Today is World Environmental Education Day, an important date in the environmental calendar.
This year marks its 50th anniversary; half a century in which environmental education has been a pillar for empowering society and enabling the future generations to be more aware and to promote positive change towards a more sustainable world.
World Environmental Education Day was first celebrated in 1975, when the International Seminar on Environmental Education was organised in Belgrade. The event was attended by professionals from over 70 countries and allowed for the principles of Environmental Education to be established within the framework of the United Nations programmes. The result of the seminar was the publication of the Belgrade Charter.
Furthermore, this event would not have been possible without the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, adopted in Stockholm in 1972.
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment; half a century in which environmental education has been a pillar for empowering society and enabling the future generations.
Environmental Education at Anthesis
At Anthesis, we carry environmental education in our DNA. Our spanish business, Anthesis Lavola, began in 1981 as a nature school for teachers in Catalonia, and has grown over 40 years into a pioneering global provider of sustainability services, with education at its heart. From strategic reflection, through to design and production, our Education team creates a framework to deliver the best teaching solution for each type of audience. For this reason, World Environmental Education Day is a normal day at work for our Education experts, as they continue to carry out innovative educational activities and workshops to support a more sustainable society.
This year on World Environmental Education Day, our Educational Programmes team will share knowledge about different aspects of sustainability with almost 700 students from around thirty schools in Catalonia, Spain.
“A point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental consequences. Through ignorance or indifference we can do massive and irreversible harm to the earthly environment on which our life and well being depend.”
Stockholm Declaration, 1972
The Importance of Environmental Education
We have come a long way since Jacques Rousseau published his (1763) treatise ‘Emile: or, On Education’, which argued that education should maintain a focus on the environment. Now, more than ever, we need collective action, driven by an increased awareness and knowledge of environmental issues to support the transition to Net Zero and a more equitable society. It is clear that empowering everyone with the knowledge and skills to take action to drive us forward in this Decisive Decade is a foundation of our future aspirations.
The Belgrade Charter of 1975 highlighted that we need ‘to develop a world population that is aware of, and concerned about, the environment and its associated problems, and which has the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations and commitment to work individually and collectively towards solutions of current problems and the prevention of new ones.‘
Then, two years later, the Tbilisi Declaration in 1977 advanced this message and ‘call[ed] upon Governments and People to work together to preserve and improve the environment for the benefit of man and his posterity.’
There are, in fact, two World Environmental Education Days which mark the occasion: the Belgrade Charter date (Jan 26th), and the Tbilisi Declaration date (Oct 14th).
“Conversely, through fuller knowledge and wiser action, we can achieve for ourselves and our posterity a better life in an environment more in keeping with human needs and hopes.”
Stockholm Declaration, 1972
Anthesis is proud to honour this day in which we see schools, parks, environmental education centres, public institutions, associations, and museums around the world, organise events to:
- Highlight the importance of developing educational action
- Build transversal skills
- Focus on the complexity of the challenges in a world where everything is interconnected
- Affect perception of the human relationship with the environment
- Transform attitudes and therefore individual and collective behaviours
- Make people protagonists of a change towards a more environmentally friendly and equitable society.
A Quick History of Environmental Education
Belgrade Charter (Jan 26th)
Tbilisi Declaration (Oct 14th)