Although ignorance seems to be prevailing at UN climate talks and in the US Senate, thousands of green oriented educational programs offer hope for a more sustainable future.
As Kevin Drum wrote in a Mother Jones article on August 18, 2010, even the environmentally friendly have much to learn about sustainable living.
A 2009 study revealed that while most are interested in sustainability, many do not know how to go about creating a greener world. The 2009 questionnaire titled, Implications for a Green Curriculum Application toward Sustainable Development, explored university students' understanding of sustainable development, as well as their attitudes, environmental values, and life style behavior.
The results indicated that the majority of the participants declared themselves familiar with the term of sustainable development, but they did not understand the term as a holistic concept. It also found that university students had favorable attitudes toward sustainable development and intrinsic values toward the environment. However, these participants did not readily take action to create a more sustainable future.
The study indicates that university students are aligned with the environment but they do not know how to bring their actions into line with their values. Sustainable curriculums are key to instilling the knowledge required to drive the green economy. Thankfully a wide range of educational programs are rising to meet the challenge.
Green schools and sustainable curriculums are growing exponentially in the US, at the primary and secondary level, school boards are coordinating their efforts to provide both green schools and greener curriculums. According to Lisa Bennett of the Center for Ecoliteracy, in Berkeley, California, green schools are sprouting up in all shapes and sizes across the United States.
The Michigan Green Schools program continues to grow and in 2010 they added another six counties. One example of a sustainable primary/secondary school is Head-Royce School in Oakland, California. The school hopes to become one of the first carbon-neutral schools in the nation. The Center for Ecoliteracy has worked with Head-Royce and other schools to integrate environmental action into lesson plans. The principle of Head-Royce believes it's important for schools to teach sustainability, "many of the problems that we now face are because we didn't learn about sustainable living so why not start teaching young kids about it," he said.
Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, and Oregon have committed to developing green educational programs. A collaborative effort between state and federal authorities will create secondary and post-secondary programs that will lead to certificates and associate and bachelor degrees.
As part of the program, Georgia will focus its efforts on construction, energy, and transportation; Illinois will focus on energy, utilities, and waste management; Ohio will tackle agriculture, biotechnology, and energy; and Oregon will focus on construction and solar and wind energy.
To be sustainable we will need to relearn parts of almost everything we do. To help meet this need in the construction industry, new green construction training curricula have been developed in cooperation with industry and green product manufacturers.
According to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, "Green means healthier learning environments for students and adults, plus lower energy costs and a stronger economy. Green programs of study support the administration's goal of expanding a green workforce by preparing students for high-skill, high-wage jobs in a clean energy economy."
There are thousands of examples of green educational programs that meet the sustainability demands of the modern era. From a green school in Bali that offers sustainable education starting at preschool, to rapidly proliferating university level curriculums in America, green academics are on the rise around the world.
Sustainable education programs are bridging the gaps in our knowledge and transforming the students of today into the leaders of tomorrow.
Sustainable Education is Key to Accessing the Green Economy
Green Memes and Schools
NYC Public School's Green Initiatives
West Michigan's Green Academic Offerings
UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
The Princeton Review Green Colleges Honor Role 2010
Sierra's Top 100 Cool Schools
Leading the Green Job Market with a Sustainable MBA
Commonground University's Online Environmental Classes
CleanEdison`s Building Courses
Walden University's PhD in Sustainability Online Degree
PhD in Innovation and Governance for Sustainable Development
Columbia University's PhD in Sustainable Development
Prescott College`s PhD in Sustainability
UBC`s PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies
Top 10 College Environmental Programs (2009)
The Shining Stars of Green Schools (2009)
Green Schools are Cool (2009)
Sierra Magazine's Green Schools (2009)
The Princeton Review Green Schools Honor Role (2009)
Back to School Environmental Tool Kit (2009)
Back to School (2008)