Environmental Education
Creating an environment to educate about the environment
Go to ...

Defining Environmental Education

Environmental Education (EE) is a process in which individuals gain awareness of their environment and acquire knowledge, skills, values, experiences, and also the determination, which will enable them to act - individually and collectively - to solve present and future environmental problems.

EE is a complex process, covering not just events, but a strong underlying approach to society building as a whole. EE provides people with the awareness needed to build partnerships, understand NGO activities, develop participatory approaches to urban planning, and ensure future markets for eco-business.

Environmental education is a learning process that increases people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges, develops the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges, and fosters attitudes, motivations, and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible action (UNESCO, Tbilisi Declaration, 1978).

Environmental education enhances critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective decision-making skills, and teaches individuals to weigh various sides of an environmental issue to make informed and responsible decisions. Environmental education does not advocate a particular viewpoint or course of action.

The components of environmental education are:

  1. Awareness and sensitivity to the environment and environmental challenges
  2. Knowledge and understanding of the environment and environmental challenges
  3. Attitudes of concern for the environment and motivation to improve or maintain environmental quality
  4. Skills to identify and help resolve environmental challenges
  5. Participation in activities that lead to the resolution of environmental challenges

Environmental education is aimed at producing a citizenry that is knowledgeable concerning the biophysical environment and its associated problems, aware of how to help solve these problems, and motivated to work toward their solution.

Stapp, W.B., et al. (1969). The Concept of Environmental Education. Journal of Environmental Education, 1(1), 30-31.

Environmental education, properly understood, should constitute a comprehensive lifelong education, one responsive to changes in a rapidly changing world. It should prepare the individual for life through an understanding of the major problems of the contemporary world, and the provision of skills and attributes needed to play a productive role towards improving life and protecting the environment with due regard given to ethical values.

UNESCO, 1977

Return to the EE Homepage
Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org