The Tbilisi Declaration of 1977 established goals, objectives and guiding principles of environmental education in the first intergovernmental conference held in Tbilisi, Georgia.
“The declaration noted the unanimous accord in the important role of environmental education in the preservation and improvement of the world’s environment, as well as in the sound and balanced development of the world’s communities.”
The goals of environmental education are:
- to foster clear awareness of, and concern about, economic, social, political, and ecological interdependence in urban and rural areas;
- to provide every person with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment, and skills needed to protect and improve the environment;
- to create new patterns of behavior of individuals, groups, and society as a whole towards the environment.
The categories of environmental education objectives are:
Awareness—to help social groups and individuals acquire an awareness and sensitivity to the total environment and its allied problems.
Knowledge—to help social groups and individuals gain a variety of experience in, and acquire a basic understanding of, the environment and its associated problems.
Attitudes—to help social groups and individuals acquire a set of values and feelings of concern for the environment and the motivation for actively participating in environmental improvement and protection.
Skills—to help social groups and individuals acquire the skills for identifying and solving environmental problems.
Participation—to provide social groups and individuals with an opportunity to be actively involved at all levels in working toward resolution of environmental problems.
Guiding principles—environmental education should
- consider the environment in its totality—natural and built, technological and social (economic, political, cultural-historical, ethical, esthetic);
- be a continuous lifelong process, beginning at the preschool level and continuing through all formal and nonformal stages;
- be interdisciplinary in its approach, drawing on the specific content of each discipline in making possible a holistic and balanced perspective;
- examine major environmental issues from local, national, regional, and international points of view so that students receive insights into environmental conditions in other geographical areas;
- focus on current and potential environmental situations while taking into account the historical perspective;
- promote the value and necessity of local, national, and international cooperation in the prevention and solution of environmental problems;
- explicitly consider environmental aspects in plans for development and growth;
- enable learners to have a role in planning their learning experiences and provide an opportunity for making decisions and accepting their consequences;
- relate environmental sensitivity, knowledge, problem-solving skills, and values clarification to every age, but with special emphasis on environmental sensitivity to the learner’s own community in early years;
- help learners discover the symptoms and real causes of environmental problems;
- emphasize the complexity of environmental problems and thus the need to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
- utilize diverse learning environments and a broad array of educational approaches to teaching, learning about and from the environment with due stress on practical activities and first-hand experience.
2017 CFA Field Trip Program Correlations– A printable PDF version of the table above.
The Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association offers additional educational resources and links such as The Natural Inquirer, Workshops, Nature Oriented Parenting Newsletter, Environmental Education List Serve and Books to get you started.