Use our handy "Be the Change" Worksheet to apply the 7-Pillars to your Project, Process, or Decision, and find out MORE for each pillar, by visiting the detail pages:
Environmental Education (eco-ed) has been defined by the U.S. Environmental Protective Agency as "a process that allows individuals to explore environmental issues, engage in problem-solving, and take action to improve the environment" (US EPA, 2012).
Although many leaders from around the world have called for education to foster a sense of ecological citizenship and mutual responsibility, perhaps the most important reason is to help young people feel better. Young people are experiencing growing "eco-anxiety." Learning how to be effective "earth citizens" can help kids gain confidence and effectiveness.
Teach them the Seven Pillars, and then put them in action, together. The Seven Pillars have been proven useful in many changemaking settings, including at an educational hydroponic farm in the Middle East. It was being taught by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education before the country was invaded by Russia. Furthermore, each pillar was rated as Important or Very important by environmentally active individuals in recent PhD research into environmental education undertaken by our Director (Speeth 2022).
In a nutshell, the seven pillars can be described as follows: 1) follow your vision, 2) use your special skills, 3) in a non-duplicative way (go where you're needed), 4) in partnership with others, 5) sharing the credit, 6) gathering feedback, and 7) staying the course.
Below are four different visuals that you can use, to explain the concept of the Seven Pillars. Here is the key:
|Pillar||Ocean Theme||Pirate Theme||Pond Theme||Desert Theme|
|1. Vision||A crab takes in the scene with very big eyes||A lighthouse sheds light on a whale in the distance||The friendly frog has very big eyes||The friendly frog has very big eyes|
|2. Special Skills||An octopus is skillfully opening a jar||The navigator has special skills||An otter is skilled in its habitat||The cattle egret is skilled at fishing|
|3. Non-duplication||The porpoise has one blow-hole, not two||A child can be on only one boat at a time||A water bird is alone in its territory||Hyenas are a unique species|
|4. Partnership||Clown fish and coral work together||Children work in partnership||Pink fish swim together||Children work in partnership|
|5. Credit-sharing||Children share the credit for recycling together||Children share the credit for hoisting the anchor||Children share the credit for recycling||Children are sharing credit even with a bee|
|6. Feedback||A child and a bird give "thumbs-up" to each other||A map and compass give feedback on direction||Flowers grow in response to the rain||A bat uses sonar for feedback on surroundings|
|7. Staying Power||An elderly turtle has lived a long time||An anchor helps a boat "stay put"||An elderly turtle has lived a long time||A camel has staying power in the desert|
Educator note: This playlist includes some great free resources. If you find others that you feel could be included, please contact us.