Commonplace Blog Post #1 – What does the environment mean to you? What is Environmental Education for?

September 19, 2015 Derek Hall 4 Comments

By definition, environment can mean many different things, however, for our Environmental Education class I would affiliate the definition with our living ecology. Merriam-Webster has one definition listed as: “the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival”. This definition is accurate in terms of what I envision when thinking of our environment.

tree-huggerUnder this premise the environment means a great deal to me. I am a conservationist at heart, and I have long described myself as a modern age hippie, but I will settle with the title of futuristic tree hugger, if you will. Ever since I was young I was encouraged to embrace and respect nature. We took many camping trips to Algonquin Provincial Park in Northern Ontario, and I believe this really developed my connection with the environment, our role within it, and our tremendous impact on it.

To me the environment consists of an inconceivable amount of living systems interconnected, and it is perhaps mankind’s most important responsibility to monitor, research, document, and preserve the ever-changing environment. Overall, I do feel that we have failed in more ways than one, but I also believe that awareness has consistently been evolving throughout the past few decades. Where we have failed in a multitude of ways, we have simultaneously developed new methods of preservation. With a modern emphasis in green, renewable energy, and the ongoing developments in technology, greener manufacturing practices, the recycling industry, and even right down to individuals actually paying attention to their own carbon footprints, I do see us stepping in the right direction. These might be baby steps, and I do think that we could always be doing more, but at the very least the preservation of our environment is being discussed more frequently, and it has become a part of our collective consciousness.

I see Environmental Education as somewhat of a guiding hand directing the future of pedagogy down a positive and more aware path. To understand the environment in greater detail would give all future educators a platform to teach younger generations from an informed and socially conscious perspective. I feel that there is no better way to teach than by example. I believe Environmental Education is for empowering students with the tools they need to teach sustainability and accountability.

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