“No man is an island entire of itself…” We’ve all heard this poem before. True enough, none of us are as independent as we think. Neither are ecosystems! In fact, people and nature rely on each other. It’s all about relationships. Whatever we do somehow affects the environmental balance. If you didn’t realize that until now, wouldn’t it be good to tip off our kids earlier? After all, since they’re going to inherit the earth, they need to know how improper disposal of their ice cream wrapper may affect the land, coastlines, oceans, skies and, more importantly, them!
Mindfulness today heightens the chances of breathing fresh air, playing in clean water and eating more nutritious foods tomorrow. Aiming for environmental sustainability raises consciousness of their planet mates and the generations beyond. So where does awareness of biodiversity begin? The Inter-American Development Bank’s ‘Rise Up;’ Initiative jump starts climate change prevention and adaptation in schools. Let’s step in one for a tour!
Educational spaces, apart from their functionality and efficient use of natural resources, enhance learning while offering comfort and security to its occupants. Built to consider them and the surrounding environmental conditions, structures and maintenance processes operate in ways that transform those careless social behaviors that threaten to destabilize ecosystems. In classrooms, teachers alternate between nine basic sets of lesson plans on different climate change topics such as land conservation and nutrition. Students learn how to lessen the cumulative damages of society on the environment by engaging daily in creative instructional activities. Learning games, 26 instructional videos, the Green Tool Kit and even comics expand discussions and experiments. Kids even discover how to convert trash into learning tools. For example, discarded plastic bottles recycle into great water filtration systems or small gardens. Roof tops adapt into urban agricultural centers.
Educators adjust flexible primary and secondary level plans to reach modest, intermediate or advanced thinkers. With this adaptation, students grasp basic but difficult concepts like the influence of mountains, seas, deserts and plateaus on climate, winds and water. All levels can learn how the interaction of the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere shaped the earth. Once engaged, EVERY kid embraces saving the planet and working toward preserving biodiversity. They appreciate that city pipes provide water for home gardens and the H2O running through their hose drains into creeks which flow into rivers and finally into wetlands or other larger bodies of water. Not denying indisputable scientific evidence on droughts, floods and fast-rising global temperatures potentially dooming future food and water supplies, each lesson integrates long range, biodiverse strategies training kids to seek answers. By becoming solution oriented, they rise above the problems, becoming part of an investment in Latin America and the Caribbean which spares and even enriches the planet kid by kid. Isn’t that beautiful?
At its core, the approach exposes children and youth to life-style changes aimed at preserving the environment. By developing a generation of people who can face any challenge, overcome any obstacle and tackle any issue with strength, toughness and tenacity, kids become cognizant of how their daily behaviors affect the world. Discussions challenge thinking like ‘What will your life will be like in 10 or 15 years? Do you imagine yourself being happy, moving around your favorite spaces, working on what you like, and enjoying beautiful plants and clean, fresh air? How is your lifestyle today affecting your chances of enjoying such a future?’ That’s no soliloquy! Or they reveal truths from institutions like the World Health Organization which reports all cities and towns should have a minimum of nine square meters (m2) of green space per person. In Latin America there are 3.5 m2 per capita. They question where their town stands in comparison.
Fully aware that the solution to climate change is complex, ‘Rise Up’ launches the region’s youngest and greatest stakeholders on a different path. With aids like the Green School Toolkit, teachers inculcate biodiversity in their students who take ownership and safeguard their world. Through the ‘hands on’ philosophy promoting, improving and even celebrating sustainability, kids acquire habits throughout their years of learning which transfer from school to home and throughout the community.
They unknowingly become citizens of a world where every effort leads to more efficient resource use. While distortions like excessive heat wreak havoc on global agriculture, food production and water resources in several parts of the world, these young ambassadors learn to contain or even reverse it just through learning to live differently. This fresh concept shapes mindfulness with less academic pressure and, more importantly, diminished fear. Kids learn that they are not individual ‘islands’ and that everyone is responsible. So, let’s ALL ‘wise up’ and ‘Rise Up!’ against climate change. That’s poetry in motion!
To access RiseUp click here!
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