The reality of Environmental Education in Latin America

The reality of Environmental Education in Latin America

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By Carlos Fermín

It doesn't matter where you work, live or dream. We all need the health of the environment, to fulfill the daily obligations that the social space to which we belong requires us. Your indifference damages my commitment to the Environment. Your commitment eradicates indifference to the Environment. Without a doubt, a couple of very simple sentences, but unfortunately, they have not been deciphered by our parents, neighbors, friends and enemies. For this reason, sowing the seeds of environmental education in the desks, blackboards and pencils of young Latin Americans is the best antidote to the poison of ecological apathy.

However, we ask ourselves: How is it possible to strengthen environmental education in schools, if teachers are unaware of the value of conservation issues? Most of the teachers do not receive during their academic training, the theoretical, practical and didactic material necessary to impart the environmentalist ideal in their institutions of trade, being impossible to believe that students will receive a true education that lasts and is transferred outside the classrooms of classes. This same lack of environmental content is observed in the preparation given to public officials, such as policemen, judges and inspectors, who, although they could avoid illegality against Nature, did not have the training in this regard.

Unfortunately, the environmental vicious circle is not only rewarded in the ignorance that surrounds the teachers of Latin American educational units, but also by the complicity of an archaic pseudo-learning system that refuses to die in holy peace. We still find the attitude assumed by the environmental ministries simplistic, in thinking that by going to a school on April 22, and giving a super hackneyed talk about International Earth Day, and the boys will be haunted by so much ecological information received. This absurd strategy was never and will never be the definitive solution to the problems raised.

Perhaps those in charge of working on environmental matters do not know that the year has 364 days left, so that the young people completely forget the far-fetched talk they offered that date. Environmental education must be a compulsory chair attached to the curriculum that students collate, as is the case with Mathematics, History, Biology, Chemistry or Geography.

It is illogical to inform a young man that Lake Maracaibo, located in western Venezuela, is the largest lake in South America, exceeding 13,000 km2, if the teachers do not question the serious contamination that its waters suffer from the oil spill, toxic chemicals and household waste. It is redundant to illustrate the history of the Humboldt Penguin, seen as a species of flightless bird that nests in Chile and Peru, if the teachers avoid saying that it is critically endangered due to the destruction of its habitat by Man. They tell you that Bosawás in Nicaragua has the largest biosphere reserve in Central America, but the teachers don't tell you about the criminal deforestation carried out by the mafias that operate the logging sector. It is reprehensible that a young person does not know that a plastic bottle takes 100 to 1000 years to degrade, that a compact fluorescent lamp saves 75% of energy, unlike the traditional incandescent light bulb, or that one in five trees cut down it is used to make paper. That is why it is vital that environmental education be a content adhered to the "real" reality of the high schools that define our countries, states and cities.

Another aspect that increases the Latin American environmental crisis is the dispersion and refusal of many colleagues who, although they are involved in the ecological sphere, refuse to share their knowledge and experiences without the presence of financial rewards. It is sad to admit it, but it is a latent situation throughout the continent. Many environmentalists, social communicators and ecologists do not want to selflessly collaborate with schools, polytechnics and universities in their communities, without paying pre-established labor wages. Like everyone else, they also have to pay debts and pay for their way of life and that of their relatives. But if they really consider themselves defenders of Pachamama, there are no excuses to organize together with other colleagues, and to go to the institutions in an attempt to promote environmental education. When it comes to helping the planet, the goal that should prevail is NOT individualism but the common goal. It only takes a little social conscience to generate positive responses for change in the localities that we host.

We are sure that the boys would be happy to hear the orality of those who preach conservation love. On the other hand, we see that unscrupulous people, both natural and legal, who mourn the trails of Latin America in red by perpetrating ecocides, did not have a timely environmental education at an early age, which would allow them to recognize the value of the environment. In addition, we must add the domestic violence that is always caused by the anti-values ​​that corrupt Modern Society, and that emphasize the desire for revenge in people. Hence, indifference is shown when companies pollute rivers, cut down trees and damage ecosystems. While the residents do not end up reporting crimes or taking care of green areas. Let us remember that ecological values ​​promote a series of lights and knowledge for life that transcend the boundaries of Nature, such as: the sense of belonging, pacifism, honesty, tolerance and the preservation of indigenous roots.

