The Failure of Environmental Education (And How We Can Fix It)

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At a time when wild places everywhere are vanishing before our eyes, Charles Saylan and Daniel T. Blumstein offer this passionate indictment of environmental education—along with a new vision for the future. Writing for general readers and educators alike, Saylan and Blumstein boldly argue that education today has failed to reach its potential in fighting climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.
In this forward-looking book, they assess the current political climate, including the No Child Left Behind Act, a disaster for environmental education, and discuss how education can stimulate action—including decreasing consumption and demand, developing sustainable food and energy sources, and addressing poverty. Their multidisciplinary perspective encompasses such approaches as school gardens, using school buildings as teaching tools, and the greening of schoolyards. Arguing for a paradigm shift in the way we view education as a whole, The Failure of Environmental Education demonstrates how our education system can create new levels of awareness and work toward a sustainable future.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Environmental Studies & Sciences - Matt Biggar

"A strong argument for change. . . . Provokes the reader to envision a different reality for our schools that might lead to a better reality for the environment and future generations who depend on its health."
Time Magazine

“They're asking the right questions”
Audubon Magazine

“Their vision is inspiring: environmental education freed from partisan squabbling, and made creative, flexible, and powerful enough to reach citizens of all abilities and interests.”
Take Part

“Arguing for a paradigm shift in the way we view education, The Failure of Environmental Education demonstrates how our education system can create new levels of awareness and action and work toward a sustainable future.”

“A manifesto of sorts — part science, part politics, part moral persuasion.”
Electronic Green Journal

“A great diversity of exciting insights.”
Qtly Review Of Biology - Anthony J. Dellureficio

“Powerfully displays the authors’ academic grounding in environmental studies.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520265387
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/25/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Saylan is Executive Director of the Ocean Conservation Society. Daniel T. Blumstein is Professor and Chair in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Professor at the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles. His previous books include A Primer of Conservation Behavior.
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Table of Contents


1. The Problem(s)
2. Foundations
3. What Went Wrong
4. Accountability and Institutional Mind-Set
5. The Needs of Environmentally Active Citizens
6. Between Awareness and Action
7. A Political Primer
8. Consumption, Conservation, and Change
9. An Evolving Metric
10. And How We Can Fix It

Appendix: Greening Schools for Alternative Education

Notes Selected Bibliography Acknowledgments Index

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