Environmental education as key to sustainable development in Nigeria

(By Kalu Chijioke Harvard)

However, to record a sustainable growth in Nigeria the need to inculcate healthy environmental attitudes in our teachers, students and parents is needed. We have to improve the quality of the environment both in the schools and at home. In order to encourage healthy practices; award systems need to be put in place to give recognition and prizes to schools and teachers that show exemplary attitude in good environmental and health practices.

ONE profound aspect of human existence is the environment. This happens to be, if not all we are and can be, for our life and existence are anchored in it. On the other hand, education is another pillar of human survival. Education had been a principal key in ensuring progress and development in our society.

  Education and the environment are essential in economic growth, spiritual advancement and good health. Therefore, none of them can be neglected in any society. Sadly in Nigeria, these factors are the most neglected. The environment is being mal-treated continuously and our education systems are harassed by the inconsistencies that surround us.

   One may be wondering what brought about these levels of disenchantment towards these essential aspects of our life in Nigeria. The answer, being not far-fetched, lies in the truth that the adults of our society were not properly groomed, thus the evidence being manifested in their attitude towards the environment and education is not surprising. This unwholesome attitude has rubbed off on the younger generation who tend to emulate their behaviours.

  Therefore, the need for a serious campaign on enkindling environmental knowledge in our young is paramount. This campaign when embarked on will enhance both sectors of our society. The education system will be improved while healthy environmental practices will be encouraged.

  Many countries that adopted educational environmentalism had and are still recording enormous progress in development. Their secrets have been the recognition of the importance of environmental sustainability in the development of any nation. By doing so, nations such as Japan, China and U.S.A. were able to meet their present need and also secure the safety of the future generation.

  However, to record a sustainable growth in Nigeria the need to inculcate healthy environmental attitudes in our teachers, students and parents is needed. We have to improve the quality of the environment both in the schools and at home. In order to encourage healthy practices; award systems need to be put in place to give recognition and prizes to schools and teachers that show exemplary attitude in good environmental and health practices.

  More so, schools that lack basic health amenities like toilets, waste bins and other environmental management tools have to be selected with the view of helping them provide such tools. An avenue, for widespread environmental consciousness and sense of responsibility in our society by engaging students, teachers, parents and the general public in true environmental activism is urgently needed. This will help curb the wrong attitudes towards our environment.

 Saro-Wiwa, the late environmental activist and martyr, once said ‘the environment is the first right of mankind.’ This statement is the unassailable truth for we can’t be anything away from our environment. Thus, the synergy of environment and education will go a long way to create the needed harmony for national growth. The government, NGOs and other corporate bodies must join hands to initiate the wide spread of educational environmentalism for a sustainable development.

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