Youth Participation in Local Environmental Action: An Avenue for Science and Civic Learning?

  • Tania M. Schusler
  • Marianne E. Krasny

This chapter considers environmental action as an avenue for developing young people’s capabilities for democratic participation as scientifically literate citizens. From the literature, we describe parallels between civic education conceptualised as civic engagement and science education approached as inquiry-based learning. We suggest six guiding principles for youth participation in local environmental action: youth as contributors, genuine participation, deliberate action, inquiry, critical reflection, and positive youth development. We illustrate these principles by applying them to local and national environmental programmes in the USA. The engagement of individual youth and the depth of their learning may vary widely even when programmes incorporate the guiding principles. We suggest future research directions around youth experiences, guiding principles, educator practices, participant characteristics, educational setting, impacts on adults and community, and culture. Such research will enhance understanding of environmental action and its contribution to science and civic learning.

Keywords environmental action, youth, participation, science education, civic engagement


Science Education Civic Engagement Environmental Action Positive Youth Development Community Garden 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tania M. Schusler
    • 1
  • Marianne E. Krasny
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Natural ResourcesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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