Humans have endeavored to make their life better by constantly creating and inventing. Largely, it has happened at the cost of the well-being of other species, flora and fauna. Statistics that point to the extent of environmental degradation occurring on a daily, even hourly basis are alarming. The world is at the edge of a dangerous precipice, and sadly, the most educated of us seem to have brought it there! Evidence is all around, making it hard to ignore, that learning in and itself has not exactly taught us to live in harmony with nature or care for natural resources. Majority educational experiences have failed to provide children with enough engagement with the natural world and the immediate environment. We don’t know the world around us enough, thus, kindling in us only a weak desire if at all to fight for it or protect it.
If the goal of education is to help build a just, humane, equitable and sustainable society, then sustainability and environmental education ought to be a central part of a child’s educational experience. The sphere of education must expand to include sustainability thinking and environmental education. A famous quote expresses our thoughts best. “In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”
The present educational experience of children teaches them that learning happens by sitting quietly inside a classroom, listening to the teacher, who is the dispenser of ‘knowledge’. The way learning has been shaped in most of our educational institutions, it provides very little scope for body-mind interaction, for the mind to understand and learn through bodily experiences (Martin. J, 2010) or for learning to take place by doing. Learning is mostly memorizing facts, a cerebral exercise! An education that builds scientific, humanistic as well as aesthetic understanding of the world, through encouragement of physical practice, experience and exploration is the need of the hour. Students learn about themselves and their relationship with the world, more so through physical practice and an intense engagement that requires beckons all their senses. Sustainability and environmental education encourage this kind of learning, where students not just have ample scope to but are required to engage with the world outside their classrooms.
In this quest to help education create responsible citizens and the educational experience to be a holistic one, Aripana Foundation is fortunate to partner with Wipro Foundation in implementing its Sustainability Educators Program, June 2020-2023.
Aripana Foundation has commenced on what it believes will be a fruitful journey as Wipro Foundation’s partner, undertaking the responsibility to strengthen environmental and sustainability education, sustainability thinking in selected schools of districts in North Bihar.
More updates coming soon!