But as in Latin America there is an atrocious process of Transculturation, seen as the reception made by a social group of cultural forms and traits from another origin, which has been consolidating consumerism, betrayal of the fatherland and the selfishness of citizens, since obviously that also affects the quality of education provided by schools. It is unforgivable that one prefers to teach the frivolity of English than the nobility of Ecology, in discerning the next creeping sons of Uncle Sam. If to this perverse reality, we add the psycho-emotional lack of control produced by war videogames, the virtual prostitution awaited by social networks and junk television to which children are blindly exposed, as the new generations will see in the eyes of the Earth, a treasure commodity to be exploited, listed and extinguished in a sulfur-filled bag. In turn, the protocol of environmental impunity is channeled by deputies, senators and congressmen, who grew up biting the hand of an ancient aboriginal culture, which became a happy meal with extra large soda. Nowadays, the boys instead of learning to recycle, save energy and respect the fauna, they prefer to spend their time writing lol, lmao and omg.

In connection, behind the blood displayed on the Latin American routes, due to the large number of kidnappings, murders, acts of corruption, hitmen and smuggling that haunt us today, is the absence of an environmental education in the sad childhood that saw grow to potential kidnappers, murderers, corrupt, hitmen and smugglers. All the dire reality that we confront on a daily basis is implicitly and explicitly visible around us. That is why they say that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. Although we do not know what is true or false in that statement, it seems that people got used to tune in to the Devil's politics, to enjoy the Hollywood shootings and to buy anything they sell in high definition. If we continue with the blindfold, we can sleep soundly tonight. If we dare to wake up from the nightmare, we could learn from various initiatives that took place in Latin America throughout 2013, and that we must adopt them and share them with our loved ones.

In Chile, the “Save the Earth” campaign was continued, which seeks to drastically reorient the way in which children perceive the Environment, through the presentation of interactive events that include the dissemination of educational videos, exhibitions of billboards and ecological crafts. These activities go through the schools of the country, taking the green message to the little ones in the house. In addition, fairs are held with sustainable products that demonstrate the value of complying with the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle). The campaign places great emphasis on the rational use of drinking water, because as we know, the vital liquid is scarce in many rural populations of the world, and it is important that infants do not waste the essential resource for life.

In Ecuador, the plan "We are part of the Solution" was built, which aims to end the passive attitude of citizens in conservation issues, considering each person as a possible agent of change within their territory. For this purpose, projects are coordinated that promote the participation of the community in the public agenda, through eco-workshops for the training of community environmental promoters, who travel through urban areas, hamlets and border areas of the country. The interesting thing is that the plan was designed to adapt to the reality faced by the inhabitants, and thus train them in solving the environmental problems they suffer. It was also unveiled "The rolling house", made with recyclable materials and non-polluting technologies, to travel squares, avenues, schools, parks and shopping centers, in an effort to motivate environmental education to different social strata. The structure houses tents that display a pedagogical dynamic according to the ages of the visitors.

In Peru, the “Eco-Dialogues” project was presented, which are theorized as spaces for environmental reflection and an opportunity for students in the last grades of secondary education to learn about sustainable urban mobility, the impact of climate change and eco-efficiency. in companies. It seeks to clarify the questions of the boys, through an entertaining space in which the speakers interact with the attending public, to awaken the ecological interest in all the students. In addition, an environmental campaign is being carried out with the slogan “Que ricas mis ANP. I want to protect them ”, in which Peruvian scouts were instructed to promote the conservation of Protected Natural Areas (ANP), which are home to great biodiversity and tend to be devalued by people. The action of the campaign began on the weekends of October, in regional and metropolitan parks of Lima, where mini festivals were held with the presence of park rangers, so that the family could discover the value of Nature through recreational activities.

In Argentina, the “Conjugating environment” program was organized, which is a multidisciplinary option based on environmental justice, so that students, workers, teachers, senior citizens, NGOs, unions and other social actors, get involved in current ecological issues. The initiative contemplates training teachers and students, through a series of tasks, such as: comprehensive training sessions, art workshops, theater performances and puppets made with reused material, composting, recycling paper, talks on agro- ecology and environmental psychology. The "Sustainable Schools" are also presented, promoting effective waste management and the "Divercine Ambiental", which is an audiovisual alternative to bring the green message to civil society. Let us remember that Argentina and Colombia joined forces in October to develop the first "Seminar on significant experiences for teaching environmental education", demonstrating the value of working together for planet Earth.

