Salmon, Jeffrey. Are We Building Environmental Literacy?
Journal of Environmental Education, 00958964, summer 2000, Vol. 31,
ICEE report Findings
- Study of the environment is an important subject for
- Teachers are the key to successful environmental education,
but the materials often fail to give them the support they need.
- Environmental education should not be confused with
environmental science, but materials that are not based on the best
available science do not promote environmental literacy.
- Environmental education materials often do not provide
a framework for progressive building of knowledge.
- Environmental education has become needlessly controversial.
- Environmental education materials often fail to prepare
students to deal with controversial environmental issues.
- Environmental education materials often fail to help
students understand the tradeoffs in addressing environmental problems.
- Factual errors are common in many environmental education
materials and textbooks.
- Many high school environmental science textbooks have
serous flaws. Some provide superficial coverage of science. Others
mix science with advocacy.
- There is no relationship between the quality of the
material and the authoritative recommendations that accompany the
it believes must be implemented if environmental education is to gain
the stature it deserves.
- Environmental educators should place primary emphasis
on the acquisition of knowledge.
- Students in the lower elementary grades should begin
the study of science with the study of the natural world.
- Schools should consider teaching environmental education
as an upper-level multi-disciplinary capstone course integrating what
students have learned in science, social studies and other upper-level
- Professional scientific and educational organizations
such as the AAAS and NSTA should recommend educational materials only
after a detailed, substantive review by experts has found them to
- Publishers must reevaluate their peer review process
for environmental science textbooks and environmental education materials.
- Textbook adoption committees and educational professionals
responsible for selection of materials at the state and local levels
should ask scientist, economists, and other experts, in addition to
parents and teachers, to review materials for accuracy.
- Environmental educational materials at all levels
should provide more substantive content in natural science and social
science than they now provide.
- Teachers need substantive preparation in science,
economics, and mathematics to teach environmental education.
- An independent review process conducted by experts
from the areas covered in environmental education should be established
to perform ongoing evaluations of curricula in this field.