, by ASIF AHMED
Islam organises relationship between individuals and society. Individuals cannot live secluded from others for they are all parts of the whole. They are responsible for themselves and their society. Based on this responsibility, we have to pay attention, and stop any violation, to the human environment because any deterioration in the environmental system threatens all people, both violators and non-violators alike.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said, “The likeness of the one who keeps to the limits of God and the one who violates them is that of some people who drew lots to board a ship. Some of them got the upper deck and others the lower one. Those in the lower deck, when bringing water and passing by their fellows upstairs, said, ‘Why not make a hole in our portion without harming you?’ If they were to let them do so, they would all perish, but if they help them, they will all survive.” Sahih Al-Bukhari. Thus, the principle of supervision, which global environmental education seeks, will be achieved.
Any act causing damage to environment is forbidden, and any act causing development and flourishing of the environment is encouraged and supported by Islam. Moreover, if an Islamic ruler finds that one species of animal or plant is beginning to disappear because of heavy use, he should ban its use and protect it in its original environment (Sardar, 1991). The discipline of the teachings of Islam is based on fundamental principles of self-reliance, which require the careful use and management of resources. The panel on Islamic perspectives discussed the relationship between the beliefs of Islam and the process of maintaining a viable and healthy environment, including the emphasis on protecting natural resources by utilising these resources to satisfy the needs, rather than wants, of society. Islam also notes the importance of each individual acting in a responsible manner and as a moral leader in society. The embodiment of Islamic principles in the form of Islamic educational institutions is one method to instil and disseminate an ethic of environmental literacy and sustainability.
Appreciation and concern for the environment are the values that need to be inculcated during the early years of development and thus EE for children and youth becomes an integral and important part of the EE strategy of any country. The final aspect of environmental education policies, but certainly not least important, is training individuals to thrive in a sustainable society.
In addition to building a strong relationship with nature, all peoples must have the skills and knowledge to succeed in a 21st century workforce. Thus, environmental education policies fund both teacher training and worker training initiatives. Teachers must be trained to effectively teach and incorporate environmental studies in their curricula.
On the other hand, the current workforce must be trained or re-trained so that they can adapt to the new green economy. Environmental education policies that fund training programmes are critical in educating citizens to prosper in a sustainable society. Environmental Education, Awareness and Training plays a significant role in encouraging and enhancing people’s participation in activities aimed at conservation, protection and management of the environment, essential for achieving sustainable development. A significant shift is needed to address the issue of environment education.
Environment is a very broad concept and involves everything that affects an organism during its lifetime. Importance of sustainable development and maintenance of proper environment should be installed in the mind of young and coming generations from the childhood itself. Environment education should form a part of curriculum for the school going children. Need of the hour is that the students should be made to realise the enormity of the various environmental problems with minimum technicalities. Industrial growth is essential for the economic development of a country and at the same time protection of our environment and ecology is necessary for the biodiversity to continue. What is needed is a balance between the two processes, or sustainable development is required at the policy planning and management levels.
Environmental education and environmental literacy have been shown to be vital and crucial to be included in all curriculums. They can be seen as two parts of the same theme of how individuals and institutions can collaborate in building a better, sustainable world locally, nationally and globally. In practice, this means that when considering environmental literacy in different universities and schools’ programmes can simultaneously enhance the goals of environmental education if the syllabus is methodically well planned.
Also, if environmental literacy is understood in a broader sense and out includes the social and cultural as well as ecological dimension of sustainability, this literacy will additionally work for the goals of effective education. It is argued that students nowadays have a somewhat fragmented image of the world: they do not understand the interconnectedness of people, society and the environment. Because of this, students are confused and doubtful; they are unable to see their role in environmental issues, they are not convinced of their potential in influencing the future and do not know what they can do for the environment. If culture and nature were more tightly linked in education, children could perhaps better understand their part in the web of life on this planet, and see that their actions are inseparable from the rest of the world.
Environmental literacy should, therefore, co-operate in building a sustainable society. To become knowledgeable, caring and active global citizens in the 21st century, students must develop attitudes, skills and behaviours that are both environmentally and culturally sustainable. According to the results of this study, and to the effective role of religious values and rule in human life, it is expected that environmental literacy will be strengthened and improved by implementing Islamic perspectives and attitudes toward the environment, which would reduce the risks, environmental obstacles and problems. (concluded)
[The writer is Assistant Professor, Defence & Strategic Studies, Dept. of Political Science, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org]