An environmental education is far more dynamic and fluid that traditional forms of study. It involves more than rote learning or the purely theoretical study of ecological concerns. An environmental education includes critical thinking and a participatory approach that incorporates practical actions.
A good environmental education is holistic and interdisciplinary, as a comprehensive understanding of the issues spans a wide range of disciplines.
Environmental education is based on the pure and applied sciences like climatology, geography, biology, physics, botany, zoology, hydrology, and agriculture. However it also includes the social sciences like history, economics, business administration, sociology, anthropology and political science.
Environmental Education can take place in a number of settings. Classrooms from gradeschool to post graduate seminars can be used as teaching venues. There are also field learning opportunities including those situated in the natural world (ie mountains, forests, oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, etc.).
Environmental learning can also take place in the offices of NGOs, businesses and government. NGOs can offer insight into how information is collated and reported as well as how campaigns are organized. Businesses can offer valuable learning opportunities pertaining to the practices associated with sustainability. Governments can help students understand how policy decisions are made and how these policies are enacted.
Commonly environmental education involves collaborations with a number of agencies including local communities.
A good illustration of a contemporary environmental education can be found at the University of Copenhagen. Their Climate Change Masters of Science degree is two year interdisciplinary graduate program that teaches students about climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation. This program incorporates both the natural and social sciences. It includes geophysics, geography, social-economic affairs and security policy.
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