Starting small

Nature education doesn’t always have to entail long treks, or visits to supposedly pristine ‘natural’ areas. If we accept that we are part of the larger ecosystem, Nature is observing us, rather than the other way round. We can only reciprocate through guiding our senses to observe, appreciate and love the dynamic connections teeming with life, and death. Even a small potted plant nestled within a concrete jungle is a site of interesting activities, if one were to pay attention. Children don’t need to be told to love Nature, they need to participate in it. These are the lived experiences which add up to environmental perspectives. Researcher Louise Chawla interviewed a number of people working in the environmental sector, and found that most of them traced their motivation to work in the field to childhood experiences. As educators we need to design experiences that foreground the space and time for unmediated observation. After all, too much time has been spent on trying to know, and we are not left any wiser for it. So, why not try awe instead?

A curry leaf plant (Murraya koenigii) in a pot. (Clockwise) Ants ‘farming’ Aphids to use the sap they suck from the plant; A spider web made between two leaves; A common Mormon caterpillar munching on the leaf

References: Chawla, L. (1999). Life paths into effective environmental action. The journal of environmental education31(1), 15-26. Chawla, L., & Hart, R. A. (1995). The Roots of Environmental Concern. NAMTA journal20(1), 148-57.

Published by debbiebornfree

I am cynical, yet hopeful. I am scared, yet take a step into the dark. I am an introvert, yet I can fill the room with conversations. I listen to stories, as I write my own. I am human.

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