Today is World Environment Day allover the world and I am not sure if all our learners are aware of thi3s crucial day. It is often asserted that the best inheritance we can pass on to the coming generations is a clean and healthy environment.
The importance of the environment cannot be over stressed. Schools as institutions can play a very instrumental role in promoting the protection of the environment.
We are living in very trying times with global temperatures going up each day, water levels droping, forest reserves disappearing, and the dependancy on fossil fuels increasing yet the fuel deposits are not.
We are slowly heading towards a perilious point where mother earth may not be in position to support our luxurious destruction of the same systems that are meant to support life.
To reverse or even contain the situation, a lot of awareness and activism is required. I don’t think there is a better place to start than in schools.
Schools can indeed be a good foundation for the preservation of our environment. Environmental protection topics are actually included in the learning syllabi of most education systems worldwide.
Teachers should therefore do their utmost to see to it that learners actually do appreciate the merits of protecting the environment.
Outside class, we can have environment and wildlife clubs formed in schools. These clubs can be involved in various activities from time to time.
General awareness, tree planting and regular cleaning of the school environs may be some of the ways these cubs can help the cause of saving mother earth.
Environment/wildlife clubs can also have field trips to forests, game parks and any other nature reserves to see for themselves how beautiful the world can be if left intact.
This is something that can easily be done with the help of bodies like the Rwanda Environmental Authority or even the tourism body, ORTPN.
To push the activism further, senior environmentalists and politicians may occasionally visit different schools offering lectures on the advantages of preserving the environment and the dangers of having it destroyed.
As we celebrate World Environment Day we need to analyse the role students and schools in general can play in the fight against environmental degradation.
As a home to the young generation, investing in them (schools) to fight the destruction of mother is a great investment in the future. As they grow up, they will grow with the values of having the world at heart.
Activists need to spend a lot of time in schools imparting skills, attitudes and knowledge that is vital for the conservation and preservation of the environment. I have seen this strategy being successfully used in the fight against the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS.
Most schools I know here in Rwanda have got Anti-SIDA (against AIDS) clubs that are quite vibrant in disseminating information to the young ones on the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
We even have the campaign spear headed by the first lady to combat AIDS. The now ubiquitous “Witegereza” billboards are all targeting the young ones in the fight against the AIDS problem.
The people behind such efforts do appreciate the fact that for some strategies to be effective, we ought to invest in the young ones because it is they who will inherit a better place or the problems that are largely caused by the irresponsible adults of this world.
Why then can’t we have the same strategies applied to address the plight of our tender environment? Schools should help learners to appreciate the environment. And since charity begins at home, I think every school ought to have a well attended school lawn with well trimmed green grass.
Secondly, trees need to be planted often by the students (not labourers) as this will go a long way in making them get a sense of ownership for the environment that they will not onnly inherit but are already living in.