EE can happen within the formal school system, or outside of school, where most learning occurs. EE is a lifelong learning process, and strong EE is learner-centered, inquiry based, and developmentally appropriate. While early learners may benefit most from positive experiences with nature, middle-school children will be able to ask more critical questions to investigate an issue, and come to their own conclusions. Rather than teaching people what to think, EE strives to teach people how to think.
Environmental Education (EE) equips people with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to be stewards of the environment.
EE provides opportunities for people to:
- Learn about the environment, including a focus on systems thinking and the role that humans play in affecting the environment;
- Examine and clarify their values about and attitudes toward the environment, including the natural world and the human-built environment;
- Build skills to address environmental and social issues; and
- Undertake behaviors that help protect the environment and work toward a more sustainable future.
Though EE has been around for centuries, the modern-day field of EE was established in 1977 through the Tbilisi Declaration. Learn more below and read the full version here.
The Tbilisi Definition of Environmental Education
EE is a learning process that increases people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and its 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.