• Emina Čuhara

Why are competencies for the environment important for teachers?

To understand how nature sustains life, we need to move from biology to ecology, because sustained life is a property of an ecosystem rather than a single organism or species. Over billions of years of evolution, the Earth's ecosystems have evolved certain principles of organization to sustain the web of life. Knowledge of these principles of organization, or principles of ecology, is what we mean by "ecological literacy."


In the coming decades, the survival of humanity will depend on our ecological literacy – our ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and to live accordingly. This means that eco-literacy must become a critical skill for politicians, business leaders and professionals in all spheres, and should be the most important part of education at all levels – from primary and secondary schools to colleges, universities, and the continuing education and training of professionals.


We need to teach our children, our students and our corporate and political leaders, the fundamental facts of life – that one species' waste is another species' food; that matter cycles continually through the web of life; that the energy driving the ecological cycles flows from the sun; that diversity assures resilience.


The environmental literacy of future educators is a significant prerequisite for successful and quality work in environmental education and sustainable development in preschools. An environmentally literate person has sufficient awareness, knowledge, skills and attitudes to understand the relationships of people and societies with each other and with natural systems and how to do it in a sustainable way.


Eco-literacy goes beyond awareness to develop a shift in perspective that recognizes the principles such as networks, patterns, energy, flow, mutuality and feedback systems that underpin all of our life systems on Earth. Eco-literacy embraces the interconnectedness of system’s thinking - we apply this to all of our interrelated subject matter in a transdisciplinary format. Eco-literacy and system’s thinking is essential to development the mindset that can help teachers guide students toward healthy and active environmental awareness that will move our entire society toward a healthy relationship with our planet.

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