action on climate change.
Today, talk and inaction can only take us so far in addressing climate change. If we desire a future that is closer to Star Trek than Terminator 2: Judgment Day, it’s time to go green on education.
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First published in Education Canada, September 2019