Environmental Education

Topics: Natural environment, Environment, Environmentalism Pages: 5 (1488 words) Published: December 8, 2012
Environmental education
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Environmental education (EE) refers to organized efforts to teach about how natural environments function and, particularly, how human beings can manage their behavior and ecosystems in order to live sustainably. The term is often used to imply education within the school system, from primary to post-secondary. However, it is sometimes used more broadly to include all efforts to educate the public and other audiences, including print materials, websites, media campaigns, etc. Related disciplines include outdoor education and experiental education. 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). Defining Environmental Education

Environmental education is defined as the process that helps in creating awareness and understanding of the relationship between human being and nature. It helps in creating a bond between human cultures, innovation along with various aspects of nature. The main objective of environmental education is to build knowledge, values and attitudes towards responsible environmental behavior. Most environmental education are based on this fundamental concept. History

The roots of environmental education can be traced back as early as the 18th century when Jean-Jacques Rousseau stressed the importance of an education that focuses on the environment in Emile: or, On Education. Several decades later, Louis Agassiz, a Swiss-born naturalist, echoed Rousseau’s philosophy as he encouraged students to “Study nature, not books.”[1] These two influential scholars helped lay the foundation for a concrete environmental education program, known as Nature study, which took place in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The nature study movement used fables and moral lessons to help students develop an appreciation of nature and embrace the natural world.[2] Anna Botsford Comstock, the head of the Department of Nature Study at Cornell University, was a prominent figure in the nature study movement and wrote the Handbook for Nature Study in 1911, which used nature to educate children on cultural values.[3] Comstock and the other leaders of the movement, such as Liberty Hyde Bailey, helped Nature Study garner tremendous amounts of support from community leaders, teachers, and scientists and change the science curriculum for children across the United States. A new type of environmental education, Conservation Education, emerged as a result of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl during the 1920s and 1930s. Conservation Education dealt with the natural world in a drastically different way from Nature Study because it focused on rigorous scientific training rather than natural history.[4] Conservation Education was a major scientific management and planning tool that helped solve social, economic, and environmental problems during this time period. The modern environmental education movement, which gained significant momentum in the late 1960s and early 1970s, stems from Nature Study and Conservation Education. During this time period, many events – such as Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War – placed Americans at odds with one another and the U.S. government. However, as more people began to fear the fallout from radiation, the chemical pesticides mentioned in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and the significant amounts of air pollution and waste, the public’s concern for their health and the health of their natural environment led to a unifying phenomenon known as environmentalism. The first article about environmental education as a new movement appeared in Phi Delta Kappan in 1969, authored by James A....
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