Today, January 26, we celebrate World Environmental Education Day, which was declared as such at the United Nations Conference on the Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden since June 1972. Those of us who share a belief in the transformative power of education cannot miss such a valuable opportunity to reflect on the urgent climate change agenda and the role of education in building committed citizens who care for the home Huh.
Unfortunately, the vision envisioned in 1972 that led to the consecration of this day seems to have more than materialized: over the past 50 years, the prevailing economic growth model exacerbated a situation of generalized stress on the planet. Due to which the climate has accelerated. change, with increasingly dire consequences that are being experienced in all corners of the globe. In the Mexican case, it suffices to mention the effects of the historic water crisis that has plagued our country since 2020 and the consequences of which we will suffer again next spring; Furthermore, the effects of global warming, which is 1.4 °C in our country, is a figure above the global average, which has led to an increase in the country’s average temperature of only 2.4 °C between 1985 and 2020.
The loss of biodiversity and hydrographic basins may no longer be an exclusive problem of directly affected communities and governments; It is important that citizens become actively involved in protecting our ecosystems, assert an agency capacity that pushes for needed structural changes and that demands and monitors better management of the common. But we must remember that citizenship is learned, and that is why educational centers have a central role in building generations to belong and engage in profoundly changing the pattern of our relationship with nature, which means that of the environment. Moving from the vision as a resource, to an understanding of the environment as home.
The Ignatian educational tradition affirms that there can be no education without context. The educational fact must always affirm the primacy of reality and recognize the context in which it is educated so that there is a reason for learning, important for the student and translatable in his life and in society; For this reason, today, environmental education must have an integral and recurring presence in all educational models and plans.
This is necessary because, even today, in the social imagination, talking about environmental education usually refers to a set of strategies implemented to raise awareness of the individual actions we need to take, such as water. care, waste segregation, reduction of energy use and reuse of our products. And, although all these actions are indeed imperative and should form part of the education that is imparted not only in our schools but also in our own homes, reflection must go much further to the structural plane of reality.
Environmental education is said to transcend an understanding of the problem that is limited to depositing sole responsibility for climate change on the individual, or that places all hope of healing ecosystems contaminated by human action in technology. A better environmental education would be one that, along with the previous elements, involves reflection and questioning of our own models of development and economic production, driven by consumption dynamics that exceed planetary boundaries, despite the use of alternative energies.
There is not enough time, we must make the necessary changes now, and take advantage of all the conditions in the educational sector that open up valuable margins for the inclusion in educational plans, an environmental educational agenda that meets the needs of our context, Let’s start with the local ecological problems that each community has to face.
At the national university level, one of these enabling conditions may be the recent change in leadership within the National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education (Anuies), whose assembly elected Dr. Luis Armando González Placencia as head of its Secretary-General Executive. From this point, I would like to welcome this designation, with the confidence that this body, thanks to González’s experience, will play a relevant role in strengthening the national educational agenda, environmental education and its ability to influence reality. Human Rights and University Management. I support your desire to promote a programmatic agenda that includes, as you mentioned at your swearing-in ceremony, the training of human beings who are upholders of full citizenship, sensitive to their surroundings and capable of diversity and respect the environment.
Environmental action is urgent, with the world scientific community clearly warning that we as a civilization are very close to the point of no return to environmental disaster. From now on, the solutions must be of a structural and transversal nature, and in them education is called upon to play a central role, claiming new narratives and educational strategies that place the care of the common home as the priority of the human project. keeps. This is what the World Day of Environmental Education calls us to do; It’s not about greening our consumer society, it’s about educating with the ethics of care inherent in the promotion and defense of a healthy, diverse and dignified common home for all.