This project is intended to clarify and propose new conceptual foundations for environmental education. I am principally concerned with the ethical and educational foundations of environmental education. My aim is to analyze environmental education from the perspective of educational ethics, the field concerned with the ethics of educational practice and purpose. I argue that environmental education can, and should, make liberal educational goals, such as promoting autonomy, primary aims. Further, I argue that this shift would benefit our educational practice both in principle and practice. I characterize my theory "broad" because it is inclusive of many educational practices, such as education for critical thinking, democratic education, and aesthetic education. I also define it as environmental moral education, as I make the ethical aspect of environmental education central to this approach.
In chapter 1, I discuss the role of concepts and arguments in environmental education and propose some basic criteria for conceptual clarity. I argue that an emphasis on "methods," such as critical thinking, reflection, and case-sensitivity, could greatly increase the ability of students to understand and respond to complex, changing and unprecedented environmental problems.
In chapter 2, I discuss the place and purposes of implicit values, including aesthetics values, in environmental education. I argue that such values, if they contain ethical content, should be exposed to critical consideration by teachers and students, in order to avoid potential pitfalls such as uncritical acceptance of moral views. I argue that an emphasis on cultivating student agency and competence in ethical thinking (the "methods" emphasis) is a more effective and justifiable aim than teaching that specific implicit ideas, such as a connection to nature, are correct.
In chapter 3, I argue that, as long as minimal criteria of fair presentation of information are practiced, advocacy is generally unproblematic from an education ethics perspective.
In chapter 4, I analyze the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development for its coherence, consistency and usefulness. I argue that the DESD is often conceptually unclear, inconsistent and incoherent, and therefore should not be educated for. I propose a critical educational response to DESD, and note three potential concerns with my argument.