Make it Green Mondays: Educating Young People

“So what’s the big deal with educating young people on their carbon footprint?”

 I am certain many of you have noticed the surge in programs and initiatives for implementing environmental education in schools, which I believe is because of the urgency we feel to reduce the amount of single-use materials that are entering into our waterways and affecting our wildlife, leading to a wasteful way of living, among many other environmental issues caused by humans. We hope engaging our youth in understanding the need for the protection of the environment will lead to a direct change in behavior, attitudes and actions.

 Starting environmental education at a young age is important because it’s at that time that young people develop their perception of the level of control they have over their surroundings and it leads to personal accountability. In case you’re like me and need a refresher on the time line of the generations, it goes like this: Baby Boomers- 1946-1964, Generation X- 1965-1976, Millennials aka Generation Y- 1977-1995 and last but not least Generation Z 1996-TBD. 

With Generation Z, 70 million people in the U.S., creating urgency to “do something” is crucial. Now, I don’t want to paint a picture that this newest generation (Generation Z) is responsible alone to “fix” all our problems, nor should we forget that generations before them have been helping pave the way. We’ve seen a lot of action from the Baby Boomer generation, Generation X and Millennials. Baby Boomers are currently the most likely to use energy-efficient appliances and recycle, where Millennials hold first place for using the least amount of water and energy. 

Baby Boomers tend to be blamed for many of the current issues with our environment, but they should be commended for some notable achievements. Baby Boomers are responsible for both the Clean Air Act, and the first ever Earth Day in 1970. Our goal should be for all generations to unite for the common goal of continued education and self-awareness. We can all understand the concept that when creating future policies that protect our planet, it will require the help of our younger generation to put plans into action. The sustainability of our Earth’s resources and health will be made possible by the next generation, but they will need the educational tools we provide now to be successful.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings on this edition of Make it Green Mondays. 

For Oklahoma Green Schools,

Shavara J.