What Is Environmental Education

In 1976, The Belgrade Charter: A Global Framework for Environmental Education (UNESCOUNEP, 1976) summarized the goal of environmental education as to develop a world population that is aware of, and concerned about, environmental and associated problems and that has the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations, and commitment to work individually and collectively toward solutions of current problems and the prevention of new ones.

These goals were better defined 20 years later by five objectives outlined in UNESCO-UNEP (1996). These objectives are to improve:
• Awareness. To help social groups and individuals acquire awareness and sensitivity towards the environment as a whole, and issues, questions, and problems related to the environment and development.
• Knowledge. To help individuals, groups, and societies gain a variety of experience in, and acquire a basic understanding of, what is required to create and maintain a sustainable environment.
• Attitudes. To help individuals, groups, and societies acquire a set of values and feelings of concern for the environment, and the motivation to actively participate in protection of the environment.
• Skills. To help individuals, groups, and societies acquire the skills for identifying, anticipating, preventing, and solving environmental problems.
Participation. To provide individuals, groups, and societies with an opportunity, and the motivation, to be actively involved at all levels in creating a sustainable environment.

These goals are pursued today by national and international organizations such as IUCN, UNEP, UNESCO, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, which have played a critical role in defining and promoting environmental education.

In 1974, Project Environment presented a model of environmental education that included three different dimensions that should be considered in any environmental education program:
• Education about the environment. This dimension is concerned with...