Education in Sustainability

Educators, Educational Institutes, Students, Policymakers, Parents

In order to realistically tackle the environmental problems we all face, the ethos of sustainability needs to be central to all educational institutes in terms of what they teach and do.

More outdoor classes. The physical environment in which we learn has great impact. Situating the classroom in a natural setting improves perspective

More physical movement. Not only for the benefit of students’ health, but also the physical graft is necessary for us all to maintain the environment that we occupy. There are lessons to be learned by getting our hands dirty that go beyond what can be examined, and would benefit all students. In third level this principle can apply to any subject regardless of whether it is related to horticulture or not.

Valuing cooperation over competition can help reduce pressure and anxiety felt by students.

Special needs institutions can utilise their garden spaces. This is done by some organisations, but is rarely done to the extent of giving clients the experience of growing an eating their own food.

Primary schools benefit from the Green-Schools initiative and Heritage in Schools Scheme. What is sometimes lacking though is the maintenance of school gardens. It is sometimes beyond the role of a school caretaker, and indicates the need for a school gardener, see Jobs in Urban Sustainable Food Production.

Classes on seasonal cooking, foraging, preserving and storing food, and sustainable food production would be suitable for secondary and third level students and/or can be taught as workshops for the community.

More agricultural courses and/or a research institute specialising in sustainable practices would greatly benefit Galway. Guided by work of agriculturalists like Masanobou Fukuoka, Sep Holzer, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, rather than the requirements of large corporations who value profit over a healthy planet.