Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Values: A Content Analysis of National EE Frameworks and State Standards through the Lens of the Earth Charter
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Mainstream scientists have grave concerns regarding unsustainable lifestyles in a world with finite resources. Lack of environmental literacy, sustainability values, connectedness to nature and environmental education as a core subject need to be addressed through environmental education. This mixed-methods content analysis examines and compares five state environmental education standards, national environmental education guidelines and the Earth Charter for inclusion of sustainability values. The Earth Charter states the international consensus principles of sustainability values. Data were generated through traditional quantitative coding, computer text analysis and the creation of document profiles through qualitative methods. Triangulation of the findings from these three methods showed that state standards and national guidelines adequately address ecological integrity principles, but not environmental justice principles associated with flourishing, sustainable communities. The North American Environmental Education guidelines and Wisconsin and Colorado state standards do include reflection on environmental values, issue analysis and environmental agency objectives. The Advanced Placement Course Description, New York and Texas standards are less concerned with ethics or values and more concerned with an ecological, scientific approach to environmental education. With the current political climate, international sustainability values as expressed by the Earth Charter would not pass through policy gatekeepers. In a standards-driven climate, standards are needed to open the gate for inclusion of environmental education in school curricula.
Singleton, Julie (2011). Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Values: A Content Analysis of National EE Frameworks and State Standards through the Lens of the Earth Charter. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from