Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Education for a Sustainable Environment

Recently we saw the beautiful Notre-Dame cathedral burning, we are appalled by the idea that if we continue to live as in the past our planet earth will end up in a similar miserable condition. We are all part of nature, living in a house called the earth. We don't want to make this house one filled with fine dust and rubbish but transform it into a beautiful and refreshing space. How do we prepare for this? So begins the Peace column in the Catholic Peace Weekly by a member of the Bishops' Committee on the Environment.
Attendance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2007 left her 
with many questions. Why are Koreans unable to take action, even though they are aware of environmental problems such as climate change and global warming? The conclusion we have considered was a lack of values in our environmental education as children. I know from my head, but my lifestyle does not worry about what will happen to the next generation. We want to live comfortably, buy, use, and throw away without

Fine dust and the garbage problem is serious, but do we think that it's our problem? We are the 11th largest economy in the world, but the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report puts Korea in the lowest environmental sector.

 At present, we use the money to solve environmental problems, but do the opposite in behavior. We can't delay the development of environmentally friendly values and attitudes and need to allow children to see more of nature and raising environmental sensitivity through education.

Japan and Europe, which have a high level of environmental awareness, are also known for their high investment in environmental education. In the past, after experiencing serious environmental pollution in industrialization, Japan has been paying great attention to environmental education and has operated various programs for local environmental issues through collaboration among citizens, businesses and schools. In particular, families, schools,  cooperate in creating eco-friendly awareness. 

In Germany, about 5% of the lessons are taught for sustainable development. The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the public interest foundation, and companies invest millions of euros each year in environmental education. Finland has established a national plan to implement sustainable environmental education and is balancing environmental education and awareness with cultural environment education and sustainable development education.

Although the National Assembly revised the Environmental Education Promotion Act in May 2018, it provided the basis for the revitalization of school environmental education. The environmental budget, which is supported by the Ministry of Environment's 16 national environmental education pilot schools, is far below what is needed.

Preventive action is more important than solving the environmental problem. So, all the paradigms of policy need to be changed. Environmental problems are very costly to solve, and hard to recover once destroyed. Education from childhood is important to know the value of the earth. Of course, adults also have to participate.

Environmental education that changes the fundamentals is necessary to pass on clean air to our children. The world changes people, and people are changed by education. Are not these efforts in environmental education for a sustainable tomorrow giving great pleasure to God?

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