When I first thought of defining the term environment, I found it hard to explain. Environment means something different to everyone, so I decided to figure out what it meant to me. I thought of the physical space I was currently surrounded by which happened to be outside on a deck in Michigan. The trees were green, flowers were still in bloom, and people were flooding the beaches soaking up the sunlight. The joy of summer was still evident and I was excited to be apart of it. The following day, I returned to Canada., and while in the air, I was surrounded by clouds and bright blue skies. I felt very relaxed and carefree. Once I landed in Regina, the skies were grey and I noticed the leaves on the tree had started to change colour. This gave me a slight feeling of disappointment, as I knew my environment meant colder weather was approaching, and that the stress of school had begun.
My environment had changed so much in only twenty-four hours, and it was this change that made me realize how much my environment had influenced my mood and impacted my thoughts. So with the realization that my environment means much more then a physical space, I thought that society needed to become more educated on the damaging impacts we have on nature. As David Orr states, “Today… on planet earth, we will lose 116 square miles of rainforest… 40-250 species…and we will add 15 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere” (pg 7), and with this drastic loss of our environment, not only do we lose physical places, but we also lose a personal, positive connection to that place—something many people do not realize.
Therefore, I believe it is important for me as a future environmental educator to teach children to connect to their environment on a deeper level that allows them to see how the loss of their environment would impact them in all aspects of their life. As Orr states, “The planet does not need more successful people. But it does need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind” (pg 12).; perhaps this personal understanding of their environment would inspire some of my future students to take on these roles in the world.