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Experts Urge Increase in Environmental Education to Respond to Climate Emergency

July 7, 2021 by Ansley Puckett
A forest scene in Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Experts say environmental education needs greater investment if future generations are to be able to fully respond to the climate emergency.  

According to an article in Environmental Education Research, co-authored by Alan Reid, editor, and Justin Dillion, Jo-Anne Ferreira and Dr. Nicole Ardoin, associate editors, environmental education is a “cornerstone” for the environmental changes generations will need in the future.  

“Global leaders should be discussing how to reimagine, recreate and restore environmental education to reduce the consequences of the environmental crisis,” Dillon said. “Countries should embed environmental and science education throughout society in ways that make sense locally.” 

The researchers also argue that governments and other organizations must put more funding into education and innovation in response to the deteriorating state of the environment and help combat misinformation around the climate crisis. Environmental education helps identify fake information and ideologies, which helps people respond appropriately to warnings about the state of our planet.  

According to the authors, the climate situation is not only a matter for scientists but also must be supported by those in the humanities, arts and social sciences so that environmental education becomes a core part of all education systems.  

“Ensuring any form of environmental education is relevant, coherent, fit for purpose, funded appropriately, and available to current and future generations within and beyond the curriculum will be crucial to addressing sound and pertinent warnings from scientists,” Reid said.  

The researchers also highlighted surveys that show many governments continue to fail in supporting and investing enough in sustainability education across pre-school, school and higher education settings.  

“Only by investing in education—and especially environmental and sustainability education—will it be possible to radically alter the course we are currently on, and thus demonstrate to ourselves and future generations that sufficient heed was given to our warnings,” Ardoin said.  

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