Environmental Education for a Sustainable Future: National Action Plan

Environment Australia, July 2000
ISBN 0 642 546 665

Implementing a National Framework for Environmental Education Activities

National Action Plan

This National Action Plan is intended to provide a framework for environmental education activities in Australia. It does not purport to meet all needs nor replace the activities of the many government and non-government organisations currently engaged in educating the community about environmental issues. It is intended however to include some key initiatives to progress the objectives of environmental education on a national scale, in particular the achievement of a community committed to ecologically sustainable development.

Changes in popular perspectives, values, knowledge and skills to achieve changed behaviour in support of a sustainable environment will not occur overnight. The promulgation of this National Action Plan is therefore a starting point, not an end.

A key element in the National Action Plan is a move from an emphasis on awareness-raising to an emphasis on providing people with the knowledge, values and skills to actually make a difference to the protection and conservation of Australia's environment.

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage will seek the support of State and Territory Environment and Education Ministers in the implementation of this National Action Plan.

The support of State and Territory Education Ministers is particularly important in the area of school education. These Ministers have already indicated their commitment to education in support of ecologically sustainable development by endorsing new National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-first Century (the Adelaide Declaration, April 1999) which include the goal that:

"1. Schooling should develop fully the talents and capacities of all students. In particular, when students leave school, they should:…

1.7 have an understanding of, and concern for, stewardship of the natural environment, and the knowledge and skills to contribute to ecologically sustainable development."

Environment Australia will seek to work in partnership with formal education authorities to achieve this goal through the mechanisms to be established as part of the National Action Plan.