In Cuba, the “Friends of the Bay” program continues to be consolidated, so that mainly children and adolescents are linked to caring for the environment, by learning about all the beauty that encompasses the bay of Havana. The hydrographic basin requires a common interest on the part of the citizens, in safeguarding the ecological balance that is manifested there. The observation technique and logical reasoning are applied so that the boys identify the real state that the bay presents. This helps to create a pattern of conservation behavior through scheduled sanitation tasks that eradicate the effects of environmental pollution. The "Friends of the Bay" have been encouraging the love of Nature in more than 300 institutions of different levels of education, which has allowed us to carry out everything from children's artistic expressions to university environmental diagnoses.

In Colombia, the "I sing them" campaign has been stimulating environmental education in the community of New Granada. The attack plan focuses on individuals learning to classify organic and inorganic waste from their homes, which establishes a culture of recycling in the diarism of Colombians. Exhibitions are developed for the communities to observe how a plastic bottle can be reused in garden pots, decorative ornaments and fruit baskets. In public events, young people participate by performing choreographies with festive songs that incite ethical and moral values, so that people obtain social responsibility with the Environment.

In Mexico, the "Municipal Environmental Education Programs" are carried out, which propose a series of workshops and conferences so that representatives of the municipalities know the value of Ecology and build collective usufruct projects in their respective municipalities. In parallel, the “Limpiemos Nuestro México 2013” ​​plan was implemented to clean up streams, streams and natural drains, where people dump solid household waste. While the "Environmental Education Days" are held in protected natural areas in the State of Mexico, Monterrey and Guadalajara, rescuing the value of ecology in students and teachers. Unfortunately, these initiatives do not solve the serious problem of citizen environmental indifference. Between the bloody bullfights, the eternal bureaucracy of the political system and the smog of the Aztec sky, they make Mexico one of the countries least committed to imparting environmental education to Latin American youth.

In Venezuela, the "I am Conscious, efficient consumption" campaign is being developed, which promotes the rational use of electrical energy, seeking that the Creole population understands that the Environment is our best life partner, and people's will is needed to harmonize its relationship with the environment. We like that the energy saving plan covers the national high schools, because only there, is it possible to preach a conservationist culture that does not depend on external factors to be assimilated or rejected by the inhabitants. The Educational Zone of each Venezuelan state, together with the active participation of Corpoelec, have been working together to unplug the ecological apathy of the people. Hopefully, and the new “Bolivarian National Curriculum” that is planned to be established in 2014, integrates environmental education as a mandatory nature within the school curriculum subjects, since we know that Eco-socialism is a fundamental part of the revolutionary process.

In Brazil, we learned about the “Prancha Ecológica” project, in which children learn to keep Rio's beaches clean by collecting PET plastic bottles, which are reused as original surfboards. In addition, the idea has been merged with environmental education programs in the Brazilian region, to promote the healthy practice of sport and respect for Pachamama. In Uruguay, the "Wind" project is being carried out, in which 140 adolescents interfere in ecological matters, thanks to camps located in seven protected areas of the Uruguayan territory. It is intended that the campers share their experiences with the rest of the participants of the activity. And in Honduras the project "Environmentally Friendly Schools" is being extended, which highlights the need to practice recycling in the daily lives of the towns, to found fraternal solidarity among the boys, and to resume farming classes in the Honduran educational system.

We believe that environmental praxis should go beyond talks, projects, workshops and commemorative dates. The flaw of this classic methodology is demonstrated with the plague of ecocides that continue to invade the geography of the World. We saw that in Latin America there is no environmental policy that guarantees the systematic adherence of ecological contents to the basic education that boys receive every day. Although isolated efforts have been made to include AD as a cross-sectional topic of study, the theory escapes the sad reality that we suffer from. That is why it is vital to spread school texts that address conservationism to public libraries, reading rooms and cultural centers, where children participate in group dynamics that enliven interest in the well-being of the environment. If you and I project street activism within our communities, hoping that people without distinction of races, colors and creeds, assume the commitment to protect Pachamama, surely the destiny will be much more positive for everyone.


Video: A Brief History of Environmental Justice (July 2022).


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