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Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability Essay


What international events influenced the development of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability? List the key developments and events in a short 1-page point-form account providing the relevant names of events and dates/ years in which they took place

1) The 1972 United Nations Conference on Human Environment – Stockholm

It led directly to the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which became the first UN agency to have its headquarters located outside of Europe and North America – in Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. Among the first tasks given to the UNEP was to establish term ‘environmental education’. Together with Unesco, UNEP organised the first International Workshop on Environmental Education in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1975 and following on this, the first Inter-governmental Conference on Environmental Education held at Tbilisi in the USSR in 1977. This conference resulted in the declaration of 12 principals – now referred to as the Tbilisi Principals of Environmental Education which provided the framework and guidelines for the practise of environmental education on a global, regional, and national scale. The 1987 International Conference on Environmental Education held in Moscow reaffirmed the Tbilisi Principals as sound guidelines for the development of national environment al education programmes.

2) The Tbilisi Principles of Environmental Education

Consider the environment in its totality – natural and built, technological and social (economic, political, cultural-historical, moral, aesthetic) Be a continuous lifelong process, beginning at the preschool level and continuing through all formal and non-formal stages Be interdisciplinary in its approach, drawing on the specific content of each discipline in making possible a holistic and balanced perspective Examine major environmental issues from local, national, regional, and international points of view so that students receive insights into environmental conditions in other geographical areas Focus on current and potential environmental situations while taking into account the historical perspective

Promote value of, and necessity for local, national, and international cooperation in the prevention and solution of environmental problems Explicitly consider environmental aspects in plans for the development and growth Enable learners to have a role in planning their learning experiences and provide an opportunity for making decisions and accepting their consequences Enable learners to have a role in planning their learning experiences and provide an opportunity for making decisions and accepting their consequences Relate environmental sensitivity, knowledge.

Problem-solving skills and values clarification to every age, but with special emphasis on environmental sensitivity to the learner’s own community in early years Help learners discover the symptoms and real causes of environmental problems Emphasise the complexity of environmental problems and thus the need to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills Utilise diverse learning environments and a broad array of educational approaches to teaching/ learning about and from the environment, with due stress on practical activities and first-hand experience

3) The 1992 Rio Earth Summit

The 1992 Earth Summit focused on the role of environmental education as an educational response to the environmental crisis. Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992), was one of the key documents to emerge from the conference , emphasises the need for wide-scale environmental educational programmes in diverse settings, while the “BioDiversity Convention” includes education and capacity building \, as do many of the other international conventions aimed at responding to a wide range of environmental issues

Agenda 21 describes environmental education processes that involve teachers and learners in “promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of people to address environment and development issues” illustrating the close link between changes in the field of environmental education and the prominence of the notion of sustainable development at the Rio Earth Summit. A development linked to the 1992 Earth Summit was the development of a Treaty on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies, which was adopted at a plenary meeting by the International Forum of NGOs and Social Movements

4) The NGO Forum Principals

Education is the right of all; we are all learners and educators Environmental education, whether formal, non-formal or informal, should grounded in critical and innovative thinking in any place or time, promoting the transformation and construction of society Environment education is both individual and collective. It aims to develop local and global citizenship with respect for self-determination and the sovereignty of nations Environmental education is not neutral but it value-based. It is an act for social transformation Environmental education must involve a holistic approach and thus an interdisciplinary focus in the relation between human beings, nature and the universe Environmental education must stimulate solidarity, equality, and respect for the human rights involving democratic strategies and an open climate of cultural interchange

Environmental education should treat critical global issues, their causes and interrelationship in a systematic approach and within their social and historical contexts. Environmental education must recover, recognise, respect, reflect and utilise indigenous history and local cultures, as well as promote cultural, linguistic and ecological diversity. Environmental education must facilitate equal partnerships in the processes decision making at all levels and stages Environmental education should empower all peoples and promote opportunity for grassroots democratic change and participation. Environmental education values all different forms of knowledge.

Knowledge is diverse, cumulative and socially produced and should not be patented or monopolised Environmental education must be designed to enable people to handle conflicts in just and humane ways Environmental education must stimulate dialogue and cooperation among individuals and institutions in order to create new lifestyles which are based on meeting everyone’s basic needs, regardless of ethnic gender, age, religious, class, physical or mental differences Environmental education requires a democratisation of the mass media and its commitment to the interest of all sectors of society. Environmental education must integrate knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and actions Education must help develop and ethical awareness of all forms of life with humans share this planet, respect all life cycles, and impose limits on human’s exploitation of other forms of life.


The IUCN defines environmental education as follows:

Environmental education is a process during which values are discovered and concepts are explained in order to develop skills and attitudes pertaining to an appreciation of the relationship between man, his culture and his biophysical environment. Environment education also includes the practise of decision-making and the formulation of personal code of conduct on matters affecting the quality of the environment. In a school context, you observe the following:

Paper and litter is strewn over the whole school and the school grounds are unkempt Lights are left on in classrooms and offices after school is over Taps are usually left dripping As an environmental educator you realise that this an opportunity to educate the learners and the staff at your school about the environment issues observed and to help them take action to respond to these issues. Briefly explain: 3) What values you can teach the school in relation to the observed environmental issues?

The importance of a clean environment is a healthy environment. We can teach children the importance of recycling. 4) What skills need to be developed to address the problems? We need to educate learners the threats that litter causes to the environment e.g. litter can be a fire hazard; it could harm or kill animals, can block waterways, litter looks bad and is an eyesore for anybody. 5) What attitudes need to be developed in the school?

