George Lucas Educational Foundation

Go Green: Education for the Ecosystem

This environmental issue includes a roster of green heroes, lesson plans, service-learning opportunities, and more.
Edutopia Team
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Credit: Bart Nagel

There are enormous gains to be made in public education -- potential reforms for what ails the system and promising innovations to bring it to the cutting edge. But every scenario for improvement takes for granted the good health and staying power of our ecosystem.

Can we assume that ongoing pollution of air, water, and soil, as well as extreme weather and other consequences of climate change, will not hamper our vital efforts to effect change? Unfortunately, no. Without significant support, the planet will not provide a safe context for growth or learning.

Fortunately, this reality has not escaped many people invested in education culture. Students, teachers, administrators, and environmental activists have found ways to integrate knowledge and awareness of Earth's fragility with classwork and community service, carefully blending concern with action to help kids feel engaged and hopeful.

That is also our goal with this "Go Green" issue of Edutopia. Every section of the magazine is tied to the theme, from the Editor's Note to Cool Schools to Design, and we enrich the whole package with feature stories dedicated to an exploration of green curriculum, a look at those bringing environmental awareness to education, and projects that involve students and teachers directly with protection of the environment.

Credit: Veer

Read these articles and resources about environmental actions in, around, and for schools:

  • Kids Count: Student researchers become the eyes and ears of environmental scientists.
  • Taking It to the Class: Try these great lesson ideas for environmentally conscious teachers (and their lucky students).
  • Green Heroes: Here are some outstanding educators and students who have become agents of environmental change.

Comments (14) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

John's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

As an environmental studies student almost 40 years ago, past master's student of outdoor education 30 years ago, past environmental educator and US National Park Service Ranger Naturalist, and now as director of an environmental sciences master's program, it heartens me that environmental education is almost considered mainstream. As an undergraduate, I wanted to focus on education, but my professors were activists, and they did not appreciate the value of education. As a reminder let's appreciate our over used, but very important "creed".

"I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform. All reforms which rest simply upon the law, or the threatening of certain penalties, or upon changes in mechanical or outward arrangements, are transitory and futile.... But through education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move.... Education thus conceived marks the most perfect and intimate union of science and art conceivable in human experience."
--John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, 1897

I cannot speak for all, but for many of us who at some time in our lives have referred to ourselves as environmental (or outdoor) educators, the words of Dewey remain an inspiration.

Thank you to all who contribute to learning about the environment. Tally Ho!

Karen Kliegman's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks for putting this together! It is a valuable resource for educators!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I think GO Green is a great program. I am doing a project in my schools EAST Lab, that encourages GO GREEN. We are hoping to do a few presentations on this topic and think very highly of it.

Jerry Hall's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Our website matches teachers with donors of new, used or in-kind contributions of classroom equipment, materials and supplies. Teachers register for free and create WishLists of anything they need. Donors give towards the WishList and when fully funded the items are shipped to the school.

Donors can also post a DonorOffer of things they want to donate. Only registered teachers or schools that fit the profile the donor's want to give to can see the postings. can be used by teachers to give to other teachers, businesses to give to local schools, alumni to give to their former schools as well as many more uses.

Join and find sorely needed classroom resources or, find teachers who can use your new or gently used goods.

Thanks much!

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