Environmental education builds knowledge, skills, and intentions to adopt environmental behaviors.
Eighty-seven percent of the reviewed environmental education studies reported outcomes such as awareness, knowledge, intentions, or skills that may support personal environmental behavioral changes, such as buying local foods or increasing participants' efforts to save water or energy at home. Research shows that actions such as these may indicate the start of long-term personal pro-environmental behavior change.
Environmental education can increase people's pro-environmental behaviors.
In some of the reviewed studies, individuals were directly observed changing their behavior, while in others, participants reported that they had changed their behaviors.
Environmental education’s ability to create changes in student pro-environmental behaviors and attitudes is what society . . . will find to be necessary to create the next generation of environmental advocates and stewards.
– Dr. Andrew Schneller, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Skidmore College
Environmental education programs often include hands-on actions for the environment.
While engaging in environmental education, participants undertake activities to benefit the environment, such as planting trees, cleaning up schoolyards, streams, or beaches, or monitoring species or habitats to assess environmental quality.
Environmental education builds community conservation capacity.
Environmental education programs can increase a community's capacity to address conservation issues. The programs help create an informed citizenry, increase community participation in conservation projects, and inspire the creation of local environmental groups.
Environmental education can directly improve the environment.
Some environmental education programs measure changes in environmental indicators, such as water or air quality changes. Assessing how a program has specifically improved environmental quality is an explicit, integral part of its success.