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Youth Education: Background and Overview
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Teaching Strategies
P2 Instructional Materials
Reference Library
Where To Go for Help
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence
Curriculum Planning: Provides a set of recommendations for evaluating and selecting environmental e...

Environmental Education Resources for Teachers
This guide focuses on resources for teaching K-12 students about the environmental effects of pollut...

Environmental Studies in the K-12 Classroom: A Teacher's View
Results of a survey of teachers on environmental education.

Sustainable Development Toolkit
Description of how sustainability relates to education. Links to Kit to help schools and communities...

Pollution is something everyone has heard of, but the idea of preventing pollution before it happens is more abstract and less familiar. Pollution comes from waste. Prevention of waste before it happens is accomplished through daily, often small, personal choices (for example, choosing to walk or carpool; buying in bulk to reduce packaging; using a less hazardous product). Prevention can be difficult because it involves changing customary or ingrained ways of doing things. For a more detailed discussion about pollution prevention, see the Pollution Prevention Topic Hub.

Pollution prevention (P2) is the nuts-and-bolts application of what is known in educational circles as "environmental literacy." According to a study of K-12 teachers by the North American Association for Environmental Education and the Environmental Literacy Council, more than 61% of responding teachers said they included environmental topics in their curriculum with an average of 115 hours per year spent teaching them. Recycling and waste management are the most frequently included subjects. The most common sources of information cited were textbooks (79.1%), the library (75.9%) and newspapers (74.0%). While discussion is the most frequent method used to teach environmental topics at all grade levels, hands-on activities/projects are used by over 90% of K-4 teachers and 80% of 5-8 grade teachers.

The study also reported that prior to becoming teachers only about one in ten had courses in environmental teaching methods. "Encouraging students to be active in protecting the environment," was the reason most frequently given for choosing to include environmental topics and "irrelevancy to their curriculum" was the reason most frequently given for not including such topics. "Resistance from parents," "resistance from school district," and "issues are too controversial" were cited by less than 1% of the teachers for not teaching about the environment.

However, environmental education that is simply dropped into a curriculum or program, or that is a series of unconnected experiences, is not true environmental education, and in the long run, will not promote environmental literacy and responsible citizenship. The roots of this educational system are found in the Tbilisi Declaration, adopted internationally at the first intergovernmental conference on environmental education in 1977. For a more complete description of Environmental Education see the North American Association for Environmental Education's Guidelines for Excellence Workbook.

This topic hub provides a collection of multi-disciplinary resources that go beyond waste management and recycling to address prevention of pollution. They are presented in this "hub" format so they can be accessed at any time and wherever an internet connection exists, and so they can be easily updated as new resources become available. This collection will assist teachers and youth leaders in preparing pollution prevention-oriented lesson plans for environmental education. They also provide information and learning activities for youth and other learners.

The goal of environmental education is to develop a world population that is aware of and concerned about the environment and its associated problems, and which has the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations, and commitment to work individually and collectively toward solutions of current problems and the prevention of new ones.

The Belgrade Charter: A Global Framework for Environmental Education, 1976


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Youth Education Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center
Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 11/26/2012