Rationale for Action Education

ACEE’s stakeholders embrace a definition of environmental education that has some form of action as a key part of the education process. This page provides a rationale for action education. 

Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up…” (Dr. David Orr). Action projects give students hope for the future, by helping them see that their actions can make a difference.Rationale for Action Education

Passivity is a problem. The Dalai Lama tells us that “…the greatest challenge facing our time is not poverty, weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism. It is that we are raising a generation of passive bystanders.”

The public supports environmental action projects. In ACEE’s 2009 poll of 801 adults, three out of four agreed that “Schools in Alberta should give top priority to providing students with opportunities to do environmental action projects.”

Alberta youth aren’t there yet. ACEE’s 2010 poll of 459 youth show that youths’ knowledge of – and participation in – public action skills is ‘markedly low,’ as is youths’ engagement in most of the eight environmental behaviours assessed. The Alberta Program of Studies contains numerous opportunities for student action.

Action helps build 21st Century competencies. Students’ engagement in environmental action projects addresses all following 21st Century competencies (Source: Alberta Education):

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Social Responsibility
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Digital Literacy
  • Self-Direction and Personal Management
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Cultural and Global Awareness
  • Communication
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Leadership