Environmental awareness is to understand the fragility of our environment and the importance of its protection. Promoting environmental awareness is an easy way to become an environmental steward and participate in creating a brighter future for our children.
What is Environmental Awareness?
To define environmental awareness we must first understand the environmentalist movement. Environmentalism is an ideology that evokes the necessity and responsibility of humans to respect, protect, and preserve the natural world from its anthropogenic (caused by humans) afflictions.
Environmental awareness is an integral part of the movement’s success. By teaching our friends and family that the physical environment is fragile and indispensable we can begin fixing the problems that threaten it.
Numerous resources are available to promote environmental awareness; group learning (in or outside of class), informational and inspirational seminars, such as our Awakening the Dreamer Program, and environmental books and brochures are just a few of the tools that can get you involved in promoting the environment.
How to Promote Environmental Awareness
When learning about the environment’s declining health it is easy to feel discouraged, but what keeps us fighting for a healthy world is the future of our children. They should not have to inherit our environmental problems and in order to keep their future bright, spreading awareness is imperative.
Before you can begin promoting environmental awareness in your own community you must first make sure that you have a thorough understanding of environmental issues. Staying up to date on environmental news and reading comprehensive books about environmental threats are both great resources, but if you’re the type of person who prefers a more interactive approach, attending environmental seminars is a great option.
Our Awakening the Dreamer Symposium is an inspirational and informative seminar that discusses man-made environmental issues, while also instilling a sense of hopefulness for the future.
Join the 1000s and Kickstart Your Environmental Awareness Campaign with The Awakening The Dreamer Symposium.
A 4-minute introduction to the experience that will transform your relationship to the crisis and opportunity of this time in history.
Our Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, created by Pachamama Alliance, is an invaluable resource to help you become environmentally aware. Specifically, the symposium demonstrates that environmental destruction is the result of a flaw in the modern world’s belief system, in which our actions lack consequences. Meanwhile, our partnerns in the Amazon forest, the Achuar, (along with the rest of the world) are experiencing our consequences daily with the continued threat of big oil destroying their home. In order to keep their rainforest pristine we need to stop our dependence on fossil fuel and begin using environmentally sustainable resources.
The symposium makes a powerful point that the environment is in critical condition and while there is still hope to change our course, time is of the essence. During the symposium a desire and urgency to become an environmental steward is inspired; the symposium appropriately calls this desire as being in a state of “blessed unrest”.
Once the participant has awakened into this state of “blessed unrest”, they are supplied with courses of action and resources to begin promoting environmental awareness in their community.
Make a Difference
After you have become environmentally aware you can begin teaching those around you. The symposium acts a catalyst for you to begin your role as an environmental steward and provides online courses and other resources to keep you on track.
A good course of action that ensures your continued participation as a global citizen is to pick an environmental issue that strikes you as most urgent. The amount of environmental issue seems limitless and while they are all important it is best to initially focus on one cause. You will soon see that all environmental issues are intertwined and will find your niche of interest.
After your decision is made you then explain its importance and urgency to your community, friends, and family, create beneficial communal projects, and find more causes to become apart of.
Examples of Environmental Issues That Need Fixing
Here are several cause-and-effect problems that harm our environment:
- Oil Drilling- This issue is one that causes a great deal of environmental destruction. Our dependence on fossil fuel is a global addiction that affects every aspect of the world. Oil spills and offshore drilling poison marine life, oil drilling (on land) suffocates the earth, and the combustion of fossil fuels add to the increased atmospheric CO₂, which in turns causes the progression of global warming and ocean acidification. This is a multifaceted issue and is a good cause to get involved with because it covers such a broad spectrum of issues.
- Deforestation- Millions of acres of forest are cut down for industrial benefit, such as large scale farming, oil mining, and the production of paper goods. Deforestation causes wildlife and biodiversity extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a Red List of environmentally threatened species with up-to-date information. Oftentimes, the cause for their threatened existence is listed as loss of habitat as it is for many Amazonian species.
- Production of Plastic Goods- Currently our society creates a great deal of waste and much of that waste is comprised of plastic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010 alone 31 million tons of plastic waste was created. This waste ends up all over the globe in both land and water, a good example is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Not only is plastic waste an issue, but the production of plastic is also dependent on fossil fuel combustion. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in 2010 191 million barrels of liquid petroleum gases(LPG) and natural gas liquids (NGL) were used in the U.S. alone to produce plastic goods.
Share Your Knowledge
Once you have chosen your cause and figured out some beneficial activities, share it with the world! Get your community, friends, and family involved. Use your political voice in your local city council and propose environmentally sustainable and beneficial projects. Start a community garden, buy from local stores and farmers markets, make your public transportation more efficient and/or start implementing clean energy strategies in your community centers.
It is more than likely that your children are learning about environmentalism in school, but it does not have to be limited to school grounds. Children learn a great deal at home and by using green practices you will be providing them with a strong foundation for environmental stewardship. Promoting environmental awareness is a crucial part of being an environmental steward. Start participating in the change and teach your community what it means to be sustainable.
Take A Stand for Sustainability
Enroll in Pachamama Alliance’s free, 2-hour online course, Awakening the Dreamer, which will equip you with the education, resources, and community needed to take effective action in creating a new future that works for all.
The need to spread environmental awareness is enormous in the context of successfully addressing environmental problems. It is linked to environmental education.
