What is environmental education?

Environmental Education is a learning process that increases people’s awareness and knowledge about the environment. While many think Environmental Education refers to the environmental education that takes place in schools, it also refers to neighbors educating neighbors and parents educating children about good environmental practices. It helps people develop the necessary skills to address environmental challenges and foster attitudes to make informed decisions and act in ways that are beneficial to our community.The most effective environmental education programs have a distinct “action” component whose purpose is to encourage responsible, enduring decisions and actions that impact our neighborhoods, our community and the environment. Environmental Education allows room for global thinking, cooperative learning, and the development of problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Environmental Education provides a great opportunity to be infused across the curriculum. Some subjects present greater opportunities than others, but all subjects have an important role to play.

Science: Incorporates Environmental Education in problem solving skills and the study of the relationships between science, technology, and society.

Mathematics: Many mathematical concepts can be illustrated by experiences and examples; from the natural, social, economic, and political environments.

Social Studies: The various social studies can contribute greatly to the study of how alternative plans and actions can affect our future generations.

Language Arts: There is a wealth of literature – poetry, prose, and drama, which deals with our environment in a variety of interesting and thought-provoking ways.

Economics: In studying commerce, students learn how to manage resources carefully, to plan for the future, and to apply ethical criteria in financial decision-making.

Health and Physical Education: Both physical and mental health are dependent upon high quality natural and built environments. Important topics include: air and water pollution, noise and health, and the need for healthy recreation activities in indoor and outdoor settings.

Home Economics: Provides an opportunity to examine such issues as energy use and conservation, solid waste disposal, recycling, and other lifestyle-related topics.

Agricultural Studies: Provides an excellent opportunity to teach a number of issues, including soil erosion, endangered plant and wildlife species, energy shortages, and water conservation.

Art and Music: Provides a medium through which ideas and feelings about environmental issues can be expressed.