One of the important concerns of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, was environmental education and this is reflected in the UNCED programme of action, commonly known as Agenda 21, which includes a chapter on Education, Public Awareness and Training. This book is one of the contributions of FAO to the general theme of environment education for sustainable development and reflects the efforts of FAO in strategically integrating environment and sustainable development themes into the agricultural extension, education and training programmes.
Environmental Education has a long history. UNESCO and UNEP have had a joint Environment Education Programme since the 1970s. However, in the specific field of agricultural and rural development, environment education as it is known today is a more recent development. In following up on Agenda 21, FAO recognized that millions of farm people are at the forefront in the struggle for environmentally sound natural resources management for sustainable productivity, survival and development. Given the newness and complexity of the environment education message, the question arises as to who can teach these farm people realistically and cost-effectively. Governments and societies cannot afford to have special environment education for farm people, however FAO studies have shown that there are more than 600,000 agricultural extension workers constantly working with farm people, who could undertake this task if properly trained.
This book describes FAO's pioneer experiences in studying the most effective way of integrating environment education into agricultural extension and training programmes and in stimulating environment education in agriculture. Edited by Tim Wentling, Ronny Adhikarya and Chye-Hean Teoh, the book was written by 18 authors based on their actual work experience in participatory environment education in their respective country projects.
In the four sections of the book, readers will be progressively taken through the latest thinking on mainstreaming environment education into agricultural education, to experiences and lessons learnt in the application of concepts and methods.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to Dr. Tito E. Contado, former Chief of the Extension, Education and Communication Service of FAO, under whose leadership and insightful guidance this publication was coordinated.
Dietrich E. Leihner
Research, Extension and Training Division