Learners and children need to develop a positive attitude, to involve the entire school in a recycling programme, which can be extended to the community. 6) What decisions need to be made by the school management to address these issues? Create awareness by providing recycling bins for paper, glass and plastic. Pick an area on a weekly basis and involve the learners and parents to participate in cleaning up the area. Have awareness meetings with the learners, have charts in the classrooms, go on field trips. 7) What code of conduct needs to be developed for learners in the school to address these issues? The rules of the school have to be strict, children are to receive detention if they are caught littering.


Education for sustainability and education for sustainable development are very prominent in this decade for sustainable development. Answer the following questions regarding this: 3.1 Define the term sustainable development

Sustainable development means ensuring the dignified living conditions with regard to human rights by creating and maintaining the widest possible range of options for freely defining life plans 3.2 Name two ecological indicators of sustainability

Consumption and generation of waste are minimised
Renewable, non-toxic energy sources are used and/ or disposed of to the benefit of the environment and community
3.3 Name two social indicators of sustainability
There are adequate opportunities/ technologies for communication within the community and for connecting, as is appropriate, with the worldwide community The talents, skills and other resources of the community are shared freely within the community, and offered outside the community, to serve the greater good
3.4 Name two spiritual indicators of sustainability

Cultural vitality is sustained through artistic and other cultural activities and celebrations There is a capacity for flexibility and successful responsiveness to difficulties that arise


Discuss how you can apply five (5) Tbilisi principals of Environmental Education in teaching an environment education topic of your choice Assessment guide: Your chosen topic has to be an environmental issue that environmental education will be responding to. You need to list the 5 principals and for each principle explain how you will fully incorporate it into the chosen topic. Use the framework below for your answer:

Environmental Topic:

Tbilisi Principle
Application of the principle to the topic
1.consider the environment in its totality
Learners are to respect the environment
2.focus on current & potential environment situations

Think on the current problems and the problems that can arise in the future if not dealt with now 3.help learners discover the symptoms & real causes of environmental problems Educate learners on how these problems are caused and how to detect them early on 4.emphasis the complexity of environmental problems and the need to develop critical thinking and problem solving Discuss with learners the hazards of environmental problems and ways to prevent them 5.enable learners to have a role in planning their learning experiences Group studies, sharing and brainstorming

Discuss learning in environmental education under the following headings 5.1 environmental learning strategies or approaches
Active Learning
Learners should not only learn about the environment, but should also be active participants in the learning situation in environment education Authentic Learning
Learning about real environmental threats and problems, and looking for real solutions to these challenges. It also implies active, hands-on learning Problem Solving
With the correct guidance and support, learners will make a genuine effort to solve problems if they are real and especially if adults have been unable to find a solution.

Critical Thinking
Many outcomes for environmental learning include the phrase: “Learners should critically engage with…” This implies a higher dimension of thought and requires learners to acquire a lot of information on different perspectives associated with an environmental problem, issue or risk if their critical engagement is to be meaningful. 5.2 principles for environmental learning

To ensure a holistic approach to learning in environmental education, the following principals should be taken into account Environmental learning is based on knowledge, which is needed to study and solve environmental problems and to address environmental challenges Environmental learning should develop the skills needed to study and solve environmental problems and to address environmental challenges Environmental learning should include the affective domain, specifically the attitudes, values and commitments needed to ensure a sustainable society

5.3 learners

Environmental learning should be age appropriate for it to succeed. Learners in different age groups have different learning abilities and exhibit different characteristics
Auditory Learners
Auditory learners prefer to learn through listening.
Typical auditory learning activities in environmental education are listening to verbal presentations on environmental topics and discussions on environmental issues
Visual Learners

Visual learners prefer learning through seeing. The more visual the presentation, the better it is. In a formal learning situation, visual learners need to see the environmental educators body language and facial expressions to fully understand the content of a presentation

Tactile/ kinaesthetic learners

Tactile learners prefer learning through touching, moving, and doing. Outdoor learning suits them well, as they prefer a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them 5.4 inclusive learning in environmental education

Inclusive environmental education means
More students with barriers to learning in regular environments, more of the time, in more meaningful activities Having additional learning options for meeting the variety of needs of individual learners Mainstreaming learners and offering support, resources and help where needed
5.5 The learning environment in environmental education

A learning should be functional and should correspond as closely as possible to the situations in which learning is to applied A learning environment should encourage activity and should engage learners in an interactive and integrated way A learning environment should be lifelike, or at least relate to reality, to ensure that learners can experience what the learning can be used for. A learning environment should contain models, and coaching should be provided by an expert teacher


The purpose of this question is to help you master the skill of preparing a lesson for your subject in which you integrate Environmental Education Design a lesson where you indicate how an environmental theme can be taught in your subject. The following should receive attention: Indicate the environmental topic (e.g. pollution, global warming, acid mine water, desertification, deforestation, overuse of resources such as fishing, etc.) Indicate the lesson aims (identify the relevant environmental skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values to be addressed by the lesson) Indicate the environmental content you will use to present the lesson

Include learning activities for introduction, middle, and conclusion of lesson Include teacher activities for introduction, middle, and conclusion of lesson Integrate at least two Tbilisi principles in your lesson (how can two Tbilisi principles are used in the school context). Indicate the values you would like learners to accept (e.g. care for the environment, action on behalf of the environment, etc.) Indicate the environmental concepts you would like learners to understand and indicate how you will go about teaching the concepts (e.g. biodiversity, environment, etc.). Indicate the skills learners should master (e.g. Learners must be able to make compost or start a food garden or recycle paper, etc.). Reflect on how successful you were in integrating Environmental education in your lesson.

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