A Proclamation For Furthering Environmental Education
April 22nd, Earth Day, serves as a time for people everywhere to pay attention to the world around them and take action towards preserving our planet for the future. Schools across New Jersey celebrate Earth Day by educating their students on the importance of being conscious of their impacts on the environment. For example, in elementary school, students are taught about the “3 Rs” (reduce, reuse, recycle) to help them live more sustainably.
As an environmental activist, I sought to take action on a day that is regarded by many as the epitome of environmental protection, Earth Day. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has established the week surrounding Earth Day to be known as the Environmental Education Week in New Jersey. The environmental concepts and ideas introduced in classrooms during this period are designed to go more in depth and to last more than just one day. This year, with the help of many along the way, including Tanya Oznowich at the Department of Environmental Protection, I drafted a proclamation to promote education on environmental sustainability in schools across New Jersey. Once it was brought to the governor's office, this proclamation was signed and put into effect by the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy.
The proclamation served to further advance actions that were being taken to promote Earth Day and sustainability in New Jersey. At the same time, it helped me learn more about myself and my passions in the field of environmental policy. I was able to further my skills as an activist and take action on a larger scale, this time at the governor's office.
WHEREAS, the National Environmental Education Foundation will celebrate the 146 annual Environmental Education Week during the last week of April by encouraging schools and organizations to explore their connections to the environment, showcase how they are making a difference on behalf of the environment and share their stories with others; and
WHEREAS, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education and the New Jersey Commission on Environmental Education support Environmental Education Week in New Jersey and celebrate the schools and organizations that incorporate environmental education and sustainable practices into school curriculum, after-school activities, community projects, field trips and career education; and
WHEREAS, environmental education strengthens student performance in science, STEM and other subjects by making learning relevant to people's lives and surroundings; exploring how human activities affect the environment; applying creative and critical thinking skills to address environmental problems; and empowering students to develop solutions and take positive actions; and
WHEREAS, green-building design and sustainable practices, such as recycling, energy and water conservation, renewable-energy use, gardening and composting help reduce emissions that contribute to climate change; improve student and staff health; conserve natural resources and reduce pollution; and help schools save money; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey has a rich history of environmental-education leadership and implementation statewide and is home to several thriving sustainable school programs, including Sustainable Jersey for Schools, Eco-Schools USA - New Jersey, U.S. Green Ribbon Schools Program - New Jersey, OASIS and others; and
WHEREAS, nurturing an environmentally literate and sustainable citizenry for tomorrow must take place today and every day in New Jersey classrooms, schools and communities;
OW, THEREFORE, I, Philip D. Murphy, Governor of the State of New Jersey, do hereby proclaim: APRIL 23 THROUGH APRIL 29, 2018 AS ENVIRONMENTAL AND SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION WEEK in New Jersey and encourage educators and schools to conduct student-led environmental activities and sustainable practices this week and to showcase those efforts so others can understand the relevance and benefits of these programs and practices.
The signed proclamation Image Source