Events like World Water Day, Earth Day, Environmental Day and World Ocean's Day offer an excellent opportunity to celebrate and educate. We can teach students to be stewards of the environment. And we can teach them that standing up for nature means we're standing up for ourselves and our futures. We can connect climate change to racial, social, gender and economic inequities and encourage students to imagine a world where these inequities are eliminated for all people.
We see the effects of climate change every day, from poor air quality to boil water advisories for Indigenous communities, the impacts of mega oil infrastructure projects, the plastics pollution of our oceans and threats to both humans and wildlife. Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health in unequal ways. For example, extreme heat and natural disasters will affect the poor and most vulnerable first. Climate justice is about educating people about what civic engagement means.
Here are classroom ideas to mark important environmental days during the year along with resources and articles that ETFO has compiled on the issue of environment and climate justice.
ETFO supported The Laboratory School at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at University of Toronto in its development of Natural Curiosity, an inquiry-based environmental education resource.
In March, 2018, the Institute launched Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children's Environmental Inquiry. Published by the University of Toronto, this edition supports a stronger basic awareness of Indigenous perspectives and their importance to environmental education. The motivation for a second edition is the need, in the wake of strong and unequivocal recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to situate Indigenous perspectives into the heart of Canadian educational settings and curricula, most notably in connection with environmental issues.
Also new in the second edition: Revision of the four branches of environmental inquiry; Indigenous lenses on each of the branches; and 16 new educator stories. Print copy is $50.00 and online version is $35.00. For more information, visit www.naturalcuriosity.ca.