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Global Environmental Education Partnership: A pledge for the future Melissa Hopkins Taggart.

As a champion for environmental education, the Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) is working to share effective environmental education (EE) practice and build the leadership required to address 21st century environmental issues.

The GEEP was launched by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration, and the North American Association for Environmental Education in 2014. The mission of the GEEP is to create a vibrant and inclusive learning network designed to build capacity in countries around the world to strengthen environmental education, leading to a more sustainable future.

During the past two years, the GEEP has worked to build a network around shared priorities for the future of environmental education, specifically through a global Call to Action. To shape this Call to Action, GEEP relied on expertise from environmental education leaders from around the world, including past NAEE UK President Bill Scott, who is also a member of the GEEP Advisory Group (1). Below is a summary of the process the GEEP used and some key outcomes.

Background

In October 2017, and in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Tbilisi Declaration, the Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) launched a Call to Action to gather feedback on priorities for the field of environmental education (EE) over the next decade and beyond. To spark discussion, the GEEP identified ten potential actions (2) that environmental educators, collectively, could take to advance our shared goals.

These actions were developed by a working group of environmental education leaders from around the world, and mindful of the incredible body of work that has come before, starting with the Tbilisi Declaration of 1977, the Millennium Development Goals, the Decade for Education for Sustainability, the international adoption of a set of ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and others.

Between October 2017 and April 2018, this draft Call to Action was circulated for feedback online. The global EE community was asked to prioritize these actions, reflect on how these high priority actions could be carried out in practice, and suggest any additional ideas for the future. At the close of the survey, nearly 400 participants from 46 countries responded to the online questionnaire.

What are our next steps as a global community?

Participants demonstrated support for all 10 suggested actions, and offered a rich diversity of perspectives on what steps we, as a collective community, might take to achieve them.

The GEEP also heard from a number of colleagues about an interest in marking this milestone with a pledge to build on the great work that's been done and to think ahead to the future. To that end, the GEEP created the Tbilisi +41 Pledge (3), which includes a commitment to work towards achieving three high-level goals:

1. Every nation has an environmentally informed, empowered, and active populace and workforce.

2. The leadership of every government, business, NGO, and educational institution uses environmental education to achieve environmentally sustainable outcomes.

3. Every educational institution--formal and nonformal --incorporates environmental literacy into its mission, goals and activities.

For more inspiration, watch environmental education professionals from around the world read the pledge (4). The 10 actions are steps that the GEEP believes can help us move towards achieving these larger goals. As you read through the actions and participant comments, consider how you and/or your organization can take part. We know that many of the actions complement and reinforce each other, and some will be more relevant than others. In the future, the GEEP will build on the pledge and these actions by offering resources to share what others are doing and how to improve our practice to strengthen our collective impact.

To date, hundreds of environmental education professionals, and just over 70 organizations from 53 countries, have signed this pledge. Will you join us?

References

(1.) thegeep.org/en/advisory-group

(2.) actnowforee.org/actions

(3.) actnowforee.org/pledge

(4.) youtube.com/watch?v=SdkE2L8ylAw&t=85s

Melissa Hopkins Taggart is responsible for managing NAAEE's (North American Association for Environmental Education) international programming--most notably through the GEEP. Melissa has more than 20 years of experience in conservation, education, evaluation, and fundraising.
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Title Annotation:GEEP UPDATE
Author:Taggart, Melissa Hopkins
Publication:Environmental Education
Geographic Code:9TAIW
Date:Jun 22, 2019
Words:670
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