Year 3: Environmental Issues
The third year of our project (which was negatively affected by Covid-19 school closures) focused on local environmental issues.
The aim of this third year was to encourage our pupils to think like Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish environmental activist. There are a variety of issues that will affect our pupils in adult life.
“Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” (Evo Morales)
There are many environmental issues that children and adults need to consider, including:
Biodiversity is the most complex and vital feature of our planet. It is essentially every living thing and ecosystem that makes up the environment. From the tallest giraffe to the smallest microorganism, everything plays an important role in the maintenance of our world.
But with the increase in global warming, pollution and deforestation, biodiversity is in danger. Billions of species are going or have gone extinct all over the world. Some scientists, in fact, are suggesting that we are in the beginning of a 6th mass extinction, posing issues for our planet and ourselves.
Reducing our meat intake, particularly red meat, as well as making sustainable choices can help to keep our planet running smoothly.
Water pollution is a huge concern for us and our environment. Not only is polluted water a huge financial strain but is also killing both humans and marine life. With oil spills, an abundance of plastic waste and toxic chemicals entering our waterways, we’re damaging the most valuable resource our planet has to offer.
By educating people on the causes and effects of water pollution, we can work together to undo the damage humans have caused. Laws also need to change to make pollution tougher, consistently across national borders.
We need plants and trees to survive. They provide oxygen, food, water and medicine for everyone, all over the globe. But if deforestation continues at the rate it’s occurring, we won’t have much of the valuable forestry left.
With natural wildfires, illegal logging and the mass amount of timber being harvested for commercial use, our forests are decreasing at an alarming rate. As well as reducing our supply of oxygen, the loss of forests is contributing around 15% of our greenhouse gas emissions.
To help, you can buy more recycled and organic products, limiting the amount of paper and cardboard you use.
Pollution is one of the primary causes of many of the other environmental concerns, including climate change and biodiversity. All 7 key types of pollution – air, water, soil, noise, radioactive, light and thermal – are affecting our environment.
All types of pollution, and environmental concerns, are interlinked and influence one another. So, to tackle one is to tackle them all. That’s why we need to work together, as a community, to reduce the impact that pollution is having on our environment.
5. Climate Change
As pointed out by a recent UN report, without ‘unprecedented changes’ in our actions and behaviour, our planet will suffer drastically from global warming in just 12 years. Greenhouses gases are the main cause of climate change, trapping in the sun’s heat and warming the surface of the earth.
An increased ocean temperature is affecting the sea life and ecosystems habituated there. The rise in global sea levels is shrinking our land, causing mass floods and freak weather incidents across the world. If we continue as we are, the world will suffer irreversibly.
Saying no to driving more will reduce your carbon footprint, as will switching off electrical items when they’re not in use. More importantly, we need to educate the world on the effects and severity of global warming, before it’s too late.