The health of our natural world is at a turning point in history, and I believe that the more we educate our younger generation, the more chance we have to save our planet from the next mass extinction. Scientists are saying that over a million species are in danger of extinction. According to the United Nations, unlike the previous extinction events caused by natural phenomena, the sixth mass extinction is driven by human activity, primarily (though not limited to) the unsustainable use of land, water and energy use, and climate change. This means that humans can modulate this outcome and Education is key to getting our planet off the most dire course. We must all work together to educate our youth who will not only help conserve our natural world but will also be key to influencing our leaders and other important community members who have the power to make decisions to benefit humanity and our planet.
We need to show our youngsters that there still is a chance to slow down the effects of climate change and animals going extinct. As President Obama once said, “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last to be able to do something about it”. The current generation needs to be more connected to nature to see its beauty and how it is related to our existence on this planet.
I have been an environmental educator all of my life. I was raised in the USA by parents who knew over sixty years ago that connecting their children to nature has so many benefits, not only to our health, but also to the future state of our planet. They educated me to respect nature so that we can have in the future what we have today. They taught me to observe how the balance of nature was key to a healthy planet. I learned that there are so many ways that each and every one of us can help our planet and that it doesn’t just matter how much we do as long as everyone does a little something. Just by planting one tree you are contributing. Imagine what a difference you can make if you can teach a community how to create “Agroforestry” gardens with native beehives. Communities would have more healthy foods to eat, and they would increase the amount of pollinators in their neighborhoods so that more plants can grow, which would decrease greenhouse gasses and help control climate change. The Raiz Nova Institute is proposing to do exactly that; provide support and resources to implement agroforestry projects in schools where children will learn where healthy food comes from, as well as the importance of taking care of nature so that they can have a better future.
We can do this by all working together for a better future!
Tim Kenny – Sustainability/Environmental Educator, and member of the Counsel of IRN.