Yes, young people know that cereal boxes should be recycled, and lights must be switched off after leaving a room. However, these fundamental principles must be exercised beyond our homes. My paramount objective as a geography teacher is to encourage young people and their families to make affirmative contributions to society. A geography curriculum provides young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to lead ‘personally flourishing lives’ and inspire others to do so too (Reiss and White, 2013: 16). Through exploring the world as an ‘object of thought’ (Biddulph et al., 2015: 1), the geography curriculum enables pupils ‘to apply knowledge and conceptual understanding to new settings: that is, to ‘think geographically’ about changing the world’ (Geographical Association, 2009: 9).
Within the geography curriculum, students learn about the core concepts of place and space. They investigate the interconnections between people and the environment and consider a range of issues at different scales from not only an international perspective, but also a personal perspective. Through understanding the consequences of human actions, students explore the interdependence between people and the environment, and, how as a result, change and adaptation arises in society. A change like the exponential growth in tourism and travel that has impacted society, culture, the economy and the environment.
Ever since an increase in time and money, and the first successful commercial passenger jetliner in 1958, holidays have been cherished and adored. Indeed, tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and has become imperative to our society, economy and environment. Tourism is such a unique industry. It is an industry where a product is sold, but not owned. It is a fragile product, shared among many. Tourism needs protecting. For this reason, it is important to incorporate an understanding of sustainable travel into the curriculum. It is crucial that as the leaders of the future, young people understand that now more than ever before, we must maintain the world we live in, meet the needs of the present and support future generations.
Indeed, education and training are essential to achieve sustainable tourism (Carter and Goodall, 1992; Ham Sutherland and Meganck, 1991; Johnson, 1998). This education has a profound, long lasting influence on a young person and enables young people to communicate this knowledge and understanding with the wider community. As an educator, I am accountable for education that encourages responsibility and enhances our wellbeing. More broadly, as a society, we must be educated in taking responsibility to live a lifestyle that advocates sustainability, nurtures wellbeing and enables a purposeful future.
References (as you can’t expect anything less from a teacher):
Biddulph, M., Lambert, D. and Balderstone, D. (2015) Learning to Teach Geography in the Secondary School. A companion to school experience (Third Edition) (Abingdon: Routledge)
Cater, E. & Goodall, B. (1992) Must tourism destroy its resource base? in A.M. Mannion & S.R. Bowlby (Eds.),Environmental issues in the 1990s(pp. 309-324) (Chichester: John Wiley)
Geographical Association (2009) ‘A different view: a manifesto from the Geographical Association’: https://www.geography.org.uk/download/GA_ADVBookletFULL.pdf; date accessed: 10/06/2020
Ham, S.H., Sutherland, D.S., & Meganck, R.A. (1991) Taking environmental inter-pretation to protected areas in developing countries: Problems in exporting a US model. Mimeograph. Idaho, University of Idaho: College of Forestry, Wildlife and Range Sciences.
Johnson, R. (1998). Putting the eco into tourism.Asia Magazine,36(13) pp. 8-12
Reiss, M. and White, J. (2013)An Aims-based Curriculum: The significance of human flourishing for schools(Institute of Education Press)