The Gen Z kids have been stepping up when it comes to the topic of environmental awareness. Greta Thunberg is merely one example of a young environmental activist. Youth worldwide have started voicing their opinions and stands against climate change and the organizations that contribute to it.
The youth hold the potential to change the future that lies ahead of us. However, what is concerning is how those currently in power dismiss the voice of the youth merely because of age. With this crucial issue that can make or break everyone’s future a few years from now, how do we ensure that the kids today continue to fight for what they believe in? As educators, how can we encourage kids to pursue their advocacy on environmental awareness?
What does it mean to be “green-minded?” It is slang that refers to prioritizing environmental causes. This mindset places the environment at the forefront of lifestyle decisions above personal interest.
With the global situation on climate change, and the evident effects of human ignorance and neglect, it is no surprise that youth worldwide have started speaking up. They have the right to a healthier and greener future, yet those in power turn a blind eye to the youth’s advocacies.
As educators of the youth, how do we encourage them to continue voicing their advocacies, especially for climate action? How do we teach them to ignore discouragement and discrimination from those in power? One important thing we can do is lead by example.
No matter what age your students may be, having a good support system when everyone is trying to bring them down will always be a good source of encouragement. So how can you improve your school’s youth support system?
To encourage your students, especially if you are teaching older kids, discussing environmental issues may be a great way to encourage them to pursue their advocacies. Talk to them about current news and relevant innovations that directly relate to their concerns. Get to know your students better by openly communicating with them.
Despite having singular environmental advocacy, each student may have a different area of interest under this broad umbrella. Knowing their teacher pays attention to these small details may encourage them to improve and to continue taking appropriate action for their advocacies.
On the other hand, if you teach younger kids who have not established their ideas and opinions about climate change, it is a good idea to slowly introduce to them the importance of this advocacy. Without imposing ideas on these young minds, you can include subtle eco-friendly practices in the classroom as an educator. This can be in recycling for craft activities, reminding them to conserve water when using the comfort room, or even reading them books about environmental awareness and its importance.
Beyond the Classroom
Your class may have ended, but education and action do not end there. Students, especially older ones, may hold schools accountable for unsustainable school practices and policies. As part of the school board, you may opt to initiate an environmental awareness club or even take it further and introduce major changes in the school’s action against climate change.
Apart from recycling craft materials inside the classroom, the school administration may initiate a recycling drive wherein students may donate their recyclables. This is a visible way to let students know that the school is taking action in line with their interests.
Promote the conservation of water and energy all over the school. To do so, you may consider putting up signage that reminds students to practice eco-friendly choices (make sure these signage are eco-friendly as well).
Get the parents involved. Set up a parent meeting and discuss the importance of environmental education. This may be a tricky option, especially if the parents have different views on climate change, but it is a major step to encourage students.
One valuable investment that the school can take pride in is solar energy. If your school permits, consider converting into an energy-sustainable school by installing Tesla Powerwall. Choosing to invest in this will encourage students by setting an example. It will also assist in school maintenance costs due to the nature of solar power.
The “green revolution” is a growing movement, yet its potential to improve the future remains to be seen. With the ignorance and neglect from those in power, the struggle to fight for our right to a green future remains. As educators, we are in a position of influence that we can use to encourage young minds to pursue their passion and their advocacies. Our duty and responsibility are to be part of the youth’s support system as they battle it out in the real world.