We’ve made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

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

Environmental Information

  • Increases public awareness and knowledge of environmental issues
  • Provides facts or opinions about environmental issues
  • Does teach individuals critical-thinking
  • Does not necessarily teach individuals critical-thinking
  • Does enhance individuals' problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Does not necessarily enhance individuals' problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Does not advocate a particular viewpoint
  • May advocate a particular viewpoint