In 2015 at COP21 in Paris, it was agreed and became a part of the remit for many governments, that for the next 30 years there HAS to be a reduction in global carbon emissions.
For this to come to fruition in the future, we cannot only introduce higher rates of carbon tax, invest in public transport or simply upgrade our energy extractions to renewables.
Imagine for a moment if you will, an Ireland in the year 2040… Our government has embedded Environmental Education into our school’s curriculum - from primary school right through to adult education, and this has been ongoing since 2021.
The basic principles of environmental sustainability are now second nature to the current workforce. We all know how to calculate and reduce our own carbon emissions, we all know how the daily decisions we make affect the environment and most of us are committed to lessening our impact on the environment.
Now, let's imagine an Ireland in 2040 where we have not invested in environmental education. What would that look like? We might care about the environment, many people already do, but we lack the skills and knowledge to reduce our own impact and therefore we continue to feel helpless about Climate Change and we resent the fact we can’t do anything about it.
The EPA definition says: “Environmental education is a process that allows individuals to explore environmental issues, engage in problem solving, and take action to improve the environment. As a result, individuals develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues and have the skills to make informed and responsible decisions”.
Environmental Education by its definition will allow us all to engage with problem solving and take action to improve the environment as individuals. If our 2030/2050 goals include a reduction of carbon emissions as a nation, I firmly believe a vital step we are currently missing is to educate us all, as individuals on what we can do to achieve that goal.