The evidence is clear: the general public care deeply about nature and the environment. According to new polling, four in five UK adults believe that nature is under threat and that more needs to be done urgently to safeguard it. And we already know that children and young people are passionate about environmental matters. Now we read that the leaders of three major conservation groups are hinting at the possibility of direct action by their members to challenge what they call the government’s U-turn on safeguarding nature. The concept of Life-Based Learning developed as a response to the urgent challenges we face. Safeguarding nature is one such challenge. That’s why nature, the environment, the animal kingdom, the physical world, sustainability — in short, humankind’s relationship with and appreciation of the world around us — would be a central focus of a truly life-based approach to learning.
Interviewees were asked to select up to three things they’d most want to see in their local area to improve nature and wildlife. The suggestions with the highest percentages were, in order:
There is growing concern that, as part of its ‘growth, growth, growth’ agenda, the government of Liz Truss is preparing to water down or even abandon green pledges made by previous administrations, including its immediate predecessor led by Boris Johnson. Key concerns relate to:
In the case of oil and gas, the decision is clearly at odds with the view of international climate scientists who say that fossil fuel projects need to be closed down, not expanded, and that there should be no new projects at all if there is to be a chance of keeping global temperature rises under 1.5°C.
The three charity chiefs, Hilary McGrady (National Trust), Beccy Speight (RSPB) and Tanya Steele (WWF) said in a collective statement:
This government, elected on their greenest ever manifesto, is now contemplating breaking its promises on vital protections for the UK’s nature, risking catastrophic consequences. From abandoning fundamental legal protections for wildlife to failing farmers committed to sustainable agriculture, this would be an attack on nature at the worst possible time.
The concept of Life-Based Learning developed as a response to the urgent challenges humanity faces. Safeguarding nature and the environment is one such challenge. We need to think both short-term and long-term – and children and young people must, almost by definition, be central to any long-term strategy. We already know that children and young people value nature and the environment. A 2020 survey by Natural England of 1,500 children aged between 8 and 15 found that:
LBL is predicated on the notion that children need to be learning about issues such as the climate emergency, environmental degradation, the need for sustainability and other such challenges. But the aim is not to frighten or to spread a fatalist mindset. On the contrary, LBL is about agency and empowerment, giving young people the knowledge, knowhow and skills to lead healthy, sustainable and happy lives.
Image at the head of this article by Petra from Pixabay.