Environmental Education in China: Development, Difficulties and Recommendations

Youyi Tian, Chenyu Wang


With China’s economic take off since the 1990s, environmental degradation, such as climate change, energy crises, and conflicts from environmental devastation become more and more serious. As such, environmental education (EE), which has been implemented since 1973, shoulders a pivotal role in maintaining the balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability. This paper reviews EE’s development in China and, examines the characteristics and conceptual difficulties of EE, including the unscientific understanding on EE, low-level of motivation to incorporate EE in teachings, the lack of environmental awareness, and contradiction between economic growth and environmental protection and sustainable development. Recommendations to EE include: (1) the fundamental framework of EE should gear toward providing adequate awareness, knowledge, attitude, skills, evaluation ability, and participation for EE and education for sustainable development (ESD) in China; (2) policies of EE need to be enacted and implemented, so as to reflect the diverse needs based on developing economic growth and cultural situations across the country; (3) it is imperative to accelerate the legislation process of environmental education law; and (4) government, regions, and environmental non-government organizations (NGOs) should foster and strengthen its bilateral or multilateral international exchanges and cooperation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jsss.v3i1.7144


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