Teaching people about the environment makes a lot of sense since we live in it. Surprisingly, in many school systems knowledge and awareness about the environment is not shared. In Toronto, Evergreen has been working for years to make the environment important in education. Their efforts are paying off as schools throughout the province are benefiting from their programs.
At that institute, Inwood says, “Teachers learn concepts of ‘ecosystems thinking’—the idea that every action we take as humans affects some other form of life on the planet. Then we demonstrate how this can play out in their classrooms.”
Rather than talking to Grade 1 students about climate change, teachers are encouraged to get them excited about picking up litter, or vermicomposting.
Teachers’ growing appetite for eco-education can be partially attributed to policy. In 2009, the Ontario Ministry of Education mandated that environmental education be delivered at every grade, in every subject—not just science.