Rabat – The planet Earth does not belong to us, and education that promotes global citizenship through green schools may be the only thing that can save it.
Earth is an exceptional habitat, handed down to us from our parents and grandparents to live on and to pass on to future generations intact. Unfortunately, for decades we have almost criminally over-exploited this legacy to satisfy our destructive instincts of wealth and power.
We unscrupulously burn forests, our own vital lungs. We pollute our rivers and oceans with plastics. We poison the air with toxic gases. In short, we methodically murder our mother Earth, without flinching.
Today, our mother Earth suffers, and, like any sick body that sounds the alarm by breaking out with fever, it is calling us to order before it is too late, by the means of global warming. Will we show responsibility and stop the carnage?
I believe education is our only hope for survival: Educating people in schools, in streets, in factories, in political parties, in civil society associations, etc., to be global citizens.
How to embrace global citizenship
Global citizenship aims to help us achieve the kind of world we dream to live in by valuing ecological harmony, pacifism, solidarity, and democracy.
Sharing a single planet with limited resources and space, we need to learn to live better together, in peace and harmony with nature. Living together means embracing the values of solidarity and democracy. To live in peace is to defend pacifist values. Living in harmony with nature is at the very heart of ecological values.
To become a green citizen is to promote a greener, more peaceful, more united, and more democratic world.
Becoming a green citizen and educating others to do so means to strive to educate young people and adults to reflect on the world around us and the values that drive it. It is also to train critical and responsible citizens to take action so that this world lives up to their aspirations.
Faced with the important human challenges in today’s world, we urgently need education!
Why is the ecological world important?
Ecology proposes a certain vision of the world. It is thinking globally by acting locally. As a science, ecology relies on knowledge of the relationships between species, individuals of the same species, and their environment.
Applied to the human being, ecology critiques the mechanisms that manage human activity. Ecologists study the impact of this activity on the environment and, in return, the modifications that these changes bring about in nature.
To aspire to an ecological world is to learn to recognize one’s responsibility towards one’s physical environment and to learn to live in symbiosis with nature.
A global citizen fights for peace
Pacifism is a commitment to achieving one’s goals through non-violent means. On the individual level, it is to recognize that every human being has the right to live in safety and to meet his fundamental needs. It is to oppose any action that deprives others of these inalienable rights.
Collectively, it means ensuring respect for human rights and ensuring universal access to water, air, food, medical care, and social justice.
Pacificism opposes violence and war between human groups, whether for ethnic, religious, cultural, ideological, gender or resource ownership reasons. It strives for the establishment of a permanent international peace.
A global citizen promotes solidarity
Being united means taking into account the ties that bind us to our peers and to our social, ecological, and cultural environment. It is, also, to realize that there is a reciprocal dependence and a mutual responsibility between human beings. What happens to one affects the others.
This solidarity is also exercised between the generations. Our generation has both a debt towards those who preceded us and a legacy to transmit to the generations who will follow.
We must also recognize the existence of a common good to be shared equitably among all the beings that populate the planet. Solidarity is defending the systems that distribute the common wealth and protect the poor.
A global citizen seeks a democratic world
Democracy is about providing people with means to live together in a way that benefits everyone. It is a system where individuals can change leaders peacefully and the government has the right to govern because the people have given it that right.
Proper democracies function based on the principle of equal rights, opportunities, and treatment, and respect for a number of fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of thought, expression, or association.
To fight for a democratic world is to oppose arbitrariness, injustice, corruption, inequality, competition, and the power of money. Learning rights and responsibilities, participating in society, and shaping the common good are essential to the exercise of citizenship.
The 5 things everyone has to do for sustainable development
Environmental education for sustainable development is one of the best ways to hope that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can inherit a healthy planet and flourish in it. Across the globe the environmental, social, and economic challenges are enormous.
Along with promoting the values of ecological harmony, pacifism, solidarity, and democracy, there are five things mankind must do to succeed.
First, everyone must become aware of the state of the world, both in its beauty and in its injustices. Second, everyone must acquire fundamental knowledge about the environment and our links to it. Third, we must develop a sense of belonging to our environment, reverence for the Earth, and motivation to improve the world.
Fourth, we must gain the skills to, observe, analyze, and transform our own realities. Finally, everyone must contribute individually and collectively to solving environmental, social, and economic problems.
The 6 R’s of a green school
The best school involves action and participation. You may have heard othe slogan “reduce, reuse, recycle.” I want to add restructure, redistribute, and re-evaluate to that list.
If we have a hope to leave a better world to future generations, teachers cannot wait to act until they have mastered all the knowledge related to sustainable development. They will have to act according to their common sense by trusting their personal knowledge.
School has always been, along with the family, one of the main places to pass on the values of society. In the current context, it must do more. It must become a place of social transformation, a place where we make the future possible. This certainly involves educating, but above all it includes acting. We learn really well in action.
There are six main principles that structure action within a green school. The first five are: Reducing the consumption of resources like wood, water, and paper; recycling products; restructuring our economic systems through community development, cooperation, equitable exchanges, and fair trade; redistributing resources by sharing and supporting the poor; and reusing products by maintaining, repairing, and recreating them.
The final principle of a green school is re-evaluating our value systems by resolving conflicts peacefully, reaffirming the importance of human relations and solidarity, and preferring “being” over “having.”
In short, a green school is an institution where we think globally and act locally to foster a sustainable future. It is a place where concrete, ongoing actions can be taken to help build a greener, more peaceful, and more democratic world.
Green schools value the commitment of young people and adults by making their efforts known and recognized socially. It is an institution that opens up to the community and the world and proudly displays its achievements and actions, however small!
You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on Twitter at @Ayurinu
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
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