We explore how sustainable development affects the environment, and how environmental education is one of the most important things we can be focusing on to help reverse the effects of climate change…
We live on an extraordinarily vast and varying planet. Still, despite its scale, our world is at risk of what activists’ call ‘an unprecedented global emergency’. Younger people are responding to climate changes, joining in huge numbers and using their voices to ask government leaders to act more decisively.
Making changes for the next generation.
Three days before the UN emergency climate summit, on Friday 20th September 2019, school students started the most significant global climate strike in history with the #FridaysForFuture hashtag. All over the world, students, city workers, adults and community groups mobilised across the globe to show their concern and ask for change.
In recent weeks, we were devastated to see that a state of emergency was declared in New South Wales in Australia because of the heart-breaking wildfires. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes and tourists fled to the beaches for safety.
The military was deployed to help, and the sky turned a dark red. While the continent is used to bushfires, intense blazes have swept the country, destroying 13.5 million acres of land and countless animals. The country is in the middle of a heatwave, seeing unprecedented temperatures break records over the last few months, and the unusually extreme heat and prolonged drought have been the cause.
Why are trees and forests so essential?
Change is possible through education, and many believe that to highlight the challenges faced by our environment, we must remind people how precious and delicate our ecosystems are. Many people still don’t realise is that all life on earth is dependent on trees and plants.
Trees prevent the erosion of soil, provide homes for a variety of animals, and they also play a significant role in cleaning the air of carbon dioxide. Rainforests are one of the planet’s most vibrant and oldest living ecosystems. These magnificent forests are home to over half the world’s plant and animal species, despite only covering 6% of the world’s surface. It’s a busy, noisy place with the slithering of snakes, the chirping of birds and humming of insects!
Such a biodiverse environment benefits more than just the rainforest. The forests feed us, producing a range of food products, such as rice, coconut, banana and mango. An estimated 70% of plants only found in the rainforest are used in cancer treatments. On a larger scale, rainforests help to stabilise the planet’s climate with its green vegetation helping to regulate global temperatures by absorbing magnificent amounts of radiation from the sun. In addition to this, rainforests consume vast quantities of carbon dioxide and convert it back into oxygen, producing about 40% of the earth’s breathable air.
Why do we have to teach environmental education?
These precious and amazing rainforests have begun to decrease, due to human development and our demands on natural resources such as timber. As things stand today, rainforests which have survived for over 70 million years, like the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, have the potential to disappear within the next century.
By educating people on the importance of our environment and sustainable logging practices, deforestation may begin to slow down. Understanding the positive and negative ways that humans interact with ecosystems, and the benefits of using renewable energy sources can make a big difference. As the #FridaysForFuture campaigns have shown, the next generation believes that citizens have a responsibility to work together, use their voices and protect the planet. They have a desire to seek new knowledge and stay informed. Therefore, educational programmes and campaigns are so important – they increase public awareness, teaches critical thinking and enhances an individual’s problem-solving skills.
Project Focus: Environmental Education at The Eden Project in Cornwall
We are proud to have collaborated with Jerry Tate Architects a few years ago to develop The Eden Project Aerial Walkway, a 150m over-canopy walkway stretching through the treetops.
The walkway leads to an authentic ‘expedition base camp’ which takes students, tourists and visitors alike on an immersive journey of discovery. Crossing the magnificent walkway and looking down into the vast Rainforest Biome is thrilling.
Still, the primary purpose of the structure is to educate and inspire, contributing to the charity’s wider objectives. Eden Project’s ‘Earth Story’ summer programme took in over 200,000 visitors. Highlighting the beauty of the natural world, it focused on sharing what we can all do to help fight climate change and biodiversity loss.
Blue Forest’s sustainable design for the built environment
Here at Blue Forest, we are passionate about the great outdoors and love nothing better than to get outside and be among the trees. It’s why we enjoy our jobs so much! We’re passionate about the well-being of the environment and enforce sustainable principles throughout our design and construction process.
All our treehouses are made from FSC/PEFC certified timber, meaning that it has been logged from sustainable forests which have an active strategy of replanting and habitat regeneration. We also love to use Kebony; an enhanced wood produced in Norway which is environmentally friendly while being strong and durable.
Considering an educational project?
Blue Forest are experts when it comes to designing sustainable education projects and eco-classrooms. Using our creativity, we design one-of-a-kind structures that encourage learning in the great outdoors.
In addition to the walkway at The Eden Project, we’ve also designed treehouse classrooms, conservation centres and even treehouse nurseries! Inspired by the beauty of the great outdoors, our designs help both young and old to reconnect with nature and engage their imaginations.
If you have a project you would like to discuss with us, then contact us today with your ideas and we will be happy to explore your options with you.