Throughout this course, I have learned a lot about Environmental education, and what it means to live an eco-literate lifestyle.
At the beginning of the semester, I wasn’t sure about what living eco-literately meant. We were asked to think about times in which we felt connected to the environment. In my first creative blog post, I talked about how I thought recycling was key to taking care of the earth and I thought that by just recycling, I was already helping the earth in a big way. While I believe that recycling is still a very important part of taking care of the earth, I have learned that there are many more things that I can do to reduce my carbon footprint.
Through our embodying eco literacy group projects, I feel that I learned a lot about different ways in which I can do my part in taking care of the earth. During the project, things that I have done, and still continue to do, include recycling and repurposing materials, meal preparation to reduce the amount of food waste I produce, composting, bringing reusable water bottles and containers instead of disposable ones, bringing reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, carpooling, and less beef consumption. Before this class, I never realized just how big of an impact the beef industry has on our environment. This project had made me more aware of my embodied actions and I think that is something that will always stick with me.
Another big takeaway for me in this course was the vermi-composting activity we did as a class throughout the term. At the beginning, I was a bit hesitant to participate in this activity because I grew up thinking that worms and dirt were gross and dirty. However, throughout this course, I learned that it is okay to get a bit dirty sometimes. I also thought that the idea of changing our perceptions about what the words ‘gross’ and ‘dirty’ meant. We were told that instead of saying “this is gross” we should think “why do I think this is gross? Where did I learn to think this?” This was key in changing my perception towards the project, and by the end of it, I was a lot more open to touching the worms and to sorting through the soil and compost. Something as small and simple as this provides us with a way in which we can give back to the environment. Composting is a great way to reduce some of the organic food waste we produce and when completed, it provides us with an abundance of nutrients that we can use in our own gardens, allowing us to give back to the earth.
Growing up, my family always planted a garden and had fruit trees in the back yard. Each year, my grandparents worked day and night to make sure their garden was healthy and being taken care of. At the end of each season, seeds from their tomatoes and other plants were harvested and then passed on to my dad and uncles to use in their garden the following year. I think that gardening and growing your own food is a great way to show our love for the land and that “The land loves us back… She provides for us and teaches us to provide for ourselves”, as cited on page 122 of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s ‘Epiphany in the Beans’. My grandparents were key in instilling the passion and importance of gardening down to my father and his siblings, and in turn, my father with pass the tradition down to us, and on and so forth.
Something that I really enjoyed about this course was the outdoor aspect of it. Especially during the busy times in the semester, it can be really difficult to find the time to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer. The idea of practicing stillness was a bit hard for me to understand at first, because I never really thought that laying in the snow was a productive use of my time. However, after participating in the stillness excersice, I found myself feeling a lot more calm and I realized that although I was laying in the cold snow with incredibly strong winds, I felt so at peace and it was nice to just take a moment away from the busyness of school and just take in the fresh air and appreciate the moment.
I think that as a future educator, taking your students outside, and getting them to engage in a stillness activity would be beneficial.
To conclude, I enjoyed this course and I learned a lot about how to live an eco literate life and also the importance of giving back to the earth.