Critically examine the importance of educating for a sustainable future (ecological literacy) and analyze how relevant it is

For those looking for essay-type structures to your blog posts, or help in writing critical analysis: here is a sample produced for one company.

As scientists and scholars research and understand more about the halting biodiversity and crumbling ecosystems of today, education on the matter to future generations as well as to those in current economic and political power who have the means to make a difference is critical if we are to respond and react according to the disaster at hand.

We are at a crisis of education where many simply refuse to believe the facts and figures placed in front of them. When faced with overwhelming and unimaginable consequences for actions taken by our forefathers that we feel we cannot easily shift from in today’s society, we struggle as a global community to discover viable solutions.

Educating for a sustainable future through the means of ecological literacy is to understand the long term survival of Earth’s ecology (Fleischer, 2011). We will critically examine the importance of educating for a sustainable future by discussing the advantages and disadvantages of some of the current literature available, for both children at school and papers aimed at politicians and those in power. We will then analyze the relevancy of the literature and outline different methods of approach that may be more viable and accepted by the public.

The nonprofit organization, The Center of Ecoliteracy, has created an initiative Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability, aimed to inspire and support the growth of green schools movements (Barlow, 2014). Green schools movements are schools that adopt a vision of reducing their carbon footprint by planting trees, reducing the use of toxic chemicals, collecting and measuring their daily waste production and composting and growing gardens, to name a few ideas. The team at the Center of Ecoliteracy is dedicated to providing resources for teachers of children throughout their school years that educate young minds to the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and the flow on effects to the Earth’s ecology and biodiversity from our existence and way of life here.

Potentially at the forefront of a movement that will shape the minds of the generations to come, the relevance of the Center of Ecoliteracy’s approach to educate for a sustainable future is necessary. By providing schools the tools and support needed to shape and inspire young minds, children can learn how the ecosystem works and with knowledge, comes power.

It is commonly said that ‘the ecological crisis is in part a crisis of education’ (Stone, 2005). With sustainability more and more often becoming a buzzword, we tend to lose sight of what it truly means as it becomes surrounded by marketing and political campaigns. By providing real life examples of actions that can be made by individuals, the average person, family or school can imitate these notions and do their part in making a more harmonious existence with the world around us. In the book Ecological Literacy: Educating our Children for a Sustainable World, chef Alice Waters writes an essay about her successful school-garden program (Stone, 2005).

However, we know that single movements from families although immensely useful in the fight against the failing ecosystem cannot compete with the actions of whole communities and changes in global ideals. Here I feel ecological literacy cannot make any impactful changes in the way that we think. Simply targeting children and educating from a young age the importance of ecological biodiversity and sustainability is simply not enough in order to make any worthwhile and lifelong changes that need to be made for the continuation of life as we have come to know it here on Earth.

David Orr is a well versed and respected figure in the matters of sustainability and climate change. He is said to remorselessly argue the necessity for the compete re-formation of how we live and think today (Kersty Hobson, 2010). We are constantly informed of the impending tragedies through scholars such as him and through terrifying media reports on drastic changes to our wildlife numbers and their ecosystems (Kersty Hobson, 2010). The knee jerk reaction is quite often to bury our heads in the sand. Corporate sustainability management research although fueling a greater understanding of sustainability, does not manage to create that significant influence that we so desperately desire outside of the realm of academia (Breitbarth, 2018).  Although we have invested many hours and dollars into researching what is currently happening, we are struggling to succeed in delivering a viable option to reverse or at the very least halt this cycle.

These dire crisis conversations simply reinforce the thinking of the past, which unfortunately prolongs and harbors the wrongful acceptance of our current attitudes that is framing the way we interact with our natural world (Mueller, 2009). We need to move away from fear-fuelled assumptions where we are constantly proving that a crisis exists. This manner of education forces all involved to organize ideas around a ‘shock doctrine of fear and urgency’ (Mueller, 2009). I feel nothing of good can come out of this.

As political and scientific leaders gather to discuss means to support a sustainable future, factors such as socio-economic situations, economic growth and sustainable development are taken into account for each country involved (Raszkowski, 2019). Indicators are put into place so that we can analyze changes on a yearly basis.

The importance of educating for a sustainable future is immensely critical for a momentous change to be implemented as David Orr among thousands of other notable scientists has continually instructed the human race to be involved in. However the approach in which we are still taking can sometimes prove to be counterproductive as continued crisis talk simply amounts to fear fuelled reactions and assumptions. A better approach is to outline key goals for countries to achieve alike to 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as discussed in Raszkowski’s paper. Education should be readily available in schools and able to be implemented throughout communities.

References:

Barlow, Z. (2014). Ecological Education. Retrieved January 18, 2019, from Center for Ecoliteracy: https://www.ecoliteracy.org/ecological-education

Breitbarth, T. a. (2018). Closing the academia-practice gap in corporate sustainability management research: Challenges and bridges. Journal of Environmental Sustainability, 55-71.

Fleischer, S. (2011). Emerging beliefs frustrate ecological literacy and meaning-making for students. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 235–241.

Kersty Hobson, J. D. (2010). David W. Orr, Down to the Wire: Confronting. Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 56-63.

Mueller, M. P. (2009). Educational Reflections on the “Ecological Crisis”: EcoJustice, Environmentalism, and Sustainability. Science and Education, 1031–1056.

Orr, D. (2013). Place and Pedagogy. NAMTA, 183-188.

Raszkowski, A. (2019). On the Road to Sustainability: Implementation of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in Poland. Sustainability, 366.

Stone, M. K. (2005). Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World. Sierra Club Books.

Reflective Essay:

As I sat down to write this chosen essay, I took a personal interest in this specific topic which I know can sometimes be a little risky when trying to be academic, unbiased and formal. I wanted to get a grasp on what education was available these days in particular to children, now that I have one of my own.

I get very heated in the matter of climate change and sustainability and I believe this is not of a concern when writing essays as passion for a topic is certainly an important element to writing a presentable piece of work.

I enjoyed it immensely; taking a break from writing shopping guides and articles about goodness knows what. I have always been a scholar and perhaps should have studied some form of English literature, linguistics or creative writing but have always had a passion for the environment, climate change, conservation and sustainability. University forced me to become a little disillusioned with life and I chose to be more practical with my skills and passions rather than to continue with research and study. I have immense respect for those who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of education and understanding of the world around us.  

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