An antidote to disaster

Can environmental education help prevent a catastrophe? It does not seem like the only solution, but it does seem like one more of the answers in this global struggle to tackle challenges that we face as important as climate change. The biologist and environmental educator Raúl de Tapia, director of the Tormes-EB Foundation, explains to ABC Natural the benefits of education in the fight to preserve the environment from an early age, where he defends contact with the environment in the school environment : “One of the greatest values ​​that can be contributed to an educational center is that a forest is placed inside its patio or an arboretum or a green space with trees,” says De Tapia. If a schoolchild, from entering Kindergarten to second year of high school, has been in direct and continuous contact with nature, they will continue to demand that nature. Because if you have nature in the yard, the amount of subjects or areas of knowledge with which you can work are infinite, from Plastic Education to Mathematics through Knowledge of the Environment or Languages. If you hurry me, even Philosophy, as the ancient Peripatetics did, who walked through nature to reflect. However, this educator is clear about it and is committed to taking environmental education beyond children: «Environmental education can help prevent a catastrophe, but it has to be generalized, not only for schoolchildren, but also for adults. Because it is adults who make most of the decisions at the environmental, managerial and business level. Action time Research on COVID-19 reveals that its origin has influenced, among others, the degradation of ecosystems, a natural barrier that we have to prevent diseases from passing from animals to humans. Yet another reason to consider education as an indispensable tool to try to avoid catastrophes and, above all, to take action: “We are at the umpteenth climate summit, in the umpteenth treaty, in the umpteenth manifesto. What is needed are facts. Strategy is action for the common good. Environmental education provides the conviction that we are in the stage of consequences, according to Raúl de Tapia, which leads us “to a paradigm shift. The models have to be different ». In the debate on how to develop content on the environment in Primary or Secondary, De Tapia bets more on teachers than on changes in legislation. It only asks “to remove bureaucratic burden from teachers so that they have more time to educate students in nature, in a broad sense,”. The shift towards healthier habits improves the planet. Because environmental education serves to modify the environment and by changing the environment we change the world. “We are what we see,” De Tapia clarifies. If we change the environment of our neighborhood and make it healthier, we worry that there is more trees in the streets, bushes, corridors that allow the vegetation to grow in a more developed way, we will also be changing the world. And if all this is opening up in scale, in the end the change may be broader than we imagine. It is not only up to those who make the big decisions in politics or in business. Each of us also has these capabilities, on another scale and at another level, but we can change our immediate environment. A call to individual action that Raúl synthesizes under the phrase «Being educated in nature is something that the human species has been doing since the beginning of existence. And so it should continue to be.

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