I came across the term “ecophobia” recently while reading an article about “green classrooms.” Now being green is the politically correct thing to do. I have nothing against conserving and being respectful to the planet. I have done so since I was a child. I have always recycled. I don’t litter. I don’t waste water. I have even tried to cut down on the amount of driving I do. I am doing my part. Yet everyday, we are bombarded with news stories about climate change and global warming.
We are told over and over again that something needs to be done to save our planet. In fact, I have heard on television that we only have five years to do something about it or it will be too late. I don’t see anything really happening. We haven’t heard any good news. It would seem that we are doomed. Scary stuff. No wonder that some kids are scared of nature.
Ecophobia is the new term to describe the fear that many people have for the earth’s future. The doom and gloom that we are bombarded with on a daily basis from television, to movies, to news, to books, etc, is enough to frighten little children. And some people think fairy tales are too much for the youth.
The article “Classrooms are Going Green” in this month’s Instructor magazine encourages educators to teach children to love and appreciate the natural environment. Samantha Cleaver writes, “once children enjoy the outdoors and understand how the environment works, teaching them about environmental issues can empower them.” I wholeheartedly agree.
Scaring people doesn’t seem to work. Giving people facts and education, and then letting them make their own decision is the only way. This is something that I try to do in the classroom every day. The ideas in this article require us to take the learning outside. This is hard to do for a lot of reasons, but it is worth exploring more. I think my classroom could be greener.