On the one hand, provision of environmental education creates greater awareness in individuals and communities with respect to putting environmental resources to use even while conserving them. On the other hand, greater environmental awareness increases the scope of environmental education—as a discipline as well as inclusion of aspects of it within the scope of other disciplines.
Various media and means are used to spread environmental awareness among the people. The electronic media and the print media are the major mediums of spreading information about environment among the populace—educating them about environmental concerns and ways to address these. News, features, talk shows and discussions on television and radio are increasingly focusing on environmental themes of today.
Global warming, air and water pollution, overuse of fertilisers, the negative implication of use of plastics and polythene, conservation of energy and fuel resources, all these are topics of current media debate. Newspapers and magazines too are, one may say, more environment conscious than ever before. Articles and analyses explore the environmental debacle that our globe is headed towards and create awareness in the common man about environmental problems.
Schools and universities play an enormously significant role in generating environmental awareness among children and the youth. Textbooks reveal an increasing concern with environmental problems and solutions and numerous courses are available at the postgraduate level that provide environmental education relating to management and conservation of environment, environmental health, social ecology and so on.
The issue of environmental education has been a major cause of concern. Several national and international seminars, conferences and workshops have stressed the need of environmental education.
The United Nations Conference on Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972 played a key role in the emergence of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UNESCO held an International Workshop on Environmental Education (ICEE) at Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1975 to identify the guiding principles of promoting environmental awareness education.
It was followed by the International Conference on Environmental Education at Tbilisi, USSR, in 1977 which formulated objectives and principles for developing environmental education at formal and non-formal levels.
The ICEE has been held at New Delhi in the past—in 1980 and in 1985. It was observed during these conferences that the need of the hour was to help create social consciousness and awareness about the harm caused by ecological disruptions.
Environmental Education Goals:
The need for environmental education is recognised by all but there is little actual experience or knowledge about the way to provide it.
The objective of such education is that individuals and social groups should become aware, acquire knowledge, develop attitudes, skills and abilities and be able to address real-life environmental problems. Integrated inter-disciplinary and holistic education is to be provided to all sections of the population. It would first of all require a new approach to education itself—an approach which cuts across different subjects in schools and universities.
The goals of environmental education as pointed out by the UNESCO are to create environmental awareness in the world population—an awareness about the whole environment and problems associated with it and generate commitment in people to work individually and in unison towards solving existing problems and preventing new ones from emerging.
The objectives of environmental education formulated at the UNESCO’s Tbilisi Conference (1977) were as follows:
i. Acquiring an awareness of the whole environment and the many problems that have arisen with regard to human misuse of environment and developing a sensitivity in people in this context.
ii. Groups and individuals must gain skills for identifying and solving environmental problems.
iii. To help people gain experiences and gains a basic understanding of the environment and related problems.
iv. Help people acquire values and feelings of concern for the environment and encourage their participation in improvement and safeguarding of our environment.
v. Ensure evaluation of environmental measures and programmes in terms of ecological, economic, social, aesthetic and educational factors.
vi. Provide to all an opportunity to get involved at all levels in the task of resolving environmental problems.
The guiding principles laid down by the UNESCO ICEE at Tbilisi in 1977 were as follows:
i. The need is to consider the environment as a whole, that is, the natural, technological, social, economic, political, cultural, moral, historical and aesthetic environment.
ii. The need is to have a continuous life process of environmental education—from pre-school level to formal and non-formal education levels.
iii. An interdisciplinary approach to spread awareness of environmental problems and knowledge about environment is necessary.
iv. Major environmental issues are to be ‘ examined from local, national, regional and international perspectives.
v. The complex nature of environmental problems are to be recognised and critical thinking and problem-solving skills need to be developed in people.
vi. The value of local, national and international cooperation in addressing environmental problems is to be highlighted.
vii. The need is to use available knowledge about the environment and the many available approaches to teaching and learning.
viii. Learners must be acquainted with the real causes of environmental problems and the way these get expressed and must be encouraged to participate in prevention and resolving environmental problems.
ix. School-level education needs to link up aspects of sensitivity to environment, knowledge of environment and problem-solving.
x. The need is to stress on current as well as potential environmental situations.
xi. All plans for social, economic and other kinds of growth and development must pay attention to environmental aspects.
Classification of Programmes:
Understanding the dire need for creating environmental awareness and ensuring a holistic environmental education to all, a classification of environmental education programmes has been worked out. Newman’s (1981)
Classification stresses on three aspects:
Environmental studies, environmental science and environmental engineering.
Environmental studies is concerned with environmental disturbance and reducing its impact through changes in society. This can be related to social sciences.
Environmental science is concerned with the study of processes in environment (water, soil, air and organisms) that result in pollution or degradation of environment. It deals with setting up a standard that is clean, safe and healthy for the natural ecosystem as well as human life. This is related to physical and natural sciences.
Environmental engineering is the study of the technical processes that help in reducing pollution and assessing the impact of these on environment. It is related to engineering sciences.
In the USA, the National Environmental Education Act, passed by the Congress in 1990, is aimed at improving understanding among the people about the natural and built environment and the relationship between human beings and environment.
It also aims to encourage post- secondary school students to take up careers in environment. Overall, the objective is to develop awareness and appreciation of our environment, familiarise students about current environmental issues and cultivate investigative, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in various environmental problems.