A personal view: environmental education—its content and delivery



Arguably, no challenge faced by humanity is more critical than generating an environmentally literate public. Otherwise the present “business as usual” course of human affairs will lead inevitably to a collapse of civilization. I list obvious topics that should be covered in education from kindergarten through college, and constantly updated by public education and the media. For instance, these include earth science (especially climatology), the importance of biodiversity, basic demography, the problems of overconsumption, the fact that the current economic system compels producers and consumers to do the wrong thing environmentally, and the I = PAT equation. I also summarize less well-recognized aspects of the environmental situation that are critical but are only rarely taught or discussed, such as the nonlinear effects of continued population growth, the impacts of climate disruption on agricultural production, and the basic issues of human behavior, including economic behavior. Finally, I suggest some of the ways that this material can be made a major focus of all education, ranging from using environmental examples in kindergarten stories and middle school math to establish an international discussion of the behavioral barriers to sustainability.


Environment Education Culture gap population Consumption 


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Copyright information

© AESS 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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