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The Importance of Environmental Education for a Sustainable Future

What can I do
by Charlie Fletcher Global Commons Oct 5th 20235 mins
The Importance of Environmental Education for a Sustainable Future

Environmental education is vital to winning the fight against climate change. Without it, the leaders of tomorrow will be ill-equipped to overcome the environmental challenges the world will face. Parents and teachers can help students understand their role as environmental stewards by encouraging student outdoor learning programs and supporting young folks who engage in student activism. To celebrate World Teachers’ Day 2023, which every year falls on October 5, we take a look at the importance of environmental education and how to address climate change in classrooms.

Education can make a difference in the fight against climate change. Recent surveys show that people with more education were more likely to view climate change as a threat and that, today, most people see climate change as a major threat to our planet.  

However, promoting environmental education in schools can be tricky. Climate change is seen as a bipartisan “political” issue in some countries, and many educational bodies push against climate education entirely. 

More must be done to ensure that young people have access to environmental education. Robust climate education will give the decision-makers of tomorrow the skills they need to advocate for nature, protect vulnerable environments, and mitigate the effects of global warming. 

The Importance of Environmental Education

Education is often overlooked in the fight against climate change. While policy changes and global commitments are necessary to prevent global warming from further worsening, improved education is the first step toward achieving our goals. 

Environmental education can help alleviate climate anxiety, too. This is broadly defined as a “chronic fear of environmental doom” and may be exacerbated by a lack of understanding. Educational resources that clearly explain the mechanisms behind global warming equip students with the knowledge they need to do something about climate change. This can help them feel empowered and foster a greater appreciation for the planet’s resources. 

Environmental education can also promote critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. This is particularly important today, as students need to be able to evaluate the long-term impact of social, economic, and ecological policies. Combating climate change effectively requires a global effort and activism often relies heavily on a thorough understanding of the issue and the ability to persuade others that something must be done. 

Improvements in public education may also promote a sense of stewardship and aid conservation efforts. In particular, environmental education programming can make a real difference to researchers who are advocating for policy changes. 

For example, recent public programmes like the BBC’s Planet Earth II and Wild Isles appear to have significantly impacted researchers at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. Reflecting on the public program, Professor Callum Roberts states that the “UK must now deliver genuine protection for wildlife,” and should focus on building resilience against climate change. 

Connecting Students with High-Quality, Reliable Resources

Environmental education can empower the decision-makers of tomorrow and improve the public understanding of climate change. However, connecting students with the resources they need to understand global warming can be difficult – particularly if students live in a nation like the US, where climate change is seen as a partisan “political” issue. 

Climate-aware parents can introduce their children to climate change with outdoor play in natural environments. Natural playgrounds, like those built from sustainable materials and found objects, are the perfect place to discuss environmental protection and the importance of stewardship over the Earth’s resources. 

Living a sustainable lifestyle at home can be an important part of children’s environmental education. Parents can help their kids understand the importance of sustainability by reducing their home’s carbon footprint together, by implementing and practicing environmentally friendly habits in the home. Simple sustainable activities — such as upcycling furniture and composting leftover food scraps as well as teaching children how to recycle – help reduce our own emissions and promote a sense of responsibility for the environment. 

You might also like: How to Live a More Sustainable Life in 2023

Student Activism

A sense of stewardship is vital for the long-term preservation of the Earth’s natural resources. However, students who care about climate change should be empowered to engage in activism, too. Youth activism has a meaningful impact on policy and shows politicians that climate change is a hot-button issue for future voters. 

Successful activism begins by educating students about the issues. Teachers can strengthen their students’ understanding of climate change and ecological protection by hosting student projects that encourage outdoor learning. By building eco-systems on school grounds or signing up for community clean-ups, students will learn to take pride in the world around them and become well-equipped to share their knowledge with others.

Most high schools and universities have a climate advocacy group that young people can join to amplify their voices and make a difference. Students can further their climate advocacy by joining groups that have partnered with the Climate Action Network (CAN). The CAN helps 1900+ organisations get the support and funding they need to prevent environmental degradation and fight climate change. 

Climate-conscious students can also partner with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like: 

These NGOs tackle the biggest environmental issues today and can put students in a position to maximise their impact and gain important professional development skills. 

You might also like: How Youth Climate Action Is Shaping a More Sustainable Future

Professional Development

Preventing climate change requires more than goodwill and public understanding. The decision-makers of tomorrow need to be equipped with interdisciplinary skills to tackle the challenges that climate change presents. However, many teachers are ill-equipped to teach environmental education in their classrooms. 

More must be done to empower climate-conscious teachers. Professors should feel comfortable discussing the facts of climate change in their classrooms. They should be able to identify the transferable skills that their class can give to climate-conscious students. Fortunately, teachers today can find plenty of free resources from sites like: 

These resources are entirely free and can be weaved into any class. A climate-inspired project will help students connect with the importance of environmental education and give them the skills they need to take on skeptics in the future. 


Environmental education is key to understanding and preventing climate change. A robust climate education can empower students and help them engage with advocacy and activism groups. Even minor education experiences, like participating in a community clean-up, can help students understand the importance of stewardship and build the interdisciplinary skills they need to advocate for environmental protection. 

In case you didn’t know, we have a Kids’ website aimed at explaining a wide range of environmental topics to younger generations. Visit Kids.Earth.Org to learn more about climate change

About the Author

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth.

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