Environmental education is a multi-faceted tool that goes far beyond informing people about how to
protect the environment. Such learning can help people make wise choices in all of their various roles—
as consumers, employees, voters and citizens—by assimilating, analyzing and evaluating the complex
and diverse sources of information, data and opinion about the environment. Such knowledge is
essential if the United States and the world community are to meet the difficult challenge of achieving
global sustainability for future generations. Yet, according to research sponsored by the National
Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NEETF),American adults currently have only
a “comic book-level” basis of environmental knowledge. This problem is further compounded by
outdated—and sometimes inaccurate—information on the central causes of environmental degradation
and the problems that result from it.
1. Environmental Education Prioritization
The Administration should make environmental education
(EE) a top priority and encourage and fund EE partnership
programs involving federal agencies, and state, tribal, local and
2. Environmental Education Act
Congress should reauthorize the 1990 Environmental
Education Act and increase the funding in this area by
at least an order of magnitude.
3. Non-Traditional and Diverse Audiences
The Department of Education (DOED), National Science
Foundation (NSF), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
and other agencies should support research on the most
effective methods to reach non-traditional and diverse
audiences through EE.
4. Teacher Training
EPA, NSF, and DOED should encourage and support the
availability of pre-service and in-service teacher training in
EE for all teachers.
5. Non-Formal Education Programs
NSF, EPA and other federal agencies should increase support
for EE curriculum development and dissemination through
non-formal education programs such as 4-H, scouting, zoos,
aquariums, nature centers, museums, etc.
6. Effectiveness of Environmental Education Programs
DOE, EPA, and NSF should support research to measure the
effectiveness of EE programs, such as the Environment as an
Integrating Context initiative.
7. Block Grants
DOED and EPA should provide block grants to states for
EPA, DOED, and NSF should cooperatively develop and
implement a yearly assessment of public environmental
knowledge (expanded from the existing NEETF/Roper
9. Environmental Literacy
EPA, in cooperation with DOED, should assist states in
integrating environmental literacy assessments in their
on-going state assessments in order to develop baseline
data on student environmental literacy.
10. North American Association of Environmental
EPA, NSF, and DOED should promote the dissemination
and use of the North American Association for Environmental
Education (NAAEE) “Guidelines for Excellence” in EE to
ensure that scientifically accurate and instructionally sound
EE materials are used by educators.