What is Environmental Education?


Environmental education is a process that allows individuals to explore environmental issues, engage in problem solving, and take action to improve the environment. As a result, individuals develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues and have the skills to make informed and responsible decisions.

The components of environmental education are:

  • Awareness and sensitivity to the environment and environmental challenges
  • Knowledge and understanding of the environment and environmental challenges
  • Attitudes of concern for the environment and motivation to improve or maintain environmental quality
  • Skills to identify and help resolve environmental challenges
  • Participation in activities that lead to the resolution of environmental challenges

Environmental education does not advocate a particular viewpoint or course of action. Rather, environmental education teaches individuals how to weigh various sides of an issue through critical thinking and it enhances their own problem-solving and decision-making skills.

The National Environmental Education Act of 1990 requires EPA to provide national leadership to increase environmental literacy. EPA established the Office of Environmental Education to implement this program.


Environmental Education is More Than Information about the Environment


Environmental Education

Increases public awareness and knowledge of environmental issues

Does teach individuals critical-thinking

Does enhance individuals’ problem-solving and decision-making skills

Does not advocate a particular viewpoint


Environmental Information

Provides facts or opinions about environmental issues

Does not necessarily teach individuals critical-thinking

Does not necessarily enhance individuals’ problem-solving and decision-making skills

May advocate a particular viewpoint