In light of recent news that sales of the two most polluting fuels (green/ wet wood and coal), will be phased out in England to help cut air pollution by 2023, (BBC News 21/02/20 – link to article at the bottom of this blog); should we be having open fires as part of our outdoor sessions if we are trying to promote eco-friendly lifestyles?
If you have ran an outdoor session involving the safe use of fire, you will know only too well the positive effects this can have on the group’s morale, learning, self-management of risk, skillset and enjoyment.
However, being outdoor practitioners, I believe we all have a duty of care to the environment as well as our participants. Where is the moral and value of connecting children to the outdoors but in non-environmentally friendly and unsustainable ways? We need to be role models in our own practise, however small it may seem within the wider context, and facilitate the knowledge, skills and understanding to the students we lead in order to grow a more environmentally aware society.
As with most things in life, I believe this requires a balance. I also believe it requires outdoor practitioners to commit to developing their knowledge and awareness; an investment in time to enable the use of better fuels; to plan accordingly and efficiently; and to be consistent with their practise.
Maybe, as with health and safety, we need to think about risk-benefit analyses in terms of environmental impacts: what are the risks to the environment Vs the benefits of the activity? As all good practitioners understand, risk-benefit analyses are not there to prevent an activity from taking place, they are there to draw attention to possible risks and put in control measures to reduce these risks to acceptable levels. Such a process may help to promote conscious thinking and action to facilitate more eco-friendly outdoor sessions across all aspects of the session, not just in the use of fire. In addition, if we involve our pupils in this process, imagine the thinking skills and sustainable attitudes we can help to grow.
In light of these thoughts, I have made a useful handout for all outdoor practitioners to enable them to facilitate ‘sustainable use of fire within outdoor sessions.’
Download this FREE leaflet HERE and share it with others to spread eco-friendly outdoor sessions.
Require further help and guidance with eco-friendly outdoor sessions?
As a thank you for reading our article and also in our aim to promote environmentally friendly outdoor learning and forest school, we are offering a huge 60% discount on our ‘Eco-Friendly Outdoor Sessions’ online workshop for a limited time only*. Purchase for just £4.99 instead of £14.99 by entering code eco499 on checkout.
Our Eco-friendly Outdoor Sessions workshop helps you to understand, analyse and reduce the environmental impact your sessions may be having, in easy to follow units and downloadable resources. It also encourages active involvement of your pupils in reducing your eco-footprint.
Find out more about this workshop HERE
* Offer expires one month from the publication of this article.