What are the Objectives and Principles of Environmental Education?

The objectives and guiding principles for developing environmental education are as follows:

(a) Awareness:

To help social groups and individuals acquire awareness and sensitivity to the total environmental and its allied problems.

(b) Knowledge:

To help social groups and individuals gain a variety of experiences in and acquire a basic understanding of the environment and its associated problems.

(c) Attitude:

To help social groups and individuals acquire a set of values and feelings of concern for the environment and motivation for actively participation in environmental improvement and protection.

(d) Skill:

To help social groups and individuals acquire skills for identifying and solving environmental problems.

(e) Evaluation ability:

To help individuals and social groups to evaluate environmental measures and education programs in terms of ecological, economic, social, aesthetic and educational factors.

(f) Participation:

To provide social groups and individuals with the opportunities to be actively involved at all levels in working towards the resolution of environmental problems.

The overall goal of environmental education can be expressed in another form as three principal objectives (UNESCO, 1977a).

1- To foster clear awareness and concern about economic, social, political and ecological interdependence in urban and rural areas.

2- To create new patterns of behaviors of individuals, groups and society as a whole towards the environment.

3. To provide every person with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment and skills needed to protect and improve the environment.

In order to achieve these goals and objectives, the environmental education should be a continuous life-long process, to be provided for all age groups, at all levels, both in and out of school education. It should foster in public large-children, adolescents and adults alike awareness and better understanding of the environmental issues.

Environment is interwoven with man's life, the environmental education should therefore, include environment in its totality-natural and built up, in an interdisciplinary problem-solving approach.

Environ­mental education should not be viewed as one or more subjects added to the already heavy curriculum, but as a growing important concern to be integrated into the programs for all learners, whatever be their age and learning situation. The out of school environmental education may therefore be either governmental, non­governmental and/or combination of both.

Environmental education programs need to be planned nationally as there is difference in the environmental priorities. Fast growing populations, high .intensity agriculture, human settlements and slum improvement, introduction of modern transport systems, increasing demands for energy and industrialization are the environmental priorities for developing countries whereas over exploitation of resources, industrial pollution and waste disposal are the main environmental priorities for developed countries.