About Environmental Literacy: Vision and Mission
An environmentally literate person is one who understands systems, ecology, natural processes and their interconnectedness, who sees connections, influences, causes and effects, both short- and long-term, who makes decisions based on good data to strive toward sustainable outcomes, who shares information and wonder, and who models good choices and appreciation. Environmentally literate people will express themselves as citizens of their country and planet through voting, civic action, service, and conscientious choices.
If we have environmentally literate students, it will lead to community action, student-driven service, and adults with a sustainability mindset, which will ultimately lead to a healing planet fueled by creative alternatives, hope and a common respect for the resources that sustain us.
In order for students to become environmentally literate, they must really know something natural, deeply, inside and out. They must have a sense of place. They must have a personal connection. Likewise, they must also have knowledge, skills, confidence (empowerment), optimism, and joy. Then they can act, teach, make wise choices (and desire to do so).
In addition to creating adults who will make sustainable choices, there is documented evidence that students who spend time outdoors or who have significant nature experiences have significant health and behavior benefits. As one example, time in green space can reduce symptoms of depression, ADHD and anxiety, while increasing creativity and focus (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448497/). There is so much evidence that nature is “good for us” that there is currently a bill in Congress addressing these benefits (HR 2702) (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr2702ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr2702ih.pdf).
That being said, activities and assignments in this class are designed specifically to meet goals of increasing students’ environmental literacy and following the spirit of the No Child Left Inside Act.
For More Information on This and Related Topics:
Michigan's Environmental Literacy Plan (MiELP) www.mielp.org
Michigan No Child Left Inside Coalition http://michncli.org/
Michelle Obama and the Let's Move Campaign http://www.letsmove.gov/
Other Michelle Obama health initiatives http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/12/entertainment-us-books-michelleobama-idUSBRE85B1GN20120612 and http://www.npr.org/2012/06/12/154854113/first-lady-fights-obesity-with-moves-and-good-food?ft=1&f=5
Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation http://celfeducation.org/
More about service learning and its benefits: http://www.servicelearning.org/what-is-service-learning
Environmental Literacy Council http://www.enviroliteracy.org/subcategory.php/1.html
Campaing for Environmental Literacy http://www.fundee.org/facts/envlit/whatisenvlit.htm and http://www.fundee.org/facts/envlit/components.htm