We all care about our planet – how can you not? It’s the only one with penguins (as far as we know!).
But our planet needs our help. Climate change is real, and it’s going to take more than a love of penguins to create positive environmental change for the future.
One of the biggest factors in tackling climate change is education; more people need to know what’s happening, why and what they can do to change it.
That’s where World Environmental Education Day comes in.
What is Climate Change?
First things, in the name of education, let’s do a quick recap on climate change.
Climate change is the long-term alteration of the temperature and expected weather patterns within a specific geographic place. The cause of current climate change is primarily attributed to human activity. This includes burning fossil fuels, like natural gas, oil, and coal. Burning these materials releases what are called ‘greenhouse gases’ into Earth’s atmosphere. These gases have a negative impact on the atmosphere.
Human-induced climate change includes global warming, driven by emissions of greenhouse gases. This has resulted in large-scale shifts in weather patterns, including rising temperatures in some of the Earth’s coldest climates.
What is World Environmental Education Day?
World Environmental Education Day is celebrated on 14 October each year. It was started in 1977 after the United Nations Intergovernmental Conference on Environmental Education, organised by UNESCO and UNEP.
The messages of the day are as important now as they were then.
Schools, businesses, organisations, museums, national parks and education centres celebrate the day through organised events with a focus on:
- Highlighting the importance of developing environmental education within our communities.
- Raising awareness of the complexities of the challenges in a world where everything is ever more interconnected.
- Changing perceptions of the human relationship with the environment promotes positive attitudes towards better supporting our environment through our behaviours.
- Making people more aware of their role in creating more environmentally friendly, livable and equitable societies.
World Environmental Education Day is coordinated by the worldwide network of environmental educators who give life to the main congress in that field – the World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC).
How Can You Get Involved?
World Environmental Education Day is not yet recognised as a formal day, and the WEEC would love to change this.
While hundreds of groups worldwide get involved and organise events, the WEEC wants to see this happen on a much larger scale and for more schools to get involved.
One of the ways to get involved is by helping to get signatures for their petition to have the day formally recognised globally.
Why not try:
- Asking parents, friends and relatives to sign the petition and support the day.
- Seeing how many teachers you can get involved and sign the petition.
- Speaking with members in your local community, sports teams, activity clubs and more.
Even if people don’t want to sign, you’ll be promoting the day and raising environmental education – a win-win!
Other Ways to Raise Environmental Education
There are heaps of ways to raise environmental education outside of one single day, and in fact – it’s definitely something we should all be doing!
Here are a few ways you can get started:
- Focus on your own education first: You can’t help others if you’ve got education gaps yourself! Take some time to read up and educate yourself about environmental impact in your local community and state. What efforts are already happening, and how can you get involved?
- Speak to your teachers about school efforts: Most schools are pretty savvy about doing their bit to be environmentally friendly but do you know what they are and the impact it’s having? If you and some friends are keen to do more, you could take the lead and speak with your principal and teachers about other ways you can raise environmental education and efforts. Not only will you be doing your bit but demonstrating proactivity, problem-solving, and action will look great on your future resume!
- Consider the three Rs: These are Reduce waste, Reuse resources, and Recycle materials. Think about how much you’re doing under the three Rs in your school, classroom, home, sports or activity club, and whether you could do better.
- Start an environmental club: Environmental education can be anything that helps you and those around you learn more about our planet and how we can help! You could start a book club, a film club, volunteer to help with local nature conservation or start a community vegetable garden! Anything you do that educates others and raises awareness will go a long way.
It’s never too late to get started, and who knows where your efforts could take you?
Careers in environmental impact and sustainability are growing. This could be your stepping stone into a lifelong, fulfilling career!