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Opinion  •  1 min

Our teachers on strike, and their crucial role in environmental education

Gaëlle Zwicky

Project Manager, Sustainable Food

Published on 

As a mom and an environmentalist, I do my best to instill in my children the environmental values that I hold dear. Our feet and our bikes are our main modes of transportation, we pick up our organic baskets together, we do as much home cooking as possible, we avoid wasting food and we reuse what we find around the house to make our Christmas crafts.

Passing on environmental awareness to our children is not something that can be done solely between dinner and bedtime. It's daily, long-term work! And when it comes to environmental education, our teachers and our schools play a vital role and have a significant impact on our youth.

Like many parents these days, I'm dealing with the effects of school closures, with our teachers on strike. But despite the day-to-day adjustments, I'm deeply grateful to all the education staff as they fight for their working conditions.

Both in my work and in my family life, I'm lucky to be in contact with many schools across Quebec, and to be amazed every day by the dedication of the staff who are working to make our schools greener and to educate our youth about the importance of protecting our planet.

Gaëlle's children at the launch of Miam magazine

Initiatives for engaged education, from kindergarten to high school

In elementary school, I’ve seen teachers, support staff and educators set up schoolyard gardens with uncommon vegetables and salad bars with local foods. I’ve seen them organize farm visits, host vegan culinary workshops and demystify insect consumption (and make it fun!). I’ve seen them deploy projects to enhance cafeteria menus with foods from local producers and processors.

At the high school level, I’ve met teachers and support staff who take their classes to climate marches, who program robots to talk about agriculture, who go on outings to bulk grocery stores, who set up hydroponic greenhouses in their classrooms or educational orchards in their schoolyards. Our Quebec schools are brimming with staff involved in all kinds of inspiring projects, often done outside of working hours!

Environmental education, a priority for Équiterre

Recognizing the key role of school staff towards a resilient society

The great commitment of teachers and of all the professionals and caregivers who make up the school team is an often underestimated, but fundamental force in our society. If our youth are properly educated to understand environmental issues, they will be better equipped to make significant changes in our communities and to help preserve our planet.

The current teacher’s strike helps us to collectively understand the crucial importance of their contribution to educating the committed citizens of tomorrow.

The government must listen to the demands of our school staff and recognize their important role in building a resilient society in the face of current climate challenges. Investing in education, both in terms of financial resources and institutional support, is essential to guaranteeing a sustainable future for Quebec and the planet. Because helping to change the world also means mobilizing our educational communities... one student at a time!

Project Manager, Sustainable Food