The school children of today are the business leaders of tomorrow. That’s why we send them into the classroom where they study English, maths and science, languages and a host of other subjects to prepare them for the world of work.
But the likelihood is that the world will be a very different place to the one we grew up in. My generation took oil and gas heating for granted, we had no idea what an energy efficient light bulb looked like, there was one bin in the kitchen – and everything went in it.
For today’s youngsters, recycling is second nature. They know better the meaning of waste. And perhaps more easily accept the sight of the towering white turbines stretched out across swathes of our country’s landscape.
But is this osmosis-like learning about sustainability enough? Or do we need to be more pro-active in the way our children learn about the environmental challenges they will inevitably face as our natural resources deplete and our landfill sites fill?
In primary school, children are taught that they should care for the environment. Green issues are taught in secondary schools as part of the science curriculum, covering subjects such as pollution, biotechnology, fossil fuels and energy.
In two decades from now, when these youngsters are running businesses, directing company operations and indeed, teaching the next generation, will they wish we had taught them more about what steps needed to be taken to protect the world’s resources?
We at Organic Energy think so. And that has to start now, and not just with young people. Yes, when we commission a wood pellet boiler in a school, we work with teachers to include the installation as part of a learning opportunity.
We also engage with university and Masters students, about the challenges facing the renewable energy sector. And we hold continuous professional development events for architects and specifiers and training courses for
installers, providing education and sharing knowledge from the classroom to the construction site and from the drawing board to the board of directors.
But ours is not the only company which is doing its bit to educate. Unilever, Pepsi and Wal-Mart have all topped the list of corporations rolling-out schemes to lessen their impact on the environment. In the UK, they were led by
Marks & Spencer with its Plan A – a pioneering green statement of intent, perhaps recognising ahead of its time that its future customers would be influenced by the greening of corporate policy.
But with an up-and-coming, internet-savvy generation which learns to use a smartphone at the same time as a knife and fork, it may be the phenomenon of social networking on sites such as Facebook and Twitter which most raises
awareness of environmental challenges; a viral education allowing collective debate and information sharing among like minds.