Outstanding environmental education programs in North America Ravensbergen, Sarah
I. Introduction: the importance of environmental education The growing importance of environmental education today is evident in the increase and wide range of programs available from the pre-school to the university level, in a wide variety of forms (Palmer, 1998). This expansion is set against a backdrop of increasingly complex and intertwined environmental, social, and economic issues that societies currently face. Proponents of environmental education (in the broadest sense of the word) see learning by exposure to the ‘natural’ world as a vehicle to facilitate an integrated understanding of the complexities, but also the beauty of, interactions between humans and other species within the biosphere (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2010). In this way, environmental education is coming to be seen as an investment in healthy, critically-thinking generations of children with a strong connection to their environment, an investment that is crucial to the future of the planet (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2010).
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