Civic Engagement and Environmental Issues Forums


spring growth in hard wood forest

In partnership with the Kettering Foundation, Environmental Issues Forums (EIF) provide tools, training, and support for engaging adults and students in meaningful, productive discussions about sticky issues that affect the environment and communities.

EIF is building a nationwide network of locally sponsored public forums for the consideration of public policy issues. EIF is rooted in the simple notion that people need to come together to reason and talk—to deliberate about common problems.

These forums are modeled on the National Issues Forums (NIF)—a nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored public issues forums. Forums organized by a variety of organizations, groups, and individuals, offer citizens the opportunity to join together to deliberate, make choices with others about ways to approach difficult issues and work toward creating reasoned public judgment. Forums range from small or large group gatherings similar to town hall meetings, to study circles held in public places or people's homes on an ongoing basis.

Forums focus on an issue such as climate change, water scarcity, water quality, or energy. The forums provide a way for people of diverse views and experiences to seek a shared understanding of the problem and to search for common ground for action. Forums are led by trained, neutral moderators, and use an issue discussion guide that frames the issue by presenting the overall problem and then three or four broad approaches to the problem. Forum participants work through the issue by considering each approach; examining what appeals to them or concerns them, and also what the costs, consequences, and trade-offs may be that would be incurred in following that approach.

Who can use EIF?

EIF takes shape through the efforts and innovations of EE practitioners—like you. Educators in communities, classrooms, conservation and education organizations, government agencies, and professional development may all find something of value in EIF. 

Civic Engagement and Environmental Education

Get Involved in EIF

To learn more, and find out how you can get involved, contact us.

Keep the conversation going in our eePRO groups: