“With,” Not “For” Students
When my children were very young, I did everything for them, but as they grew I started doing more things with them so they would learn how to take care of themselves. I believe that environmental education should follow a similar framework. As soon as possible, we need to involve students in the planning and execution of tasks ranging from creating resource conservation policy at the school board level to training their fellow students to create a culture of conservation on campus. Students are capable of helping with waste & energy audits, planning to conserve water on campus, and so much more. In the process, they learn how the adult work works (or doesn’t work) and what it requires to take an idea for change all the way to fruition.
Learn By Doing
Let’s eliminate needless age-segregation in 2019. Let’s invite students to be part of all aspects of the greening of our schools. Environmental activism and conservation are a multi-generational issues, which is why I believe we must equip our students to be part of the solution. The high school students I work with through our Local Leaders of the 21st Century™ program work alongside adults in meetings, planning sessions and presentations to the community.
Has it forced adults to be on their best behavior as tough decisions are being made? You bet!
But the upshot is a process that includes the wisdom and insight of all campus stakeholder groups, including the ones who will inherit the environmental challenges of the coming decades. We are not just preparing them to be environmental stewards, we are preparing them to be effective, engaged citizens who know how to create substantive change in their communities.
Actively Create Opportunities
From its inception in 2002, the Go Green Initiative has been, first and foremost, a child advocacy organization . We will create a better future for our children, and I believe the time has come to encourage all our schools to incorporate a multi-generational approach to environmental action. Please think of 2-3 ways you can create real-world leadership opportunities for your students in the coming weeks.