In this Q&A, three environmental education leaders share how critical environmental educational experiences are to connecting youth with the natural world, and building the critical skills in science, leadership and community that students will need in a changing future.
Shelley Brooks, PhD, is a program coordinator for the California History–Social Science Project, developing professional learning and teaching resources for K–12 teachers. In this article, she reflects on coordinating environmental literacy summer institutes, which promoted environmental education for both teachers and students.
Parent Michele Whiteaker reflects on the importance of ecoliteracy as part of her son’s K-12 education. She explains how outdoor experiences can be integrated into every subject of every grade, with students exploring and problem-solving along the way, so that environmental literacy can impact students in a lasting way.
Environmental literacy and social justice are inextricably linked, and recent changes in California’s curricula fully encourage pedagogical exploration of this linkage. A school district representative, a teacher, and a student share their perspectives about the intersection of environmental literacy and social justice.
I believe that it is our duty as educators to respond to the preponderance of evidence that has mounted, which paints a picture of a rapidly changing environment and a potentially very different socio-political future, by adapting our preschool–college instructional programs to be more reflective of that future and its predicted reality, and that prepares them for life in a world affected by human-caused climate change.
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