Global warming and climate change are major issues that we have to deal with. Thankfully, there is an increased awareness of the problem, leading to conservation and sustainability efforts.
Such efforts strive to prevent and educate others about it, especially among our youths. A common way to do this is by teaching conservation and sustainability in schools.
Some institutions have also offered courses integrated into different fields, like an online MBA in sustainability.
Importance of Conservation and Sustainability
There are many reasons why conservation and sustainability are important, Other than the fact that we have global warming looming over our heads. For one, sustainability helps us to preserve natural resources for future generations.
For example, sustainability efforts such as using solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells has helped us to conserve energy. This also showed us that there are alternative methods to getting energy instead of tapping into fossil fuels.
On the other hand, conservation protects wildlife and promotes biodiversity, it protects our ecosystem too!
For example, wildlife conservation parties work with law enforcements to prosecute wildlife crimes like wildlife trafficking and illegal hunting, which preserves existing animal species and habitats.
Current Efforts in Our Schools
In secondary school, students learn about conservation and the negative impact of pollution, deforestation and global warming on the earth in geography.
Meanwhile, students learn about recycling and water and electricity conservation in primary school during their science lessons.
Hands-on participation are also a great way for students to learn. Many schools are educating students by organizing volunteer work such as beach cleanups or even setting up hydroponic farms in schools.
How Can We Teach it in Schools?
Other than briefly mentioning conservation and sustainability in subjects like Geography or the Sciences, what other ways can we teach it in schools?
Make it into a subject
One way we can teach conservation and sustainability is by making it into a subject, either an elective subject like our humanities, an elective programme like Art Elective Programme (AEP) or an optional subject like third language.
The subject can have topics like:
1. Environmental Threats in Land, Sea and Air
2. Land and Ocean-based Conservation Issues
3, Pollution, Health, Urbanisation and Climate Change
4. Freshwater Sustainability and Water Security
5. Food Production and Security
6. Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development Goals
When we make environmental education into a subject, it lets students gain a better understanding of global warming and the conservation and sustainability efforts that are going on around the world.
This is because it goes in-depth into and concentrates on conservation and sustainability instead of using it as an example or sub-topic in another subject.
Add topics related to conservation and sustainability to subjects
But creating a separate subject might be tricky because of the resources like needing more teachers and classrooms, so an alternative to that is to add more topics related to conservation and sustainability.
For example, we can add ‘conservation biology’ into the syllabus in lower secondary science or O level biology. Conservation biology is the study of ecosystems and biotic interactions and aims to protect animal species and their habitat.
This relates to the current biology topics like ‘Organisms and their Environment’, which makes it relevant to what they’re currently studying.
Make it into a CCA
Last but not least, schools can create a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) dedicated to conservation and sustainability.
For example, Temasek Secondary School has an environmental science club where students participate in conservative efforts and learn more about environmental issues, including climate change and biodiversity.
This keeps them interested in the topic, so they are more likely to retain their passion for this issue.
Conservation and sustainability are now becoming more prominent, especially since there is more awareness about the threat of global warming and climate change. As such, we need to educate our young while they are in school.
I hope that there will be more efforts to include conservation and sustainability in schools’ curriculums.