Expert Article

Why Should Schools Promote Sustainable Living in Students?

  • 29 August 2022

In today’s environmental climate changes, society needs a sustainable focus more than ever before. It’s essential to raise the next generation into self-sufficient, eco-conscious world citizens who understand the immediacy of environmental responsibility. Schools play a vital role in preparing students to meet the sustainability challenges of the future. Because we live in a world that is rapidly changing. Our students might face problems that we have not even identified.

At present India has about 7 of the 10 most polluted cities in the world. With the development vision, we still have a long way to go. Hence, it is necessary to give our students a deeper understanding of sustainable living.

Sustainable education includes all subjects taught at school. It isn’t all about the environment. It extends far beyond. Sustainable education gives students real-world skills which they can use to improve the planet. It provides children with the self-sufficiency they need for tomorrow. It also offers them a deeply engraved understanding of why a sustainable lifestyle is important for living.

Three methods by which schools can promote sustainable living among students are:

  •  Introduce green habits:

Sustainability shouldn’t be just imposed, but instead needs to be inculcated into a child’s lifestyle. These habits could be as simple as encouraging them to turn off the lights of the classroom as they leave, or put the trash in the trash can. By inculcating these habits into the everyday lives of the kids becomes a part of their lifestyle from a young age. For instance, at Oakridge Visakhapatnam students are a part of an initiative called Save Our Beaches. Every year under this initiative students go to the beach and conduct a beach cleaning drive. They also educate people about the importance of oceans and how human beings are polluting them.

  • Building solutions into lessons:

Earlier generations grew up with a lot of doom and gloom about the environment. They were taught everything about the impending crisis – but weren’t taught much about how to solve it. Today a lot of younger adult’s report feeling helpless and ineffective when they look around and witness the ecological crisis. It should not be the same for our upcoming generations as well. Children love learning when taught through small stories and examples. Hence while teaching students about concepts related to sustainability teachers should build a small story about the issue and how a child of their age helped solve it. For instance, Oakridge has a unique partnership with UNICEF through Nord Anglia Education, promoting the UN SDGs which are inculcated in each lesson. This educates a child to know what they should do when amidst such crises or help them learn what they should do to avoid such crises.  

  •  Encouraging a positive relationship with the environment:

Sustainable values are all about caring, and it’s hard to truly care about something you don’t know. Learning about and within the natural world helps children establish a personal connection with the environment. That connection will help them feel truly invested in protecting the planet. Love for the planet develops when kids are shown how beautiful nature is, and how intricate its ecosystems are. Also, occasionally they learn lessons about nature if teachers take them out to interact with nature and learn it develops a long-lasting bond. At Oakridge, students are a part of the Green Buddy initiative where each child is encouraged to friend a plant and is supposed to take care of the plant. Also, there are Science Parks at school where children learn their most interesting concepts amidst a natural environment.

There are many other ways through which young minds can be taught about sustainability, climate change, green energy, and the green economy. Even though there is a multitude of resources available that would teach young generations about sustainability, the values that students take in throughout their years in education are ones that they carry for the rest of their lives. Hence, sustainability development education must be inculcated in their lifestyles at schools because it’s what our children need and what will help them become responsible global citizens and continue to pass it down to future generations.

Ms. Sai Ratna Alamooru
English Facilitator

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