Conference overview

Environmental education provides important opportunities for students to become engaged in real world issues that transcend classroom walls. They can see the relevance of their classroom studies to the complex environmental issues confronting our planet and they can acquire the skills they’ll need to be creative problem solvers and powerful advocates.

Environmental education benefits the larger world by contributing to sustainability and conserving our natural resources.

Environmental education and lifelong learning builds the knowledge and skills needed to address complex environmental issues, as well as take action to keep our natural world healthy, our economies productive, and communities vibrant.

Environmental problems have become increasingly difficult to understand and to evaluate, yet environmental issues are more often expressed in “sound bites” than explained by sound reasoning. Moreover, reasonable treatment of environmental concerns often falls prey to the political agendas of those who have a vested interest in an unsustainable, resource-extractive approach to economic development. The challenge, then, is to express the complexity of modern environmental issues in ways that are understandable and inviting, and at the same time to ensure that science continues to play an important role in explaining and evaluating environmental issues and in forging solutions to environmental problems.

The responsibility for reversing this trend rests primarily on adults. However, lately, adults have been very engaged and not creating enough time to pass down knowledge as had been the case of past years where African parents for example took time to tell their children folktales and stories about their environment. Schools which could have been the fall back place for environmental education are adding more content into their curriculum and keeping out the environmental components. The goal of environmental education is to develop a world population that is aware of, and concerned about, the environment and its associated problems, and which has the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations and commitment to work individually and collectively toward solutions of current environmental problems and the prevention of new ones. This is a blessing for life as it helps pupils to bond with nature. Feeling connected with nature is linked to pro-environmental actions and is a strong motivation for protecting nature, which makes the investigation of connectedness to nature important.

When Children leave school at primary level with no idea on concepts like climate change, environmental protection conservation and agriculture, its paintsaclear future for deforestation, land degradation, pollution and food insecurity.

The way we plan today for public education on the environment will have dramatic effects on the future quality of life. Effective and meaningful environmental education is a challenge we must take seriously if we and future generations are to enjoy the benefits of our natural heritage.

Now may be the time to consider new environmental education legislation that is more systemic in nature and that provides substantive increases in funding for national-level grants, educator training, and research initiatives. We should also be intentional on broadening the scope of strategic-level conversations to include sectors beyond the education community.

“When one generation’s behavior necessitates environmental remediation in the future, a burden of environmental debt is bequeathed to its children just as surely as unbalanced government budgets bequeath a burden of future financial debt.”

—Science Advisory Board

Objectives

  • Learn how to put environmental education and lifelong learning into practice to protect the environment
  • Increase the understanding of the importance and significance of environmental education
  • Mobilize stakeholders at all levels to engage in environmental education discussions across the globe and in their areas of expertise