Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds: Empowering our Children with Ways to Protect the Environment while Cultivating the Earth

Friday, March 10, 2006

Teaching the ethics of environmentalism

Having to streamline our project has caused our group to reconsider our mission statement: what is it that we want to accompish in the classroom with these kids? As we stated in the first draft of our paper:

Saving the environment is about commitment. Commitment means every one—adults and children of all ages and identities—coming together to plant the seeds for change.

This says it best. If we are going to have any impact in the classroom, we must make our project a team effort. We have reaffirmed our committment to teaching our children about agricutlure and saving the environment, yet how are we going to reach the children? And having narrowed our focus to agriculture, we have reimagined the message we want to bring to the students. In addition to teaching the students about local and organic foods, we want to begin an ethics forum within the classroom. Specifically, we want the students to discuss why they think these issues are important? As humans, are we morally responsible for our fellow human beings and the environment in which we live? Does this obligate us to support local, smaller farms as opposed to corporate ones, or opt for organically grown produce in our diets as a means to deter pesticides and contaminants in the ecosystem?

We feel that these questions are central to our topic, for we cannot simply throw the students into environmentalism. We must teach them how to be passionate about the environment of their own--their own environmental moralists and advocates. We are confident that we have selected the appropriate school to carry out this message. When the opportunity to present our curriculum to students in the St. Thomas Choir School (located in midtown Manhattan) arose, we were at first skeptical. Are we comfortable teaching in a religious environment? Will they be open to our curriculum and ideals? But after discussing the issue as a group, we soon saw that this is a germane environment for the ethics of environmentalism to be discussed. Imaginably, the students at this Episcopelian school have been exposed to ethical and moral issues in the classroom. The atmosphere at a religious school may very well be conducive to our forum of environmental awareness.

Our next step is creating lessons that will speak to the kids. We are working hard on that front as we leave for our spring breaks. Expect an update with our progress the week of March 20th. In the meantime, please check out the following link for some interesting advice and readings relevant to the environment and ethics. And please take a look at the school we are working with: ! Looking forward to sharing more with you soon!

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