Environmental education in schools worldwide
More and more institutions are including environmental awareness and education in the educational programs of schools and institutes, as well as in other activities such as seminars, conferences or talks.
Many of these activities can be carried out in the school playground or in another area of the city, where it is possible to learn about environmental problems such as pollution, gas emissions, energy consumption, recycling, water use, etc.
If the beach is nearby, these and other issues such as the problem of microplastics, single-use plastics, dumping, illegal fishing, etc., can also be addressed.
The need to include environmental education in schools arose at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). Four objectives were set for children to connect:
Raise awareness and sensitize to environmental problems.
To foster interest in caring for and improving the environment.
Develop skills to learn to value the environment around them.
Expand ecological knowledge, on topics such as energy, landscape, air, water, natural resources and wildlife.
In recent years, two of the activities that have most aroused interest in being part of the change can be highlighted. In this sense, social networks that connected the global society have served to give voice to the realities suffered by our planet and take action by setting an example, whether in the classroom or on our beaches.
Every beach cleanup should consist of two parts. The first part explains the problem of plastics in our oceans, giving space to the good, explaining the alternatives to mitigate these problems.The waste collection begins on the selected beach and the participants see the problem first hand.
Interactive talks in educational centers
Since 2012, BIOagradables, the non-profit organization based in the Valencian Community, has been giving talks in educational centers based on the amount of waste collected in its beach cleanup activities.
They deal with the different problems suffered by the oceans, from global warming and the acidification of their waters, to the pollution of marine ecosystems.
This 2022 they have developed 15 activities with educational centers (schools and institutes) always adapting the content of the talk to the target audience. A total of 1254 people have taken part, from primary school to high school and vocational training.
Its methodology consists of an awareness-raising talk, a one-hour clean-up, games on marine biodiversity and reflection on the day. Thanks to the funds provided by the 'Mediterranean SUP Action' project, 3 free activities have been offered (2 of them will be carried out in 2023) to public schools in the Valencian Community.
Reflection, awareness and environmental education
Combining awareness and environmental education is not easy, but more and more organizations are betting on dynamics and activities that go beyond the traditional, that is one of the objectives of BIOagradables and Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. "We want people to take a reflection home, that after a beach cleanup they are the ones who analyze the consumption habits in their day to day," they declare from the organization.
They have also held workshops with the association 'Baobab oci creatiu' with the garbage collected, design workshops with the garbage collected with 'Trampolin', the project 'Submergible', which works with people with functional diversity and with a group of young people who had won a contest on social initiatives led by the organization AIPC Pandora.
Through the process of environmental education, people can learn about environmental problems, solve them, and take steps to protect the environment. People get a deeper grasp of environmental issues as a result, and they are more equipped to make responsible decisions.
More information: https://bioagradables.org
Beach cleanup photo credits: BIOagradables press folder