Youth and Environment
by Prof. Liwayway M. Cruz
"The World we all share is given to us in trust. Every choice we make regarding the earth, air, and water around us should be made with the objective of preserving it for all generations to come." - August A. Bush III
Youth have always been regarded with both special concerns and special responsibilities in relation to the environment. Undoubtedly, they would be greatly affected by a number of environment risks and hazards we all inherited from our ancestors. They are expected to engage in new form of environmental action and activism that will hopefully generate more effective responses to environmental challenges.
There are three forces that adversely affect our global environment. These are the political and economic problems made worse by rapid population growth. These problems are caused by humans who are called upon to put back the global environment in its former good shape. Experts continuously think of ways to improve the state of environment but information on what we can do does not get to most of us. We get regular reports on the weather and stock markets but we rarely hear news of world grain yields of species extinction.
We cannot face the future unless we take care of the present. We see our deserts expanding. The forests are diminishing, and the agricultural lands are becoming less fertile and stripped of its trace minerals, while the population of the world is increasing. If we do not change our way, nature will check us in its own way. We have to do our share in our planet. The power of the mind and the will to change things can prevent big disasters. Big disaster can be avoided if people work together with positive thoughts and love. Who say we cannot save Mother Earth? If we have the political will and the discipline, nothing is impossible! And the responsibilities in taking care of the planet are entrusted to the youth of the present generation for the future generation.
I know that most young people are aware of the numerous environmental problems facing their communities and some have already taken appropriate actions. Often however, young people are unable to address environmental issues because of their lack of information regarding them. Though we are waking up to the need to change our attitudes and practices concerning the environment, our efforts are not exerted fast enough to avert the dire consequences of our negligence. We as educators should then work hard together so as to motivate our youth to save our environment not only for themselves but also for the future generations.
The government recognizes the role of education in affecting change. Based on underlying philosophy that education is behavior modification. It follows that educators are agents of change. The importance of education cannot be underestimated when we talk about problems encountered by all of us not only in terms of social and economic concerns but also on the recent environmental challenges we are into now. Thus education is now viewed as an essential catalyst in solving these problems with considerations on sustainability. For this reason, government thrusts find their way into the educational systems, into the curriculum through the teachers.
Environmental education has to rekindle its primary objective: to provide different groups of people in various sectors and the youth in particular with the knowledge needed to develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment and the rational utilization of its riches. This education should inculcate competencies needed for the solution of environmental problems and foster the highest cultural level of human’s productive activity.