Never before have the stakes been so high for the role of science education in shaping how people interact with the environment. Human activities such as the generation of greenhouse gases, the accumulation of waste, the fragmentation or destruction of ecosystems, and the depletion of resources are having a substantial impact on the global environment. as a result, threats to the environment are prominently discussed in the media, and citizens of every nation are increasingly faced with the need to understand complex environmental issues.
As environmental science generates ever more comprehensive and complex knowledge, the challenge for education is not just to produce more and better trained environmental scientists, but also to provide for informed and motivated citizens that will understand and interpret sophisticated scientific theory and evidence and act upon this knowledge.
OECD’s Pisa 2006 assessment of the science competencies of 15 year-olds offers the first comprehensive internationally comparative knowledge base on what students know about the environment and environment-related problems, from where their knowledge was gained, what attitudes they hold about the environment issues, and how students’ environmental science performance interrelates with their attitudes to the environment. this report presents findings from this analysis.