In the Middle of Things…

As an educator this class is so important to me because it is changing the way that I look at the other classes I am taking. The most important thing that we have covered in this is the recurring theme of “all education is environmental education” (Orr, 2004). It seems like this idea can be related to all of our class discussions. It also makes me think about other things such as is all education treaty education? I would argue that yes it is. Every time we teach a math lesson and do not incorporate treaty education into it we are telling our students that it is less important than math. The same concept applies to environmental education.

I am in no way a perfectionist. Far from it. However when it comes to creating art I am more than aware that I do not posses the fine motor skills to feel confident with anything I produce. That being said I do hope to start to put myself out there more when it comes to creating meaningful blogposts. I have used pencil drawings for all of my posts thus far and I think I am ready to step out of the box I have put myself in and try a new medium. This is a perfect opportunity for me to try my hand at something like painting when my peers will also be putting themselves in a vulnerable situation.

In my last blog post I skirted around the idea of how I can actually give back to nature. That does not mean that I have not been thinking about how we should give back and say thank you anytime we go into nature. During my group field trip I thought about the fact that I should have brought some tobacco so that we could give it to the land. Instead I did my best to be thinking constantly about the environment and how even if I am only making a small contribution at least I am doing something. As an educator saying thanks is something that I have unknowingly brought into my teaching practices already. During my internship my class adopted a tree and we went on bi weekly nature walks. During these walks we would bring our math and literacy homework and stop at the tree to do some of it. Before anybody could start working I would make the class sit and think about how they are thankful for their environment and what they felt when they were in nature. A huge reason as to how I was able to do this is because I had a very supportive co-operating teacher. I do not know if taking 30 kids on a nature walk is something that is feasible for me when I have my own classroom so my biggest question is how can I take children into nature without the support I had during internship?

When I was writing my braid and my love letter I was continually thinking of all the people I know who are not eco literate. The people who have little to no eco literacy certainly outnumber those who do. Other than Sydney, who I wrote my love letter to, I do not think I have a single other friend or family member who is truly eco literate. While that is absolutely a sad thought I cannot help but to think about who is at fault for this utter lack of knowledge in our society. The next thing that I wondered was if it is my responsibility to make the next generation succeed where the generations before have failed? Is it my job to create a mass appreciation for the environment for every single one of my students? That is no easy undertaking. Even if I do take this on, what happens when I am in a building with other teachers who are not as passionate about their environment as I am? All of the hard work that I or someone like me puts in to create eco literacy can easily be undone the next year.

Giving Back to Neature

When I started drawing this I tried several times to draw people a peace pipe together, I quickly realized that was outside of my artistic ability. Instead I sketched a picture of a fire with an image. To me the fire represents life. Fire gives life and takes life away. For many ecosystems fire is crucial to replenish the soil and give new life to the environment. I think that this fire can also represent a way to ask permission for being on the land. When you smoke a peace pipe you require fire and many First Nations rituals required fire. In many ways the fire is a metaphor for the destruction of the environment caused by humans, but it can also be a symbol for how we can save the environment if we take the right steps.

Eco literacy braid

A common theme in all of the love letters, poems, songs, etc. was education. This is probably the case because we are aspiring teachers. The three letters/poems that I chose to braid were Eilysh, Kayla and my own. We all talk about education as being an important part of creating and sustaining eco literacy. In Kayla‘s acrostic poem, one of the points she makes is: “Teaching your friends and family about the environment, your environmental ways and sustainability is an increasing interest to you”. This speaks to me because it was closely related to one of the traits I throughly admire about my girlfriend in that she is constantly seeking out education about the environment. Kayla and Eilysh both talk about loving the environment and spreading that love. I think this is something that is implied in my love letter because I don’t think that anybody would try so hard to make the environment a better place if they didn’t love it. Eilysh really exemplifies this love when she tells her sister that her “love for the environment is contagious”.

One my favourite things about how my letter relates to Eilysh’s poem is that we both mention that it is unrealistic for one person to think they can change the world. In my letter I say that Sydney’s “life goal to end pollution and save the world may be a little far fetched but is enviable never the less.” Meanwhile Eilysh calls her sister Chloe naive for thinking she can change the world.

I think that all of these people that we envy are prime examples of people that have been prepared to be valuable members of a sustainable society. (Capra, 2007, pg 9) That is probably the biggest thing that relates them all and makes us take notice of their eco literacy.

Reference

Capra, F. (2007). Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, and the Breath of Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12(1), 9-18.