The first conference on environmental protection held in Stockholm in 1972 was the main initiator of awareness and reaction on capacity of the planet Earth, growing human population and the need to change the awareness and usage of natural resources, i.e. protect and improve of the environment.
Environmental protection education is the interactive process that aims to awaken in people an awareness of environmental problems in local level and globally as the Earth’s carrying capacity aspect.
Environmental protection education promotes a harmonious relationship between man and nature through sustainable development, in order to provide current generation’s quality of life in the natural environment, but also to hand over as a heritage to future generations so that they have sufficient resources. Although we do not know which will be the needs of future generations, as technological advances and information technology are changing the way of life, culture, nutrition, housing, etc., the lack of resources has a significant impact on the possibilities for new generations to a healthy environment.
Main international summits and forums, and documents arising in the last decades are focused on 15 major/current environmental problems, namely:
- Pollution of air, water and land,
- Global warming and climate changing,
- Exhaustion of natural resources,
- Waste disposal,
- Land degradation,
- The loss of biodiversity and erosion of genetic diversity,
- Ocean acidification,
- Damage to the ozone layer,
- Acid rain,
- Urbanization (The expansion of cities and infrastructure)
- Energy inefficiency,
- Health of the population,
- Genetic engineering.
Global environmental problems most of the population recognizes through three main groups:
- Climate changes,
- Pollution and
- Energy crisis.
Lack of awareness about other important issues as well as their connections present the key issues for Environmental Education.
International seminar on environmental protection education was held in 1975 in Belgrade in the framework of the United Nations, with the participation of about 70 countries. Seminar represented another step in a series of initiatives that continued with US involvement in 80s, followed by a number of Directives and International Multilateral Contracts which placed environmental issues in obligation and responsibility frameworks and recommendations for action.
What is the goal of environmental education?
Three scientific disciplines open the ways for environmental education:
- Understanding of nature,
- Preservation of education and
- Outdoors education.
Ecological education as a new scientific discipline puts special emphasis on the social dimension of environmental problems. The focus is on raising awareness, behavior, knowledge, skills and motivation necessary for solving, or prevention of environmental problems.
Environmental Education relies on critical thinking, constructive problem solving and effective decision-making skills. Environmental Education should teaches individuals and community to use different approaches for key issues decision.
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Lieberman, G.A. & L.L. Hoody. 1998. „Closing the Achievement Gap: Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning.“ State Education and Environment Roundtable, Poway, CA.
The Belgrade Charter, Adopted by the UNESCO-UNEP International Environmental Workshop, October 13–22, 1975. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0001/000177/017772eb.pdf accessed 26 January 2016
How to cite this article
Djordjevic S & Kolbas T, 2017, Ecological eduction, http://ekodrina.org/