The role of the ecological transition in education.

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The role of the ecological transition in education.

Written by Inés Pereira

As the ecological transition is a process aimed at adopting good practices to promote a society committed to preserving the environment and combating climate change, this concept plays a very important role in education.

In recent years, the European Union (EU) has taken several steps to address today’s environmental challenges. The European Green Pact, Agenda 2030 and Fit for 55 are among them and will help Europe to become climate neutral by boosting the economy through green technologies, creating green industries and transport, and reducing pollution.

Turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities will make the transition fair and inclusive for all. And this is the way to achieve a truly green transition.

But how does environmental education fit into this context?

According to UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund – education has been and continues to be a transformative agent in our society. In other words, it is understood that when people have access to information and science, they are able to make clearer and more informed decisions, and to debate and develop better solutions to current problems.

In this sense, it is time to strengthen its role as an essential tool for environmentally responsible and socially just societies.

Environmental education aims to raise ethical and civic awareness, so that everyone becomes aware of the impact of their actions on the environment and learns to adopt a critical stance that considers climate justice in everyday actions, taking into account the impact of their actions on current policies, but always with a view to future generations.

Furthermore, environmental education promotes responsible production and consumption; it explains biodiversity; it teaches about the importance of energy and water; it equips people with greater sensitivity and awareness of environmental issues; it promotes a comprehensive understanding of the environment as a system; it deepens social and ecological values and helps to develop the necessary responses to solve major environmental problems.

When we think of environmental education, we automatically think of the younger generations, and this is not at all ethically correct, as it is a transversal tool for everyone: children, young people, and adults.

However, it is the youngest who are the main opinion formers, and it is they who will make the decisions about the future.

Environmental education makes young people aware of environmental issues and helps them understand how to protect nature reserves and avoid polluting the environment.

The aim is clear. Encourage them to learn about the concept of “sustainability” or societies committed to ecological transition linked to intergenerational responsibility and encourage them to reflect on the causes of climate change, the protection of biodiversity and the protection of territory and landscape.

The aim is for young people to learn to use knowledge to interpret and evaluate the reality around them, to formulate and debate arguments and to support positions and options.

These are fundamental skills for active participation and informed decision-making in a democratic society regarding the impact of human activities on the environment.

It is in this context that UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – has declared that environmental education should be a part of the school curriculum by 2025. This was one of the conclusions of the Virtual World 2021 Conference, where more than 80 ministers and deputy ministers and 2,800 stakeholders in education and the environment committed themselves to adopting the Berlin Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

National environmental education strategy: the role of change agents

However, going back to previous years, in 2017 the National Strategy for Environmental Education (ENEA) was approved in Portugal, with the aim of establishing an effective and consolidated commitment to build a solid paradigm in this area.

The objective is a common one: everyone must collaborate in the protection of the environment, in all its dimensions of human intervention.

For this reason, and according to the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA), environmental education is considered, from the very beginning, as a multidisciplinary lifelong learning and an integrated process in all forms of education, including work, economic and consumer contexts.

It is linked to democracy, human rights, and equity, and is an inclusive and participatory process.

Portugal therefore has this strategy, which covers three thematic areas: decarbonisation of society, circularity of the economy and adding value to the territory.

This strategic intervention envisages full and active citizenship, empowering children, and young people, as well as economic actors and decision-makers, to face the new environmental challenges.

For its implementation, ENEA identifies 16 actions under three strategic objectives: Environmental Education + Transversal; Environmental Education + Open and Environmental Education + Participatory.

It is time for Europe to become more involved in the field of education and the environment, promoting and creating more dynamism, both in schools and in the economy, to enable a truly environmentally responsible and socially just transition.

Supporting documents:

Links:

complementary activities

ENEA. National Strategy for Environmental Education.
The European Green Deal. A commitment to future generations
European Pillar of Social Rights. Building a fairer and more inclusive European Union.

EASY

The role of the ecological transition in education.

Written by Inés Pereira

 As the ecological transition is a process aimed at adopting good practices to promote a society committed to preserving the environment and combating climate change, this concept plays a very important role in education.

In recent years, the European Union (EU) has taken several steps to address today’s environmental challenges. The European Green Pact, Agenda 2030 and Fit for 55 are among them and will help Europe to become climate neutral by boosting the economy through green technologies, creating green industries and transport, and reducing pollution.

Turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities will make the transition fair and inclusive for all. And this is the way to achieve a truly green transition.

But how does environmental education fit into this context?

According to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, education has been and continues to be a transformative force in our society. In other words, when people have access to information and science, they are able to make clearer and more informed decisions, and to debate and develop better solutions to current problems.

In this sense, it is time to strengthen its role as an essential tool for environmentally responsible and socially just societies.

When we think of environmental education, we automatically think of the younger generations, and this is not at all ethically correct, as it is a transversal tool for everyone: children, young people, and adults.

However, it is the youngest who are the main opinion formers and who will make the decisions for the future.

Environmental education makes young people aware of environmental problems and helps them understand how, for example, not to pollute the environment.

The aim is clear. To make them understand the concept of sustainability, which is linked to intergenerational responsibility, and to encourage them to think about the causes of climate change, the protection of biodiversity and the protection of territory and landscape.

The aim is for young people to learn to use knowledge to interpret and evaluate the reality around them, to formulate and debate arguments and to support positions and options.

And it is precisely on this subject that UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – has declared that environmental education should be part of the school curriculum by 2025. This was one of the conclusions of the Virtual World 2021 Conference, where more than 80 ministers and deputy ministers and 2,800 stakeholders in education and the environment committed themselves to adopting the Berlin Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

National environmental education strategy: the role of change agents

In 2017, Portugal’s National Strategy for Environmental Education (ENEA) was approved, with the aim of establishing a commitment in this area.

Its purpose? To involve everyone, in a collaborative way, in the protection of the environment in all its dimensions of human intervention.

Portugal thus has this strategy, which covers three thematic areas: decarbonisation of society, circularity of the economy and enhancement of the territory.

This strategic intervention envisages full and active citizenship, empowering children, and young people, as well as economic actors and decision-makers, to face the new environmental challenges.

For its implementation, ENEA identifies 16 actions under three strategic objectives: Environmental Education + Transversal; Environmental Education + Open and Environmental Education + Participatory.

It is time for Europe to become more involved in the field of education and the environment, promoting and creating more dynamism, both in schools and in the economy, to enable a truly environmentally responsible and socially just transition.

ENEA. National Strategy for Environmental Education.
The European Green Deal. A commitment to future generations
European Pillar of Social Rights. Building a fairer and more inclusive European Union.

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