Earth Day – 22nd April 2024 – Planet vs. Plastic- Not just a day, being a movement of sustainability every day

This year’s theme ‘Planet versus Plastic’ advocates for the widespread awareness and action on the risks of plastics use locally and globally. For example, promoting for a United Nations Treaty on Plastics pollution, and acting on an end to ‘fast fashion’.

To recognise Earth Day 2024, we gather to consider our collective responsibility towards the planet and interconnectedness with land, sea, air, each other, and other beings. Considering Earth Day as not just a day, but as a local and global action, emphasising the need for critical choice and decision making around sustainability, and sustainable practices.

‘Humanity and the planet we share with all living things face some big challenges’ 

(The Early Years Learning Framework V2.0, 2022, p17)

In the realm of Early Childhood Education, instilling sustainability values from an early age is important, with Early Childhood Education guided by frameworks like the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) v2.0, playing a pivotal role in nurturing environmentally conscious individuals and future sustainable communities. The Early Years Learning Framework describes sustainability as the interconnections and interdependence of environmental, social, and economic systems, and recognises this by incorporating sustainability as one of its key principles. Educators are encouraged to instil in young minds an understanding of their role in caring for the planet, and children learning about the delicate and intertwined balance between nature and human activities. 

By integrating sustainability principles into curriculum and practices, educators can foster children’s understanding of their role as custodians of the Earth. Through hands-on experiences and everyday teaching and learning moments, children learn to appreciate the importance of reducing waste and consumption, conserving resources, fair and equitable access to resources, and respecting nature. Whether through planting gardens, recycling projects, or eco-friendly arts, these initiatives empower young learners to make informed choices and decisions for a sustainable future.

‘In sustainable communities, the requirements of humans, animals, plants, lands, and waters can be met now and for future generations to come’

(The Early Years Learning Framework V2.0, 2022, p17)

Consider:

How are we providing opportunities with children to learn about all the interconnected dimensions of sustainability, to help encourage agency, advocation and action for change for a future where sustainable practices and sustainable local and global communities flourish?

As we commemorate Earth Day 2024, let us renew our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. By embracing education and adopting sustainable practices, we can collectively work towards a plastic-free planet for generations to come. 

Consider the value of:·       

  • Engaging with others, remembering actions with others can be a stronger momentum
  • Uniting and making informed choices
  • Educating the next generation about the importance of sustainability
  • Embedding sustainability principles and practices into your curriculum and everyday teaching and learning.
  • Action against plastic pollution and its detrimental impact on our environment, and calling for concerted efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics to safeguard the Earth’s future

By integrating these values into Early Childhood Education, we can sow the seeds of a       sustainable legacy for generations to come.

Reflect on:

  • In what ways can we ‘do’ sustainability in every aspect of teaching and learning?

EYLF GLOSSARY OF TERMS – SUSTAINABILITY (EYLF, 2022, p. 68)

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