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By Susana Papale. President of the Nueva Tierra Foundation
"Mother Earth, our natural habitat, is in danger," says Professor Susana Papale, a specialist in environmental protection. And it defines the role that education plays today in this problem.
In our environment there is no adequate awareness of such serious problems. Is the presence of the problem that serious or is it an ideological exaggeration of the green movements?
The problems that afflict our planet are real and varied in their origin, in some cases they are aggravated by the absence of environmental policies or by incoherence in the application of legislation. But who is the real responsible? The answer arises without hesitation: "man and his unscrupulous action on nature." It is totally true, but it is also worth clarifying that when we assign responsibility to everyone, we do not get a glimpse of the true direct responsible. It is worth asking then, is throwing a piece of paper on the ground the same as dumping a toxic waste into a water course? Can the consequences of the environmental policies of developed countries, with their high degree of consumerism, be placed on a level of parity with that of developing countries? depositories, in many cases, of? waste? of the first world?
If we are all responsible, we must all pay. This line of thinking leads us to a situation of environmental injustice.
With this answer I do not mean to make an ecology of catastrophe because I know that, inevitably, this leads to inaction; On the contrary, what I want is that from the knowledge of the problems a true awareness is generated. Nobody fights for what they do not know, but for what they love, a keyword that compromises us and leads us to try to reverse risk situations.
Green or environmental movements alert, investigate, solve, then it is up to each of us to participate to understand the message of nature and protect it from whatever role we occupy in society, so that our lives and that of others improve in quality.
So why are our fellow citizens so apathetic to these evils?
Apathy presupposes insensitivity, I do not believe that anyone can remain insensitive to the pollution of a river, the cutting of forests, the extinction of species or a nuclear accident, to name just a few of the many ecological disasters that occur almost daily.
Perhaps immobility contains fear. What is unknown produces a state of what can I do in this overwhelming situation? This is where environmental education provided by official and non-official organizations, through programs, projects or specific bibliography, plays a fundamental role.
Educating yourself for the care of the environment will not end only in information, in the knowledge of problems, but will be a vehicle that leads us towards a new construction of values.
The formation of groups or participation in existing ones to generate environmental projects can be the beginning of the transformation of our behavior.
In order of priority, what are the most urgent measures to take in our country?
Our country does not escape the environmental problems that afflict the world. Deforestation, desertification, loss of biodiversity, all kinds of pollution, etc. Such a plurality of problems requires different solutions, but above all to enforce the law. Our country does not lack environmental legislation, but the non-application of the law is worse than the absence of law, because the former implies corruption.
Everything is urgent and requires immediate resolution. The strict control of the generation of waste that tends to the minimization of both industrial, commercial or residential, has priority one, not only here but in the world.
Is it possible, without the simultaneity of international preventive actions, to achieve the proposed goals?
Without a doubt, environmental problems require international strategies, since they have no borders.
Programs that promote concrete actions in favor of the conservation of air, soil, and water quality, preservation of biodiversity and that promote sustainable development will surely achieve the objectives of environmentalists, which are what humanity needs.
Is the environment just a matter of initial education or does the whole society, whatever its age or activity, must also educate itself?
To circumscribe environmental education to the initial level is to think that it is only? A boy thing? when in reality he is also one of the great of the great in spirit and heart, whatever his age.
The kindergarten children are the ones who have always practiced environmentalism, since the kindergarten teacher, within her didactic planning, points to a fundamental objective which is the respect that children and man owe to nature.
Environmental education must be permanent, reflect and place ourselves in a position of protagonists of a change in attitude, it will turn us into true sentinels of the Earth.
The Federal Education Law establishes a state policy that includes curricular changes and establishes the mandatory nature of teaching the principles and ways of contributing to the protection of the environment. What will be the significance that it will have in the educational community?
Today, in the CBC (Common Basic Contents) proposed by the Federal Education Law, the teacher will find the interdisciplinary treatment that environmental education requires. The role that corresponds to the entire educational community from now on, will be decisive to change the pre-existing situation.
The book "Environmental education, a common cause", which the biologist Alejandro Ruiz Banal and I wrote, wishes to cover the helplessness that teachers experience when they have to deal with issues that affect the environment.
We set out to provide institutional strategies that involve the entire community and encourage it to carry out projects that can solve local problems, since the school is not left out of environmental conflicts. It is the teacher's obligation to address them without delay.
From now on, based on the reflections that the reading of this work promotes, we fully identify with those who wish to modify the environmental reality in the hope of achieving a future in which the dignity of human beings acquires the hierarchy it deserves. .
The theme of this book was not chosen at random, but is the permanent request of students, teachers and the community through our trajectory as environmentalists in the permanent delivery of courses and workshops that we carry out throughout the country.