It's time to redefine the syllabus of Environmental studies in schools

1st January, 1970

During my elementary school life, I had a subject known as environmental studies. It was a compilation of these three subjects: - Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Never did they teach me anything related to the topic the subject’s name suggests. I learned about pollution and global warming as I grew up but never knew the depth of the problems or thought about it much. It was just something that never bothered me. Like most people environmental concerns were invisible for me. “Let the experts take care of it” is the people’s reaction when they hear about terms like ‘Climate change’ or ‘Waste management’.

Not many people know that most problems we face have a cause effect relationship. The pens we use can be a death sentencefor a poor marine creature minding its own business. The snack covers we burn might be the reason your neighbour’s new bornbaby has to visit the hospital twice a week. Someone or something always pays the price for your ignorance. Schools need to step up and improve their environmental education to a whole new level. I believe the way to rid of one’s ignorance is to educate them. To get the younger generation to care about the world they live in is to teach them more about it. They need to learnthat they can either make or break their surroundings.

The children should be taught not to take the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and every other natural resource for granted, that they are very fragile and that they need to be protected. All these factors are luxuries that may not beavailable if they actively do not do anything to stop it from being exploited. The weight of the world is on their shoulders. In my school days, I was taught about pollution. The teacher told me about how vehicles polluted the atmosphere, factories polluted the water bodies and pesticides polluted the land. Not even once did they teach me how to remedy it. I never learned about alternative eco-friendly products or what I can do to help the environment in my own small but significant way.

Every person in the world has a role to play in the protection and maintenance of our unique planet. I would like to see our future more educated about the planet they call home. I want to see them use what they have learned in their schools and use that precious knowledge in their life in a very practical way to make their home cleaner and purer. Learning about recycling and consequence of the abundance of plastic on earth might make them think twice before burning and littering.

I spent 5 months in Thanal and it taught me many things my school did not. It was after volunteering for a month that I learnedthat I too can change little things in my life to be part of solution than the cause. Since not all will get the opportunity I did, schools should take the responsibility in making responsible citizens who never say “Let the experts handle it”.

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