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Education for Sustainability Ministry of Education

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The Importance of Environmental Education

There is now a wide appreciation of the damage being done to the environment through human activity. This damage is sometimes global, as in the case of the depletion of the ozone layer and of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Often the damage is regional, as with pest degradation of native forests, or the erosion of river catchments. Often too, the damage is local. Pollution from motor vehicles, contamination of soil by chemicals, sewage discharges; these and hundreds of other human activities stress the environment.

Learning to Care for Our Environment: Me Ako ki te Tiaki Taiao:
A National Strategy for Environmental Education, page 9

Environmental education, together with sound legislation, sustainable management, and responsible actions by individuals and communities, is an important component of an effective policy framework for protecting and managing the environment.

Environmental Education is a new focus for education. It is a way of helping individuals and societies to resolve fundamental issues relating to the current and future use of the world's resources. However, simply raising awareness of these issues is insufficient to bring about change. Environmental Education must strongly promote the need for personal initiatives and social participation to achieve sustainability.

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