Earth Day—which takes place each year on April 22—is a meaningful time for educators to consider the ecological issues facing the planet and the unique ways that they are impacting the young people in their classrooms. Though we have seen considerable and ongoing action from young people concerned about ecological destruction, young people are also bearing the brunt of what is being increasingly described as “ecological grief”—a term used to describe feelings of loss and sadness caused by present or future barriers to meeting basic needs; the disruption of cultural practices and knowledge related to the natural world; and a host of other changes in the environment. This Earth Day, educators have an opportunity to both elevate the activism of young people challenging ecological destruction while also exploring how to hold space for young people to feel and process the wide range of emotions that these issues are eliciting.
At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.