California’s Blueprint for Environmental Literacy

California’s future prosperity, health, and safety depends on its citizens making wise environmental choices. As the state battles unprecedented wildfires, fueled by a historic drought, it is more imperative than ever before that all Californians have the knowledge and know how to confront the environmental challenges of the 21st century.

Yet according to a survey of California schools, only 13 percent have integrated learning about the environment into their curricula.

On September 15, 2015, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy. The blueprint recommends strategies to improve instruction for students on the environment.

CalRecycle’s Office of Education and the Environment (OEE), the state department that oversees the distribution of the EEI curriculum, is proud to have played an active role in the blueprint’s development. Bryan Ehlers, OEE Director, was a member of the 47 member environmental literacy taskforce that was convened by Torlakson last year to evaluate the state of environmental education in California and make recommendations for improvements.

The blueprint lays out six guiding principles and six key strategies that support the goal of increasing environmental literacy for all California schools. Among these principles and strategies is the recommendation to integrate environmental education into subjects educators are already required to cover. This concept will sound familiar to educators using the EEI curriculum. Since 2010, the EEI has helped California educators integrate environmental principles and concepts into their history-social science and science lessons. Upon full implementation, the blueprint will ensure all California students receive high quality instruction, including environment-based resources like the EEI.

A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy is available to download (PDF) from the California Department of Education website.

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