“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught”-Babe Dioum
Environmental education is one of the very few topics that no amount of emphasis laid upon it can be seen as “too much”, actually in the Nigerian ambiance it has very much been overlooked to a worrying point for the average environmental conscious mind. It comes as no surprise that diverse research on the environment shows that ignorance is one of the major challenges facing environmental growth and safety. The need for utmost awareness and implementation of environmental education has been a pressing issue not only at national level, rather in the international communities. There is no doubt about the fact that environmental stewardship can rather be achieved only when the concern communities are exposed to these pressing environmental issues and subsequently how these issues are tackled and resolved.
Therefore, the utmost need to consider environmental education as a real focus in different societies in order to attain environmental sustainability was first identified in the 1977 Tbilisi conference organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (Tbilisi declaration, UNESCO 1978). In which it was declared in the conference that, environmental education has become a critical need for our global future. The following pronouncements were made after the conference.
- To develop a great awareness and utmost concern about economic, social, political and ecological interdependence both in rural and urban areas.
- To provide an avenue in which the concern citizens will have an opportunity to acquire knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment as well as the skills needed to Preserve and protect the environment.
- To develop a new approach in the behavioural pattern of people towards the environment.
Since inception, Environmental Education has remained a major strategic approach of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. With the main objective of promoting environmental education and awareness amongst all strata of the Nigerian society.
It is not enough that you as an individual is well informed on environmental matters and you do your infinite best to keep to these environmental safety codes, is your next-door neighbour also adhering to these codes? The environment is something we all share in common and destruction of it by another will definitely have an adverse effect on us. This therefore yearns for the need of environmental education across all borders with no exception.
CO2 emission is currently one the biggest issues facing the environment as it contributes immensely to the depletion of the ozone layers, the average Nigerian is a contributor to this through burnings of all kind most especially the unorthodox form of land clearing which is bush burning. Most who participate do not really know how negatively they impact the environment. This would not be the case of they were educated and duly informed on the environment and how to keep it safe.
Environmental consciousness is an attribute incommensurate in the life of an average Nigerian largely because he has not been environmentally educated. Acts that can help salvage the sorry state of the environment, like planting of trees and so on, are what we rarely see here.
Environmental education is advanced and very much implemented in developed countries unlike the developing ones like Nigeria, the need to match these our counterparts to attain their level of environmental awareness is as pressing as it can be. It will be arduous to completely exterminate pollution of all kinds but we can make efforts, that pollution is at its barest minimum and it is firstly education that can aid this cause as citizens will be pretty much informed on dangers of their diverse negative acts towards the environment.
Environmental education considers the environment in its entity, in terms of ecology, natural, technology, sociology, aesthetic and built environment.
“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”
—John Paul II.
This above assertion, I fully adopt verbatim et literatim.
We have to put in the work if we expect to benefit from the environment, if we plan to enjoy where we live, we have to make it conducive for us because no one will do it for us and it is only through environmental education that we will even know how to offer this faithful stewardship to our environment.
Clear to the blind it is that the environmental education is important and very salient to the survival of our environment. What is left is now how to implement and enforce this. Just as the strategic approach of the Nigerian conservative foundation stipulates it will have to be enforced at all strata of the nation, at the national, state, local government and if possible, further down the system. A lot can be achieved if forward steps are taken now towards an efficient environmental education.