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ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS EDUCATION

By Dr.Tasaduk Hussain Itoo

The need to spread environmental awareness is enormous in the context of successfully addressing environmental problems. It is linked to environmental education. On the one hand, provision of environmental education creates greater awareness in individuals and communities with respect to putting environmental resources to use even while conserving them. On the other hand, greater environmental awareness increases the scope of environmental education—as a discipline as well as inclusion of aspects of it within the scope of other disciplines.
Various media and means should spread environmental awareness among the people. The electronic media and the print media could be the major mediums of spreading information about environment among the populace—educating them about environmental concerns and ways to address these. News, features, talk shows and discussions on television and radio should increasingly focus on environmental themes of today.
The need for environmental education is recognised by all but there is little actual experience or knowledge about the way to provide it.
The objective of such education is that individuals and social groups should become aware, acquire knowledge, develop attitudes, skills and abilities and be able to address real-life environmental problems. Integrated inter-disciplinary and holistic education is to be provided to all sections of the population. It would first of all require a new approach to education itself—an approach which cuts across different subjects in schools and universities.
The goals of environmental education as pointed out by the UNESCO are to create environmental awareness in the world population—an awareness about the whole environment and problems associated with it and generate commitment in people to work individually and in unison towards solving existing problems and preventing new ones from emerging.
THE OBJECTIVES
i. Acquiring an awareness of the whole environment and the many problems that have arisen with regard to human misuse of environment and developing a sensitivity in people in this context.
ii. Groups and individuals must gain skills for identifying and solving environmental problems.
iii. To help people gain experiences and gains a basic understanding of the environment and related problems.
iv. Help people acquire values and feelings of concern for the environment and encourage their participation in improvement and safeguarding of our environment.
v. Ensure evaluation of environmental measures and programmes in terms of ecological, economic, social, aesthetic and educational factors.
vi. Provide to all an opportunity to get involved at all levels in the task of resolving environmental problems.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES
i. The need is to consider the environment as a whole, that is, the natural, technological, social, economic, political, cultural, moral, historical and aesthetic environment.
ii. The need is to have a continuous life process of environmental education—from pre-school level to formal and non-formal education levels.
iii. An interdisciplinary approach to spread awareness of environmental problems and knowledge about environment is necessary.
iv. Major environmental issues are to be ‘examined from local, national, regional and international perspectives.
v. The complex nature of environmental problems are to be recognised and critical thinking and problem-solving skills need to be developed in people.
vi. The value of local, national and international cooperation in addressing environmental problems is to be highlighted.
vii. The need is to use available knowledge about the environment and the many available approaches to teaching and learning.
viii. Learners must be acquainted with the real causes of environmental problems and the way these get expressed and must be encouraged to participate in prevention and resolving environmental problems.
ix. School-level education needs to link up aspects of sensitivity to environment, knowledge of environment and problem-solving.
x. The need is to stress on current as well as potential environmental situations.
xi. All plans for social, economic and other kinds of growth and development must pay attention to environmental aspects.
As a citizen, you can play the right role to control maximum pollution by following a few of easy steps that starts from your home. You can discover different ways to keep the environment clean, green and healthy.
1. Reduce the usage of your electrical appliances
This serves as the best means to conserve the energy. You can buy appliances that are not only environment friendly but energy efficient too. One of the best ways to conserve electricity is by switching off all the lights and appliances when not in use. You can wash your clothes in a washing machine using both warm and cold water instead of using hot water. Try solar power for heating water instead of an electrical appliance.
2. Drive your car with care
Many countries recommend repairing of leaking air condition of your car that adversely destroys the upper layer of ozone atmosphere. You must also be careful while filling your car with gas and see that it doesn’t spills off the tank. You can also use motor oil that is energy-efficient.
3. Reduce the usage of your wooden stove
Wood stove tend to generate excess smoke into the air which is harmful for the health of your entire family. Instead you can cook food on energy efficient appliances that promises low cost and quick cooking too.
4. Maintain a healthy eco system
It is the need of an eco-system to have good interaction with green plants, organisms and animals in a healthy environment. These three helps to keep the entire eco system healthy and alive for many years together. It is due to excessive air pollution and global warming that the entire eco system is negatively affected today. With a little change in your daily lifestyle, you can definitely help to protect the entire planet with its ecosystem is a healthier way.
5. Reduce usage of chemicals and pesticides
It is always advisable to eliminate maximum household chemicals and pesticides that directly pollute the green environment. Instead you can make your own solutions for cleaning purpose using distilled vinegar, lemon and baking soda. There are many ‘green’ cleaning products available in the market that is environmentally friendly and conventional cleaners too.
6. Recycle the waste products
Many waste products like glass, plastics, aluminium and paper can be recycled instead of been disposed off in the dustbin. This will prevent any air pollution accumulated on burning these products. You can also use reusable towels and reusable bags rather than using disposable plastics or bags.
7. Reduce carbon footprints
There are many ways to cut back carbon footprints causing excess air pollution. You can lower the temperature of your water heater, wash dishes manually instead of using a dishwasher, reduce the use of air conditioner or heater and buy energy efficient lights to lower the energy consumption and heat generation level.
8. Grow your food locally
Planting of the food locally helps in reducing the overall commercial transportation of food items that require pesticides and preservatives to preserve them. These preservatives directly pollute the air. It is also a proven facts that organic food is more sustainable that the one which is preserved using harmful pesticides and chemicals, thereby causing harm to the entire global ecosystem.
9. Reduce contaminants
It is always a better option to reduce the usage of contaminants and toxic materials at home. A healthy environment begins from your home. You must also take care to dispose off all the waste material in a proper way rather can simply disposing them off in the bins.
10. Avoid the pollution
Try not to throw away trash or waste materials almost anywhere in and around your house. You must try to dispose off biodegradable as well as non-biodegradable wastes in a proper way and avoid littering it all over your home environment. Any excess air or water pollution can negatively affect you and your family’s health while destroying the entire environment globally.
(The writer is a Medical Doctor /Activist /Educator at Unacademy and can be reached at: [email protected])