Environment Education

with Chris Summerville

A Couple of Great Groups! Erica Winters recently contacted me and recommended these two groups working for positive change. Please support them!  1. QuitDay.org  (Working to help people Stop Smoking and noting the environmental impact of tobacco: (https://quitday.org/ 2. The Nature Conservancy. One of the key environmental groups in the world working, of course, with Nature!: http://www.nature.org/

The Rainforest Site                   

Chris is presently based in Kyoto, Japan, teaching content-based ESL courses focusing on global and environmental issues at Ritsumeikan University. Every year, he is free from his university obligations during February & March and August @& September. During these months, Chris would be most happy to travel to any educational institute in the world to conduct environmental education workshops, courses or seminars for teachers (see link) or students. For more details, please contact him at: chris.j.summerville@gmail.com
Latest Green Teacher-'Navigating the Climate Crisis', Fall 2011: Green Teacher Issue 94, Fall 2011.pdf
(Please see my article ''Evaluating and Promoting Eco-Products on Page 26)

Read Green Teacher- Education for Planet Earth, Winter 2010-2011: Green Teacher Issue 91, Winter 2010-2011.pdf
(Please see my article 'Climate Change Treasure Hunt' on Page 14)


Welcome to my simple website that will let you know about who I am and what I have tried to do both in my life and as an educator to share my concerns about our world and our environment.

After sixteen years teaching global and environmental issues-based ESL classes and seminars at Japanese universities, (which culminated in the publication of my textbook series Looking Back, Moving Forward: An Environmental Course for the Next Generation by Macmillan Language House), I was inspired by the birth of my daughter in Spring 2006 to move on to a new challenge.

I had discovered that I wished to become an 'environmental educator' rather than an English teacher who focused on the environment and to become a part of an institute where the environmental values I hope to instill in young people in the classroom could be put into practice in the school setting itself as well as in the students' daily lives.

This led my wife Shino, Sitara and I to India, where we joined Sahyadri School, one of six English-medium residential Krishnamurti Foundation schools situated in the beautiful Sahyadri Hills of Maharashtra. Sahyadri has 230 students in Grades 4-10, most of whom come from Mumbai and other Indian urban centres. I was drawn to India not only because I have visited there many times over the past two decades but also because India is the first country as far as I am aware to make Environmental Education (as opposed to Environmental Science) a mandatory subject for all students from Grade 4 up.

I also learnt that I could take a one-year 'Green Teacher: Diploma in Environmental Education' distance learning course through the auspices of the Centre for Environmental Education (CEE), India and the Commonwealth Centre for Learning, Canada, which I completed in April, 2008.

                                  Choosing our local seeds for organic gardening

Since the school was not ready to introduce EE during our first term, I was asked to teach English to Grades 5 & 7, giving me the opportunity to create two environmentally-based courses with a wide selection of short stories, poems, drama, essays and activities all connected to nature, wildlife and the environment as well as to begin to engage students and teachers in a number of campus based environmental activities. I began teaching EE classes to Grades 6-9 from June, 2007.

To view edited versions of my main accomplishments in the field of Environmental Education during my 18 month stay at Sahyadri School, please follow the links below. Complete details of these and numerous other activities Shino and I initiated and anchored can be found under 'Environmental Education'.


  1. Student-led tour of the campus environmental infrastructure
  2. Organic Gardening Program and Student-led instructional tour
  3. 'Eco-Product' Activities
  4. Climate Change Challenge


During my time at Sahyadri I realized once again that young people are generally eager to learn about environmental issues and willing to act on their awareness when offered valid alternatives. What is lacking is eco-literate elders who can show them the connections between the problems we face and our everyday lives as well as the interconnections between the issues themselves. This is of course due to a historical dearth of environmental education that is only now beginning to be offered as part of the school curriculum in various countries. EE however is still being offered in a very piecemeal fashion and often by educators who themselves are not adequately informed enough to create a dynamic learning experience based on contemporary life --one of the exciting advantages of environmental education!

This realization led to me offering a number of workshops during my last few months in India, both to teachers who wished to become environmental education teachers and in schools that wished to infuse more of an environmental perspective into school life. The workshops firstly focused on the environmental awareness of the educators themselves before moving on to their subjects, students and the school surroundings. The outline of these workshops can be found under 'Environmental Teacher Workshops'.

Due to the enthusiasm with which the ideas and materials I offered were received, I plan to make such workshops and the further development of lifestyle-based environmental activities the focus of my professional life from now on - either as a freelance environmental educator or with the assistance of an environmental organization. It is clear that after twenty years exploring these issues from a cultural, global and spiritual perspective that this is the best path I can pursue in my personal attempt to contribute as effectively as possible to the gradual healing of our planet.

Thank you for visiting,
with hope,
Chris Summerville

Please feel free to contact me at: chris.j.summerville@gmail.com

Please note: A brief biography, author interview, introduction to the textbook series and an interactive 'Green Quiz' can be found on the Macmillan Language House, Japan website.