Driving Green Action from the Classroom – an Idea to Drive Appreciation for the Environment via Virtual Reality, Controversially

 In Data-driven, Idea

Overview & Introduction

We live in a world where cities continue to expand, natural land becomes more sparse, political stability is still a distant dream and what can be observed from a 5″ screen is much more interesting than a walk in the countryside. I myself a struggler. Yet, without a healthily environment surrounding us, what would society be? Unsurprisingly, as Margaret Mead informed us; we won’t have a society if we destroy the environment. 

The rising suffering our environment is faced with on a daily basis is not unknown, yet it does not appear to be slowing. Mother nature no doubt has a mind of her own. However, with entire icebergs disappearing and rivers drying up, something quite serious has to be happening.

These are the consequences of ignoring our environment. Worryingly, I predict that the more technology evolves, the more distant we will become with our natural surroundings. If you have observed a group of children in recent years, you will realise instantly how their playing habits have evolved*. From playing in tree-houses, to now conversing via computer games. It will not be long until children are confined to virtual chat-rooms.

*full appreciation that this is a sweeping comment, however from personal experience I believe this to be a global trend – on ranging scales depending on up-bringing 

The Problem

“Unless we are willing to teach our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.”  – David Suzuki

There is no intention to start a rant on how the current schooling system is not fit-for-propose. But if the children of today are not taught to care and cater for our natural world, the world in generations to come will look very different.

Children easily become wrapped in the technology around them, and for good reason. However, without complete appreciation of the natural world, not only in terms of biological need, but also its philosophical and awe-inspiring capability, it is difficult to assume children of today will form as protectors of the natural world.

My prediction is that the current environmental struggles will become extrapolated as children become less engaged with the surrounding beauty.

Sadly, do you think children of today would fully understanding what they are missing, if all of a sudden natural habitats were replaced with a high-tech metropolis?

I speak from experience when I say that only after travelling the world, do I fully appreciate it, but also understand the cause and effect of my daily actions.

Visualising the Data

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Estimated 2.2 billion tons of waste will be dumped in the ocean by 2025
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7.2 billion gadgets in existence, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are
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In the UK alone it is thought that nearly 5 million children will be in primary education
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VR Industry is projected to be $40 B by 2020

Unlike some of my previous posts, where the data is reasonably focused, the above shows a range of angles. Growing pollution, and the speedy growth of device adoption (and the waste to be created as a result) highlights the strain on the environment. Whilst rising number of children in primary care show’s there is a growing market that we need to provide for in the future.


While there are many solutions for fossil fuels, toxic waste and melting icecaps, there is a gap. Initiatives to increase the appreciation of the natural world in young people are in dire need. From cause and effect analysis, one can only assume that these have initiatives have been on the decline over recent years.

Children need exposure to the world around them, It would be great if everyone could travel the world and see its beauty. But very few have the time to travel, and even fewer can afford it. (After-all, we are talking about children here… )

The suggested solution is to introduce virtual reality devices for students to explore areas of natural beauty, for themselves, and with their friends. I know, so controversial! But without getting children to these remote locations, I feel VR is the second best option!

Appreciation of the outdoors would be driven by exploration, rather than teachings – acting as virtual playgrounds for children to explore, together. Whilst the beauty and amaze would not be as great as the real thing, technology of today can already do wonders!

There is already motion in the idea, with VR kits placed in schools already as part of Google’s Pioneer Expeditions. Under this program, thousands of schools received VR kits for a day, so that the class could go on a virtual trip! Now let’s go from virtual trips to virtual playgrounds

Slightly contradictory I know, but the empathise on natural areas hopes to solve a very real problem!


  • Imparting the right awareness to kids at a young age
  • Rise in environmentally conscious individuals over the years
  • The Tech required already exists
  • Affordability of the tech
  • Averseness in parents may lead to limited impact of the program
  • A new hope for our world
  • A more eco friendly future generations
  • Perception of technology as ‘fun’ amongst kids
  • Rising adoption of different forms of tech, leading to further disconnect from Nature.


We are all aware of the need to become more environmentally conscious. But at the current rate of change, today’s youngest generation will be crucial for Earth. Let’s hope the right decisions are made, for years to come, so migrating to Mars is an option and not a necessity.

How would you improve the idea? Or, are you still not sold on the concept? Are you there already, and want some further content?

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  • Lasca Carson

    I’ve seen a video of a classroom outdoors somewhere. The children are running around trees and learning. Good ideas 🙂

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