Environmental Education Defined

Environmental education has many definitions.

"Environmental education ‘prepares all citizens with essential skills that contribute to healthier, more environmentally sustainable and economically prosperous communities." North American Association for Environmental Education NAAEE, 2008

Below we present two, created by environmental education stakeholders in Alberta, that guide us in our work:

Environmental Education helps children and adults develop knowledge, values, skill and behaviours that help them meet present-day needs without compromising the well-being of future generations.

From 'Environmental Education: Creating a Sustainable Future for Albertans


Environmental education is a learning process that:

Increases peoples’ knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges;
Develops the necessary skills and expertise to address these challenges, including critical thinking skills; and
Fosters attitudes, motivation, and commitment to make informed decisions and take responsible action

From 'Framework to Advance Environmental Education in Alberta

These definitions are consistent with an abiding definition from the peer-reviewed literature:

[The goal of environmental education is]...to aid citizens in becoming environmentally knowledgeable and, above all, skilled and dedicated citizens who are willing to work, individually and collectively, toward achieving and/or maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between quality of life and quality of the environment.

Hungerford, et al, 1980: "Goals for Curriculum Development in Environmental Education," Journal of Environmental Education (11:3, pp. 42-7)

The Value of Environmental Education

Environmental education connects people and nature, prepares students for the future, empowers environmental stewards of all ages, builds community, and changes lives. This short video, produced by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) captures some fantastic insights about the value of environmental education.

Click here to watch 'The Value of Environmental Education'