Environmental Education and Public Awareness
AbstractThe enhanced paced of development activities and rapid urbanization has resulted in stress on natural resources and quality of life. Humans are responsible for depletion of the natural resources. Environment can be seen to consist of two major components: natural - atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere environments and social or man-made environments. As a result of human intelligence, man has great influence on her biological and physical environment. Often time the influence is detrimental to the environment causing soil degradation and erosion, deforestation and desertification, and pollution. Other effects are adverse climate change such as ozone layer depletion, global warming and acid rain. The importance of environment and the complex nature of its components as well as the benefits that could accrue to mankind based in its awareness has given birth to the discipline of environmental education. The tremendous signification of the message of environmental education for the survival of man has made the relatively new academic discipline to attract great attention. The involvement of public in the implementation of environmental education programmes and campaigns cannot be over-emphasized but this is not the case. Air, water and soil pollution is on the increase. To minimize these problems, environmental awareness is imperative. Lack of adequate environmental knowledge is an obstacle in achieving a sustainable future for humankind at both global and local levels. Measuring the level of environmental awareness in a population can be difficult but environmental awareness programme can help reduce the impacts of human activities on the environment. Use of press media, awareness raising campaigns, incorporation in mainstream education (basic, secondary and tertiary), public participation in environmental matters, celebrities in media campaigns and civic education are some of the ways by which environmental education can be heralded. Educating adult, community, traditional and religious leaders on the importance of environmental health and on the well use of the natural environment is also very critical to sustainable development. This paper is an attempt to review the meaning of environment education, its aims and objectives, and ways of promoting environmental awareness in the society. It also considered how environmental education can be implemented in many contexts. The paper concluded with recommendations of ways of sensitizing the public on the need to be environmental conscious.
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