21 October 2005
Green-Govt deal good news for environmental education
The renewed commitment to environmental education contained in the Green Party's deal with the new Government will do
much to advance the cause of sustainability in coming years, Green Party Environmental Education Spokesperson Metiria
The cooperation agreement signed earlier this week with Labour allows the Greens to develop budget initiatives and a
substantial level of influence over the development and implementation of environmental education policy. This not only
builds on the Greens' 2002 budget initiative, but also significantly extends the opportunity to develop the necessary
support and coordination for schools.
"Environmental education is key to the long-term solutions to our looming environmental crises," Mrs Turei says.
"It develops collective responsibility and community awareness, as well as specific skill sets for our children. Issues
such as waste, transport and energy are linked to real world activities such as walking school buses, tree planting and
worm farms. Environmental education identifies the links for those children who are hungry to really engage positively
with their community, society and environment.
"The delivery of environmental education around the country relies on the commitment and passion of the people involved.
The Greens want to co-ordinate and increase support for the various initiatives already underway. In conjunction with
the teaching profession, the Greens will be looking at cross-curricula achievement standards in environmental education,
so that it is treated as an important skill set for secondary school students, and we will continue to build capacity in
the Colleges of Education and in schools.
"The Greens want to see kaitiakitanga included as part of the environmental education schools offer. And it is critical
that bilingual and total immersion schools are equally able to deliver fully resourced programmes, so kura and kohanga
must have access to relevant te reo resources.
"It is wonderful that in the first year of the UN Decade for Sustainability in Education the Government has committed to
environmental education in this way," Mrs Turei says.