[Guest Post] Environmental studies in our schools – A Must

Hello everyone!

Here’s a guest post by Yo Nature

Yo Nature (as YOur NAture) is about making the environment of Mauritius everyone’s central interest. We are simply nature lovers, who enjoy salt water in our hair and hiking in the woods. No place is better than little Mauritius, yet few take the time to realize what a beautiful island this really is. We want to change that through our website by providing the right information and encouraging you to care.

We hope that our passion rubs off on you!

Anyone interested to write a post and get some visibility are the most welcomed. Just get in touch with me!


Environmental studies in our schools – A Must

Have you ever seen a cute little boy eating crisps and then throw the plastic bag right on the pavement in front of his parents?

Though it may seem natural to some, others may find it quite unnerving for people to act like this in the 21st century. The sad truth is this: most parents do not themselves respect their environments, so they do not see the use in teaching their children to do so.

What is the environment?

Put simply, our environment is everything that surrounds us, both living and non-living. It also refers to the set of conditions within a specific area as well as the interactions between the organisms and the non-living things. Usually, we associate the environment to nature: trees, rivers and rocks. But it is not limited to that; man-made additions are also considered.

Why should kids learn about environmental management?

Some time back, primary schools used to teach Environmental Studies or EVS; now, this has been divided into science, history and geography. Secondary schools teach Environmental Management at SC and HSC levels. Yet, very few schools in Mauritius offer this option.

While we tend to concentrate more on jamming boring science into children’s heads who see no use of it, environmental studies focus more on the outdoors. Cyclonic conditions, flash floods, climate change make more sense.

5 reasons to study environmental science

  1. It offers the opportunity to work outdoors if you don’t like confined spaces and usual 9am-5pm jobs.
  2. Environmental experts have to move from place to place while working on different projects, one week in the mangroves of Mauritius, one week in the mangroves of Kenya. So, there’s the opportunity to travel and actually see different places.
  3. You get to work right on the battlefield. Our environment is in peril today; industrialization and urbanization are not only wiping away what natural habitats we have left but also impacting heavily on them. Experts are needed to help keep these disasters at bay and to mitigate them.
  4. The study of the environment helps to open doors to more job careers. Most companies are going green and the demand for organic food is also increasing. Depending on where you are, your studies will be useful in some way or another.
  5. Working in nature requires passion. What’s at stake, saving whales or protecting forests, though sometimes may be risky, is more important than the pay at the end of the month.

Right now where we are heading is towards massive changes in our climate. Winters do not even feel cold anymore whereas summers feel like you’re being burnt alive. Something is happening around us; our children have to learn and understand this to be able to come up with the right measures and initiatives.

Islands are more threatened by climate change

We heard time and again of the possible effects and consequences of global warming and climate change; few actually realize that the phenomenon is very much happening now. Little Mauritius, in the middle of the sea, is much more threatened compared to large countries. Why?

  1. Sea level rise
    As glaciers melt, sea levels are rising. Maldives, for instance, is expected to be completely inundated by 2085 without appropriate coastal prevention structures [1]. A general rise in sea level by 80 cm is expected by the year 2100.
  2. Extreme weather conditions
    The temperature is increasing as well as the frequency of cyclones. Warmer waters stimulate the formation of cyclones. Is it not a fact that now we have more flash floods and thunderstorms?
  3. Touristic activities
    Tourism is one of the main economic pillars of the island. According to the Bank of Mauritius, the tourism industry has made around Rs 62.5 billion for the year 2018 [2]. Villas are sprouting over the island like mushrooms, at the expense of wetlands. It is, in fact, due to the filling of these wetlands that flooding is becoming such an issue.
  4. Coral reef deterioration
    The reef that surrounds the island protects us from the fiercer waves of the ocean. As the sea gets warmer, coral polyps die because they cannot withstand high temperatures. What’s more, ocean acidification by acid rainwater accelerates the process. With no barrier, Mauritius is exposed to oceanic threats.
  5. Coastal erosion
    Right now, Mauritius has a population of 1.29 million people. From mountain slopes to agricultural land, houses are popping up everywhere. Obviously, more people means more buildings. However, stronger waves, sea level rise, longer lasting and more frequent rainfall, take away coastal land with them. The population will keep on increasing as will the demand for property.
  6. Fisheries
    For the coastal population, fisheries are still a major money source. With changes in the sea conditions, fishes will migrate or will be destroyed by invasive species.
  7. Social instability
    Don’t we all get annoyed that our once public beaches are now getting restricted? With climate change looming over us, the few beaches that are now public will eventually lose their charm. Who wants the eroded beaches? This is an issue that’s already causing social anger.
  8. Loss of money
    Playing around with our fragile environment will eventually yield the results. Mangrove trees are free, building protective structures costs money. Not to say that it will be a blow to the touristic industry once the word gets around that floods throw their tantrum whenever they want and to beware.

Sustainable Mauritius

At the end of the day, all the elements in nature are linked one to another. We have to be prepared for the coming hard years ahead. And it is not with an attitude that money or technology is the answer that we will do that. Where parents fail, teachers take over.

The future is for children; right now, we have to teach them what we know so that they can come up with the right ideas and solutions to survive. Sustainability starts at school.

References:

  1. Union of concerned scientists. Climate Hot Map – Global warming effects around the world. [online] Available at http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-locations/republic-of-maldives.html [Accessed 14th November 2018]
  2. Statistics Mauritius. International Travel and Tourism- 1st Quarter 2018. Publication. [online] Available at http://statsmauritius.govmu.org/English/Publications/Pages/Tourism_1Qtr18.aspx [Accessed 14th November 2018]
  3. Image source : https://pixabay.com/en/learning-school-outdoor-asia-book-1782430/
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