Living in the Midwest, April is a most welcome time of year when we can more comfortably spend time outdoors and enjoy the sight of green grass, budding trees, blooming flowers and the sound of birds returning from their winter homes.
However, the arrival of spring can no longer be taken for granted.
As Rachel Carson warned us more than 50 years ago through her story of DDT contamination in communities across the country in her book, Silent Spring, we must continue to take action to protect our natural environment and slow down its degradation.
We must work to combat greed and the abuse of the environment by humans and to help people become stewards of the living earth, acting responsibly and carefully.
Additionally, we must remain vigilant to the continued rollback of policies that were put in place to protect our water, air and soil, and the creatures with whom we share the Earth. Human self-interest needs to be re-framed so that we humans live as an equal part of the earth earth’s systems and not the master of them.
As educators, we have a large role to play.
More than 80% of U.S. parents want their children to be climate change literate. We must help our students gain the knowledge, skills and global mindset of equity necessary to be prepared for an uncertain future and to become good stewards of the earth.
Addressing climate change can start with small changes to our individual lifestyles, classrooms and communities.
Research has shown that students can bring new practices and understandings to their families and communities.
These practices could be starting to recycle family or classroom trash, reduce water consumption when washing one’s hands or teeth, or helping the school cafeteria to reduce waste —all of which help the environment. Small changes can add up to have a big impact.
So, as we commemorate Earth Day, what will you do to help your students take the first step toward making a change for a better future?
What commitment will you make to celebrate Earth Day?
We really do have the power to change the world.
Faye Snodgress is the Executive Director of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education.