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The environment: connect; protect; enhance

The environment: connect; protect; enhance

Supporting the 25-Year Environment Plan

We often take our natural environment for granted and overlook its intrinsic and subtle values. The way we treat it has become a ‘hot topic’, especially amongst young people, who are rising up to have their voices heard and take action to secure the environment’s future protection. To improve the natural environment at scale, many more people need to understand it and help protect it. As such, it is critical that the natural environment, and the way that humans interact with it, is studied across all key stages.

Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan (25YEP), published in January 2018, sets out the ambition to hand over our environment to the next generation in a better condition than when we inherited it. The 25YEP announced 2019 as a Year of Green Action to make it easier for people to get involved in improving the natural world and spread the word about environmental issues.

The 25YEP provides a focal point for organisations, individuals, communities and businesses to learn about their environmental impact and take action to reduce it. The Year of Green Action is ‘an opportunity for everyone to get involved and enthused about restoring nature…with all having a part to play’.

The 25YEP puts children and young people at the heart of the Year of Green Action, to help them play an active part in decision-making for their future. The #iwill campaign, of which government is a partner, is encouraging more young people to take social action for the environment.

Schools and geography teaching play a vital role in engaging children and young people with the natural environment:

  • At Key Stages 1-3, students are expected to make observations and experience fieldwork in human and physical environments in order to understand features, and how human activity both relies upon and influences natural systems, processes and resources.
  • Each of the reformed GCSE specifications has an expectation that students consider environmental services and ecosystem functioning, how resources are consumed, how humans change ecosystems, and sustainability.
  • At Key Stage 5, students are required to understand how human activity influences landforms over time, changing places, environmental management, geopolitics of resources and global governance, and how natural cycles influence resource security.


The Resources

These GA resources, produced with support from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), aim to encourage young people to explore, understand and spend time in the natural environment, both locally and further afield. There are three key themes taken from the Year of Green Action:


The resources are divided into these themes, with suggested teaching activities and support materials for KS1-2, KS3, KS4 and KS5 for each theme – providing twelve resource packs in total, three for each key stage. There is an overview document here  that structures the scheme of learning for each stage, and shows curriculum specification links.

The resources utilise, and make reference to, links from the Defra website and other associated government agencies.


A set of resources for key stages 1-5 exploring the Year of Green Action’s ‘Connect’ theme.


This section explores the ‘Protect’ theme and asks what our impact is on the environment and how we can do more to protect it.


This set of resources looks at how we can improve and enhance the environment.

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