How to Save the Planet

children-taught-about-nature

Why Children Need To Know More About Nature

Celia Hameury
Contributor

Save the planet! Save the planet! We hear these slogans everywhere, and see them printed on everything. Yet how many of us really know what saving the planet means? How many of us know what exactly we are supposed to be saving?

Take children out into a big city, and odds are, they’ll be able to name all the brands displayed on the billboards. Take those same children out into the woods, and they probably won’t recognize a single plant. The sad reality is that kids today know more about corporate companies that hardly affect their personal lives than about the flora and fauna that nourishes them and provides the air they breathe.

You may ask yourself, what’s the big deal? Why does it matter if a child can’t differentiate an oak from a birch? As consumers, we should know more about the companies from which we buy our goods, right? Wrong. If children don’t know anything about nature or the environment, how can we expect them to strive to protect it?

Global warming is a massive issue for modern society. People pollute the air, and produce massive amounts of litter, with little consideration for the environment affected. Scientists keep reminding that humans, particularly westerners, need to alter their ways of life to avoid destroying nature. Despite this, few people are actually implementing changes in their daily lives. With increasing extinction, deforestation, and inundation of small islands, most of the consequences of human activity on the environments hardly affect most westerners in their daily lives. For many, these disasters are too distant to even be properly understood.

However, the slightest dip in the economy or the slightest political misstep, sends us into a frenzy of anxiety. Can we really say that market crashes and political clashes are more relevant to our daily lives than the melting glaciers or the thinning of the ozone layer? Hardly!

The reason these environmental crises do not touch us as much as the corporate world’s ups and downs is the lack of knowledge. How can we care about the extinction of the Pyrenean ibex when we don’t even know what this creature looks like? Why would we be troubled if the Tuamotu islands disappeared, if we can’t even locate them on a map? People have no interest in that about which they know nothing. And this doesn’t only apply to current generations. How can we expect future generations to sacrifice the comfort of the western lifestyle to protect the environment if they know nothing about nature?

Children today need to learn about nature so that they will be motivated to work to preserve it in the future. The basic names of plants and animals should be taught in school, like the names of the planets and the alphabet. This kind of knowledge is as important as everything else children learn in elementary school, and should not be ignored anymore. In the end, we can’t save the planet unless we know what we’re saving.