Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Developing Leaders through Mentoring in Environmental Education

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Developing Leaders through Mentoring in Environmental Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

There are several complex environmental problems affecting the Earth due to man technological drive to making it suitable for his existence by manipulating its pristine state. Environmental problems that are of paramount importance in recent years are unpredictable climatic condition, flooding, rise in average global temperature, depletion of ozone layer, urban decay, drought (Erhabor, 2016), deforestation, incessant occurrence of earthquake and other disasters. These problems pose serious threat to humanity and other life forms existence on planet earth. Erhabor further posits that planet Earth is remarkably prolific, hospitable and the unique world in the universe (to the extent of human knowledge) compared to the conditions faced on other planets in our solar system. The mild temperature of Earth is relatively constant, plentiful supply of clean air; freshwater, fertile soil that regenerating endlessly and spontaneously by biogeochemical cycle and biological communities (Cunningham and Cunningham, 2006). This makes the Earth sacred and vital to create a balance between human activities and ensuring the protection of the Earth's resources and conditions that sustain life. Despite the measures have been put in place to curb the various environmental crises faced on Earth, most of the strategies are categorized as being focused on end of the pipeline control and treatment especially in developing countries, rather than prevention. Hence, in terms of prevention, it is pertinent to increase the knowledge of the populace and thereby create positive attitudes that lead to environmental friendly behaviors toward the Earth resources and conditions.

Therefore, environmental education has an integral role to help find innovative ways of improving environmental knowledge and understanding. It also fosters positive attitudes and attributes to overcome environmentally destructive behaviors, which result to individual desire and willingness to take action for the environment. However, in fostering environmental education and actualizing its goals, it requires leaders with wide knowledge, a critical perspective and a strong ethical sense towards the environment.

To become a good leader needs some preparation. That is if an individual desires and possesses the will power he/she can become an effective leader. They are developed through an extended process of self-study, education, training and experience. Leadership here involves influencing others to accomplish an objective and direct the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leadership differs from somebody being in a position as a manger or supervisor because leadership makes followers want to achieve high goals rather than simply asserting authority. Thus, a key component in improving the environment is leadership, hence the need for creating environmental leaders.

Environmental leadership is an ability of an individual or a group to guide a positive change towards better environmental future. In order to ensure environmentally sound values and problem solving abilities to sustain living organisms' existence, there is need for environmental leadership through environmental education. Forster (1993) stated that an environmental leader should strive to instill strong philosophical belief about environmental issues coupled with scientific knowledge that will make up the foundation, which will help them deal with issues on the local, national and global scene. Therefore, in order to develop good environmental leaders, it becomes necessary to assign the young adults to work with more experienced people to serve as friends, supervisors, and mentors. In view of this, a mentorship program is proposed or seen as an effective way of developing environmental education leaders. Mentors here are seen as ordinary individuals that possess unique desire, drive to environmental education, and are willing to share or relate their personal experience on environmental issues with others (mentee). …

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