Sustainable school: when environmental education is the main subject!

Sustainable school: when environmental education is the main subject!
The sustainable school makes environmental education the leading subject in order to connect educators with relevant resources, interactive lessons, and a like-minded community on increasing participation and improving problem-solving and critical thinking skills now and to future generations. Read more. 

Earth's environment is being threatened due to human greed and the lack of effective education of many of its inhabitants. The best way to reduce this wave is to make environmental education a mandatory subject!

The standard model for a traditional school to become a sustainable school is to start with a full refurbishment from the elementary school and gradually to other grades.

Thus, new teaching methods will be applied, based on the concepts of "eco-literacy" that will aggregate environmental education in all of the traditional subjects such as Sciences, Biology, Geography, History, Mathematics, Literature, Art and Sociology.   

In addition, a sustainable school will have in its grid the following content that integrates environmental education: 

  • Licensing and Environmental Management

  • Recovery of Degraded Areas

  • Recycling, Reuse, and Reuse of Objects

  • Sustainable Development

  • Conscious Consumption

  • Circular Economy

  • Food and Nutrition Education

About the last item, nutritionist Karen Oliveira, makes a timely observation:
"Food and Nutrition Education goes beyond 'what to eat', to 'how to produce food', aiming to reduce negative impacts on the environment and based on the transition from current production models to agroecological methods. Attention will be focused on the use of environmental resources, in order to preserve and maintain the balance of nature, such as, in the choice by the type of irrigation, from the method of watering to the drip model; in the preparation of soil for the various types of crop and in reducing the impacts of animal husbandry on the treatment of waste from a feedlot."

The physical restructuring of the sustainable school will have the following implementations, at first: 

  1. Photovoltaic panels or use of biodiesel: to supply the school with natural energy.
  2. Recycled water: for general consumption and use in organic gardens, avoiding waste, for example, with the use of rainwater and other possible alternative sources.
  3. Green roof: to regulate the internal temperature in a natural way, i.e. adjust according to the external climate.
  4. Positioned windows: to allow natural light into the building, ensuring natural internal luminosity.
  5. Track around the building: to motivate jogging and other physical exercises, as well as meditation, workshops, lectures, etc.
  6. Animals and birds all over the place: for direct contact with students, mainly children.

The sustainable school may show to locals many good examples of eco-activities, such as the one that kids start learning how to plant their own food!  

The sustainable school building structure, as well as the teaching grid, will be according to local culture and to available resources

The teaching-learning relationship must be contextualized in three pillars:

  • in biomes

  • in the knowledge

  • in cultures

The formation of an ecological committee will be important to strengthen the 24/7 supervision of the sustainable school project. Therefore, its standard methodology may have the following planning model: 

Step 1: Ecological Committee

  • Composition: teacher, students, employees, parents of students (the number of components should be according to the size of the school).
  • Goal: pre-defined periodic meetings to discuss/define/change - when necessary - the didactic and structural actions of the school.

Step 2: Sustainability Audit

  • Composition: local authorities, school staff, and expert personnel.
  • Goal: evaluation of the results of the actions implemented in all areas. When necessary, the ecological committee promotes the change, detected by the audit, through an action plan.

Step 3: Action Plan

  • Composition: components of the ecological committee and auditors.
  • Goal: readjust needs or effect the changes pointed out by the audit, such as repositioning of personnel, improvements, and other adjustments.  

Step 4: Inform and Engage

  • Results: the monitoring of the local community and other authorities, regarding the achieved results. It is very important, not only to show transparency of the project, but in order to gain support and, if possible, the provision of extra resources from the private sector as well.
  • Divulging: spreading the success of the new enterprise shall link the community to the school. It can be achieved through the realization of popular assemblies, distribution of flies, and public stagings of plays with themes on environmental and social issues.

The sustainable school may become the main source of training children and adults in terms of ecological awareness in a more effective way, by overcoming other channels achieving goals accordingly to environment needs.  

By Marco Veado - THINK GREEN

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