strategy

Providing environmental education in schools

Synonyms:
Offering adequate environmental education to children
Providing formal education in environment
Offering environmental science courses
Formalizing environmental education
Including environmental awareness in school curricula
Teaching sustainable development in schools
Context:
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends ensuring that education reflects the economic and social needs of youth and incorporates the concepts of environmental awareness and sustainable development throughout the curricula.

Agenda 21 and subsequent declarations stress the critical role of education in instilling greater understanding of the concept of sustainability in the next generation. 'Greener' and more integrated educational systems can foster appreciation of the ways in which economic, social and ecological systems are interdependent. In an increasingly urbanized society, the formal educational system is called upon to replace environmental learning that once took place through direct contact with nature.

Implementation:
Environmentally orientated courses such as environmental science, as well as student enrolment in such courses, have increased and evolved substantially in many countries in recent years and the Conference of European Rectors (representing 490 university rectors) have signed and endorsed the [Talloires Declaration] respectively. The Declaration issues principles and actions to be undertaken to make education and research related to environment and development a central goal of their institutions. One aspect is the integration of environmental perspectives and issues into non-environmental curricula. An example of such a programme is the Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute (TELI) in the US, which trains faculty in a wide variety of disciplines to incorporate environmental issues and perspectives into their existing courses. Faculty then incorporate environmental issues and perspectives into their regular curriculum. Revised curricula are then made available to faculty at other universities. In this way, in 1991 and 1992, about 8,000 students received environmental input in non-environmental courses. Second Nature also builds upon the [Talloires Declaration], and its goal is to catalyze a large international effort in making environment and development concerns a central part of all education levels.

The USA is a leader in the field of undergraduate environmental business courses. Though only 50 out of 700 business schools offer such curricula, the rate of increase has been rapid, since 5 years ago there were no environmental business courses. The Management Institute for Environment and Business assists USA business schools in this process. The European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) formed a Centre for the Management of Environmental Resources (CMER) in 1992, and teaches environmentally orientated Master of Business Administration (MBA) courses and executive development programmes.

Counter Claim:
1. Progress so far appears disappointing. It is difficult to introduce new subjects into school curricula, and limited change is visible in most university curricula (UNU 1998), although there has been rapid growth in the specialized environmental courses now offered by universities throughout the world.
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies