By Rand Dalgamouni

AMMAN – A campaign to implement environmental education in more than 18 Jordanian schools and others around the world will commence next week, it was announced in a workshop for teachers held at the UNESCO Amman office on Thursday.

The five-year Earth Care Campaign, which started this year and ends in 2014, aims to inspire students and teachers around the world to adopt and promote a lifestyle in harmony with the planet’s resources, according to founder Hans Levander.

Levander’s nonprofit organisation, the Life-Link Friendship Schools Association, is organising the campaign with UNESCO and the Ministry of Education as partners.

Under the campaign, UNRWA schools, Arab schools in the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet), and some Jordanian public and private schools, as well as schools in Europe, South Africa and parts of Asia will conduct a 15-hour course covering three “actions”: Culture of Care, Water for Life and Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, according to ASPNet Regional Coordinator Hadeel Talli.

Based on the ethics of “care for myself, care for others, care for nature”, each of the three actions, as Levander explained, are arranged into three lessons and two self-study sessions, while teachers’ manuals for each module provide general guidelines.

Levander, a 1985 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient, said he believed that “peaceful diplomatic relations” can start in schools, stressing that making peace with the environment includes making peace with one’s neighbours.

He told the participants in Thursday’s workshop that schools wishing to take part in the campaign can register for free on the organisation’s website, where they will find online tutorials, teachers’ guides and check lists to help them deliver the project’s three modules.

Earth Care is based on the assessed results of a pilot project carried out between 2007 and 2008 at 50 schools in nine Arab countries and 50 schools in 10 other countries outside the region, according to Levander.

In June 2008, ASPNet national delegates from 13 Arab countries convened in Petra, where they recommended the implementation of a similar, three- to four-year project in schools within the Arab region and worldwide.

Some of the teachers who participated in the pilot project were present at the workshop and told The Jordan Times that students enjoyed the activities included in the pilot project.

“They [students] love to participate in anything extracurricular,” said Myassar Abu Rumman, who teaches at a school in Baqaa.

Teachers Fawziyya Masri from Sahab and Jumleh Hajaya from Madaba agreed, adding that these projects allow students to unleash their talents in activities such as singing and acting in addition to improving their skills in dealing with their community and its resources.

Earth Care’s goal after 2014 is to include similar courses in schools’ regular curricula, according to Levander.

Meanwhile, Talli said UNESCO and Life-Link plan on holding an annual conference in Amman starting next April, where teachers and students from schools around the world can share their experiences in implementing the campaign.

Life-Link, the UNESCO Beirut regional office, and the UNESCO Amman office are coordinating the programme.