I was honored to switch roles on Feminist Magazine, and be a guest on a roundtable about eco feminism, eco education and environmental justice today!
We shared our perspectives on what we think are some of the most important issues in environmental justice movements, especially as they intersect with education and youth.
I loved the discussion that we can’t separate environmental education from social justice, especially in urban areas. My role as an environmental educator, especially as a white enviro educator, is to be able to name dynamics of inequality, power and privilege with my students, especially working in South LA & Southwest Los Angeles County. Environmental education is not just about the polar bears, but also about our lives in the city. Los Angeles is “the environment” too! Helping students understand that everything is connected as part of interrelated systems is part of teaching them to become ecoliterate community members, and supporting students in understanding their role as environmental stewards.
As an educator at Environmental Charter High School, I know we wouldn’t be able to do any of the great community work we do with students without first addressing what Bill Glasser calls our basic needs: Survival, Love & Belonging, Power, Freedom and Fun. Our strength lies in this attention to the needs of our students and staff, and that we use a service learning model – not community service or volunteering – but where students are really asking hard questions and using those questions to guide their research and engage with real issues. By building a culture of appreciation at our school, we are able to create strong community partnerships that make a lasting impact on students, community members, and our environment.