There is distinction between environmental education and information about environment. Environmental education encompasses the component of increasing public awareness on environmental issues, engaging information about the environment, and engaging the participants in contributing to the bettering of the surrounding. Environmental education enhances a person’s decision-making and problem-solving skills as it is participatory. Information about the environment provides facts and/or opinions about pressing environmental issues without necessarily teaching people critical-thinking about the issues. Environmental information may enhance information about environment but may not necessarily enhance heir problem-solving techniques. Environmental information is connected to several thematic areas including globalization, conflict, ideological management, and immigration among many other topics.
The following section enhances understanding between environmental education and specific thematic issues. The focus of environmental education is enhanced when all aspects of development within a society are engaged.
Globalization is a process that is affected by several forces all intertwined to provide a coherent whole of environment. Global forces alter environmental education, some for self-benefit and others for the sustainable development. Several aspects affect environment and globalization, for instance, politics, democracy, and education (Tilbury, 1995). Global consumerism affect the environment in that it that it advocates and enhances responsible or green, or ethical consumption. Across the globe, people aspire to have and maintain a conducive environment that they can feel attached to. The study done by the Cambridge Journal of Education indicated that children of 5 and 6 years had generally a good feeling of the environment (Bonet, 1998). Effects of environmental destructions are felt globally leading to adverse effects that change the way of life. The daily choices of environmentally literate people affect the globe in that it can enhance saving or contributing to secure earth. Globally, altitude towards the environment dictates the steps likely to be taken by the participant’s hence more environmental consciousness. The society creates an enabling environment that impairs the finest minds creating a wasteland out of the best resources. The global awakening of the destructive effects of human actions to the environment needs to be appreciated and included in school curriculum across the world. Environmental literacy, environmental awareness, and quality should be taught across the board to contribute to the common goal of saving the environment. Environment is not a problem of one country or region, and thus environmental education and answers should be provided to map solutions to the challenges (Tilbury, 1995).
There are several areas that face conflicts between the environment and the surroundings. There are relatively increasing conflicts involving environment that should engage environmental educations. Environmental education should involve human-wildlife conflicts, human-human conflicts including development projects, and human-environmental conflicts among others. Environmental education focuses on the increasing conflicts of humans and the wildlife where key attitudes, knowledge, and behavioral intentions towards positive conservation mechanisms are encouraged. There were mixed attitudes and behaviors concerning livestock predation and conservations. It was also reported that over 88% of the participants were satisfied with their environmental knowledge gained on managing human-wildlife conflicts (Palmer, 1998). Environmental education should also focus on the areas that create barriers to environmental conservation and management. Peacebuilding and conflict resolution mechanism should be encompassed in the school curriculum. Environmental education cannot be taught in its entirety without having types of conflicts, procedures for solving the environmental conflict, and other survival mechanisms to enhance ecosystem balance.
There are laws and regulations that can be engaged to protect the environment. Issues dealing with global environmental issues need engagement from all quarters and should be supported by all entities. For instance, environmental constraints like deforestation, climate change, oil spills, and pollution challenges need to be handled through peaceful resolutions that should provide a win-win situation for the parties involved. Destruction of the ecosystems affects cultural and/or economic viability of different human communities. Environmental conflicts involve the health issues, race, ethnicity, governance, economic development, and the surroundings that should be handled through organized educational programs like environmental educations. The management of resources and the process of decision-making should be in collaboration to secure the environment and avoid conflicts (Daniels and Walker, 2001).
Environmental education should aid in management of policies and ideas that are geared towards environmental conservation. Issues of consensus building in handling of environmental issues are critical to foster working as a team in environmental conservation. The effects of economic and political forces in determining the management of the environment cannot be ignored or overlooked as it provides the dynamism and goodwill needed to conserve the environment (Spring, 2007). This indicates that political goodwill should be among the major items of environmental education that ought to be taught due to their importance. Ideological management arises in the cases of disputed environmental issues that can be handled through consensus and policy guidelines. There are diverse procedures and approaches that scholars can promote for adoption in regards to environmental education. Controversy surrounding funding on major environmental education programs should be handled through diplomacy (Miller, 1985).
Immigration is process that causes globalization in many aspects, including commercial investments, cultural exchanges, and socio-political influences. Immigration affects environment where adverse effects like overuse of the natural resources and contribution to the pollution process. Issues affecting immigrants and their plight are politicized to an extent that they include environmental concerns. There are other challenges that that immigrant’s face like harassments, jail terms, deportations, and unprecedented arrests. Some groups in the US, for instance, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, put blames on the immigrations and the immigrants for issues like sprawling, deterioration of service and education, environmental pollution and degradation, and unemployment among other issues. These concerns should be taught during environmental education classes where other topics like over-population, cultural declines, and the anti-immigration agenda should be incorporated in such EE programs. There are several consequences of poor environmental health as caused by the population causes like overpopulation, sprawling, and overuse of resources (Ramsey, Hungerford, and Volk, 2010).
Programs should be directed towards enhancing economic value of the available environmental resources. Majority of the governments have programs that focus on harmonizing EE with economic and social goals in addition to awarding them equal priority. EE should encourage pursuit of environmental goals that support legitimate and powerful social and economic goals. The program should be inclusive in that the society should be included in learning the procedures and aspects of gaining economic value from conserving the environment. Creation of the best attitude and acquiring beneficial skills on environmental conservation can be termed as the main goal of environmental education. Governments should be incorporated to provide directions on what to include in EE programs and what practical measures need inclusion to enhance economic value of the participants. Provision of knowledge, capacity, and understanding castigates achievements of social and economic goals. Practical aspects of EE should be taught to stimulate economic and social value.
Consumerism and Environmental Education
The consumerism strategy should be embraced in EE where purchasing options and other economic activities should be acted to encourage successful activation of EE into social and economic life. The material conditions of the world need to feature environmental aspect in them, for instance, protecting the environment from pollution, advocating for recycling of the wastes, and ensuring economic value I generated from the environmental resources sustainably. The momentum of environmental education should focus on responsible, or green consumption where harmful effects are reduced and the benefits are accrued (Kopnina, 2011). Global forces in consumerism should also focus on relative compensation for the destruction of the environment, for instance, companies causing destructive changes to the environment should pay. Oil spills, deforestation for timber and agriculture, mining, and other activities should aim at providing benefits to the environment and the society, but not environmental destruction (Jickling & Wals, 2008).
From the above indications, environmental education needs proper handling to transfer the right attitude, mindset, and skills for the conservation of the environment. Globalization affects EE in many fronts where exchange of ideas and policy formulations take place. Globalization affects all the societies in that it has direct connections to the environment and its conservation program. EE should also engage human-wildlife, human-human, and human-environment conflict in its education programs. Peaceful coexistence, policy formulations, and capacity building for the economic and social benefit of the society should be embraced. Other issues include ideology management where coordination of policy makers, environmental strategists, and other professionals should work together to formulate procedures to enhance conservation of the environment. Immigration has influence to the environment through overpopulation, pollution, and degradation of health to the victims. all EE programs should focus on economic and social value (McCrea, n.d.).