The Role of Universities in Promoting Environmental Literacy

Mansour Mohammadian There is general agreement between the academic community, politicians, Administrators and the public in general that the human race is fast approaching a point of no return in the degradation of its environment and the depletion of its biological resources, that is its ‘NaturalCapital.’ This consensus is clearly stated in Our Common Future and Agenda 21 resulting from two U.N. sponsored conferences in 1987 and 1992, respectively. This article deals with one of the major recommendations of these reports, namely the importance of university education in dealing with the ‘ Ecological Crisis’ in general and environmental protection and sustainable development in particular. Some university programmes currently taught are breifly reviewed and their shortcomings are stated. Also, some of the challenges in developing an appropriate curriculum for promoting environmental literacy are stated and possible solutions are discussed. It is concluded finally that a curriculim for enhancing environmental education should be holistic, interdisciplinary and problem-oriented and that for such a curriculum to be a success university administrative structure must be reorganised.



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