Environmental education today becomes a strategic objective for the present and future of our country.
The environmental challenge, linked to the conservation of the resources of our planet, represents a challenge that is no longer impossible for future generations.
We are in an era that imposes on the whole world, but in particular on Italy and Europe, radically different choices from those made in the past:
far from the traditional production model , directed towards a new model of economy that respects the environment,
oriented to a society that does not produce waste but knows how to create wealth and well-being with the reuse and regeneration of resources .
For this to happen, a profound change of mentality is needed involving institutions, businesses and individuals.
Where does it all start?
This new national awareness can only begin with schools and students of all ages .
Above all by the youngest , what we could call “environmental natives”: a generation that in the daily routine of behavior already finds respect for the environment in which it lives as a natural perspective.
How to teach environmental education in school.
There are eight educational courses covering the following topics:
1. “Protection of waters and the sea” (Childhood, Primary)
2. “Protection of biodiversity: Flora and Fauna” (Childhood, Primary)
3. ” Sustainable nutrition ” (Childhood, Primary, Secondary secondary school, Secondary secondary school)
4. ” Waste management ” (Childhood, Primary, Secondary first degree)
5. “Protection of biodiversity: ecosystem services” (Secondary secondary school, Secondary secondary school)
6. “Green economy: green jobs & green talent” (Secondary secondary school)
7. “The sustainable city: pollution, soil and waste consumption” (Secondary secondary)
8. “Adaptation to climate change : hydrogeological instability” (Secondary secondary)
These courses for environmental education are intended to direct teachers for the design and implementation of programs and activities on the topics listed and have been structured in two parts.
First part on environmental education at school.
It consists of a framework and contextualization of the topic dealt with and the correlation of this with the other topics.
In this first part the references are indicated to deepen the topics also by reading the attached technical data sheets.
Second part on environmental education at school.
It intends to provide ideas to teachers on the possible declination of the topic within the curricula.
Didactic purposes and skills on which to build specific didactic programs are suggested and reference methodologies and possible tools are indicated.
For the secondary school, the educational skills and purposes are transversal, leaving the teachers the declination in specific didactic objectives with respect to the different curricula.
How is environmental education developing in Europe?
In the European Union, environmental education has become an integral part of primary and secondary school curricular activities: many Member States have introduced environmental education into their schools as a didactic training offer.
The study of the environment is in all respects a fundamental subject to prepare pupils to build a green future and to live in a sustainable society.
The first approach to teaching must be for the child the beginning of his journey in symbiosis with the environment.
Already from kindergarten attention is introduced towards the theme of ethically oriented behavior and respectful of others, the environment and nature .
Among the goals for the development of competence is the observation of living organisms and their environments, natural phenomena, with particular attention to their changes.
The first cycle school covers a fundamental period of time for a full development of the person and promotes the conscious practice of citizenship.
Citizenship education aims to make the student aware of the importance of taking care of themselves and others as well as the environment in the development of legality and responsible ethics.
Environmental education is dealt with in the various disciplines in relation to the age and maturity of the students in a transversal way.
In all historical phases, the environment has radically affected, more than any other factor, the evolution and changes of civilizations.
Starting from primary school, learning must be centered on the recognition of this direct relationship.
Issues that concern all the problems of human life on the planet will be addressed: the use of different energy sources, the defense against adverse natural elements and the progressive transformation of the natural environment, the many steps of technical development, the conservation of goods and food.
One of the objectives at the end of the third class of the first grade secondary school is to know how to use the knowledge learned to understand ecological, intercultural and civic coexistence problems.
The life of a territory, the maintenance of its geophysical and geopolitical diversity, are directly linked to the virtuous environmental behaviors of the citizens who populate it.
Recycling and disposal of waste, fight against pollution, development of renewable energy production techniques, protection of biodiversity, adaptation to climate change:
these are subjects of strong geographic relevance, in which connection with scientific and technical disciplines is essential.
The convergence point results in education in the territory, understood as an exercise of active citizenship, and in active commitment to the environment and development.
The presence of geography in the curriculum contributes to providing the tools to train autonomous and critical people who are capable of making responsible decisions in the management of the territory and in the protection of the environment, with a conscious look to the future.
The learning objectives at the end of primary school are: to capture in the world landscapes of history the progressive transformations made by man on the natural landscape and to realize that geographic space is a territorial system, made up of physical and anthropic elements linked by connection relationships and / or interdependence.
Learning objectives at the end of the third class of the first grade secondary school are the knowledge of the elements that characterize the main Italian, European and world landscapes, identifying the analogies and the elements of particular environmental and cultural value to be protected and enhanced,
as well as the identification of problems relating to the protection and enhancement of the natural and cultural heritage, proposing suitable solutions in one’s own context of life.
Scientific knowledge derives directly from environmental knowledge and strengthens its protection.
Among the goals for the development of skills at the end of primary school we find respect and recognition of the social and natural value of the environment.
Learning objectives at the end of the third grade of primary school are the observation and interpretation of natural environmental transformations
(by the sun, atmospheric agents, water, etc.)
and those by man
(urbanization, cultivation, industrialization, etc.);
recognition in other living organisms, in relation to their environments, needs analogous to their own and the interpretation of environmental transformations, including global ones, in particular those resulting from the modifying action of man;
awareness of the role of the human community on Earth, of the finite nature of resources, and of inequality in accessing them;
the adoption of environmentally sustainable behavior and personal choices; respect for biodiversity in environmental systems.
The study of art and image.
The environment inspires art, art shapes the environment that surrounds it.
The enhancement of this relationship becomes decisive for the safeguard of a civilization and common well-being.
As part of the training activities, familiarity with quality images and works of art sensitizes and enhances the pupil’s creative, aesthetic and expressive abilities,
it strengthens cultural preparation and helps educate it to an active and responsible citizenship.
In this way the pupil is educated to safeguard as well as to the conservation of the artistic and environmental heritage, starting from the territory to which he belongs.
This will allow the pupil to recognize and appreciate the characteristic aspects of the environmental heritage by raising awareness of the problems related to its protection and conservation.
There can be no technological progress that puts aside respect for the environment:
this applies to big political and industrial decisions, as in the daily choices of citizens.
This teaching area deals with the interventions and transformations that man works towards the environment to ensure survival and, more generally, to satisfy his needs.
It is the specific task of technology to promote in children and young people forms of thought and attitudes that prepare and support transformative interventions of the surrounding environment through a conscious and intelligent use of resources,
respecting various constraints or limitations:
economic, instrumental, cognitive, dimensional, social, temporal, ethical.
Already at the end of primary school children know some processes of transformation of resources and energy consumption, with the related environmental impact.
While at the end of the secondary school, the pupil recognizes in the environment that surrounds him the main technological systems and the multiple relationships they establish with living beings and other natural elements;
knows the main processes of transformation of resources or production of goods and recognizes the different forms of energy involved
To avoid leaving the new generations a world full of dangers and diseases, we must try to change our habits.