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La Educación
Número: (115) II
Año: 1993

Looking Towards the Future

The Tbilisi Conference established some guiding principles for Environmental Education which include the promotion of local, national, and international cooperation, the utilization of diverse learning environments and educational approaches, the development of critical thinking, and problem solving skills in an interdisciplinary approach.

In the context of these guiding principles, activities related to environmental education, have, since the Tbilisi Conference, gradually served to stimulate greater awareness among Caribbean people of the need to protect the environment. However, the Caribbean, as a region, still has a long way to go to make environmental education an integral part of the education and development process.

Important linkages between environment and development still go unrecognized, so that important target groups like policy makers, classroom teachers, development planners, and trade unionists remain by and large on the periphery of environmental education planning and implementation. Human and financial resources need to be significantly increased to support the process, and environmental education must be embraced in the context of the countries’ national environment management policies.

The Caribbean’s natural resource base is extremely fragile, and our economic development relies heavily on that resource base being understood and managed effectively. Education about the environment is, therefore, tantamount to education for development; and for this region, development is tantamount to survival. It is important, therefore, that this factor be recognized and taken into account at the highest political level.

If environmental education is to develop a new ethic among Caribbean people and assist in the solution of environmental problems, then the content must be anchored firmly in scientific research, the results of which must be integrated into the development plans of individual countries. Indeed, environmental education must be accepted as a prerequisite for sustainable development.