Environmental Awareness Starts at the Top – Challenges in Education
One of the major problems many parents and educators have with the educational system in the United States as well as abroad is in the area of environmental awareness. More and more it is becoming obvious that many schools throughout the world merely pay lip service to the environmental issues they are teaching about, doing little to alter the status quo. It’s the age old “Do as I say, not as I do” that children rebel against, and it is no different for students of any age, in any level of their academic career.
Leading by Example
Educational institutions are requiring students learn about ecological issues, but are doing little to bring about those changes on a local level within their own institutions. The point is, if you intend to make a difference in the future through those minds you are helping to shape, it’s imperative that you act in a way that is in keeping with what you are teaching. Practice what you preach.
Graduate students of Maryville University in the online doctor of education in higher education leadership program understand full well the need to be an example of how to make an environmental impact – and make it part of their mission to be that example. Even studying for an online EDD degree is one way of reducing our carbon footprint, and a good example of how to reduce the amount of fossil fuels personally consumed in the course of a day.
Balancing Budgets with Needs
However, sometimes there is little which can be done on a local level because a college board of directors or a local school board has few budgetary funds available to institute upgrades to existing infrastructure. Most schools simply don’t have the funds to go green in areas where it really counts. It is the hope of most universities that their graduates with a higher education leadership degree can carry this need forward to those in a position to make funds available.
That’s what leadership is about, even though affecting change may be an arduous task. As an administrator it is up to you to move mountains if you are to justify teaching environmental issues and awareness. Educational institutions and county school boards need to find ways to make changes or another generation will be lost in the efforts to move forward.
The Clock Is Ticking
The clock is ticking and soon there will be no time left to make the necessary changes before irreversible damage is done and many life forms will not be able to survive. It is up to educators and governing bodies to set that example, even if only in baby steps initially. You can’t expect an entire generation of students to believe what you are teaching if you are not living those fundamentals. Conservation either matters or it doesn’t. Sustainability either matters or it doesn’t. If it does and if you are trying to make a difference, then it will show and your message will get across to those who need to hear it. If it doesn’t matter to you, personally, why bother to teach it? A definite contradiction in terms because environmental awareness really does start at the top.