Three Decades of International Guidelines for Environment-Related Education: A Critical Hermeneutic of the United Nations Discourse

Lucie Sauvé, Tom Berryman, Renée Brunelle


The UNESCO-UNEP International Environmental Education Program (1975-
1995) provided impetus for developing, legitimizing, and institutionalizing
environmental education. More recently, UNESCO was mandated by the
United Nations to carry out a worldwide shift towards education for sus-
tainable development. As international organizations’ recommendations
and guidelines often act as beacons for the conception and implementation
of national formal and nonformal education programs, it is necessary to
critically appraise their content. Our hermeneutical analysis of United
Nations documents concerning environmental education, which is now sub-
sumed to sustainable development, highlights an instrumental view of edu-
cation, a resourcist conception of the environment, and an economicist view
of development. Such a worldview needs to be discussed.

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Copyright © Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE) ISSN 1205-5352