Environmental Education Ontario (EEON) came into being in 2000, catalyzed by the removal of the Environmental Science course from the Ontario curriculum and the loss of some funding and infrastructure for Outdoor Education.
Given the traditionally voluntary nature of much environmental and ecological education, EEON set as its task the facilitation, development and implementation of a Strategic Plan for Environmental and Sustainability Education (E&SE) for Ontario. Environmental and Sustainability Education requires a shift in traditional learning to include a systematic examination of what is ecologically sustainable. It then explores a range of options to achieve positive change that considers social, environmental and economic needs.
EEON members recognized the power of broad-based collaborative planning in setting out a vision for improving the quality, scope and status of environmental learning across public sectors.
EEON developed as a coalition of environmental and ecological educators, concerned citizens, parents, and representatives from non-governmental organizations and government agencies. It evolved into a charitable corporation and received grants from The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Environmental Canada and the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation to develop and publish its Strategic Plan.
In 2002 and 2003, at weekend workshops or through the completion of online workbooks, over 500 Ontarians from across the province and across all public sectors, contributed their ideas to create an ecologically literate province. The result, Greening the Way Ontario Learns, is truly a first for Canada. EEON’s “public strategic plan” - so called because of its unique planning process by and for Ontarians - offers outcomes, needs and strategies for improved environmental and ecological literacy across 17 core societal sectors which, in the plan, are called Audiences.
In December of 2003, EEON proudly launched and presented Greening the Way Ontario Learns to the Government of Ontario and to the public at a press conference at the Queen's Park Media Gallery.
Since then, EEON members have worked tirelessly to disseminate the plan. They have met with and made presentations to decision-makers, government officials, educators, students, universities, community groups and individual Ontarians to share a vision of education as a path to a sustainable future.
In 2005 EEON collaborated with environmental education groups, school boards and concerned citizens to support an application to add the Ministry of Education to the thirteen other ministries under the purview of the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights. Such a move could bring more transparency and accountability in environmental policymaking as it relates to education curricula. So far, the government has not required the Ministry of Education to post environmentally significant polices for public review.
In 2007 EEON supported and provided input to the Working Group on Environmental Education (Bondar Committee). Their Report Shaping Schools, Shaping Our Futureand the Ministry of Education Policy Document Acting Today, Shaping Tomorrow that resulted from the government’s acceptance of that Report in 2009 have made ESE an integral element across the entire curriculum and have returned Environmental Science as a course in the secondary curriculum.
EEON is a member of the Education Alliance for a Sustainable Ontario EASO, an alliance of Ontario organizations supporting the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development UNDESD in concert with similar alliances in other provinces.
EEON maintains an active listserv, the eeonlist, which has become a hub for environmental news, views, resources, ideas, events, conferences, courses and discussion related to education for a sustainable future. For more information, please click on Join EEON Listserv.
EEON’s current priority is to promote the adoption of strategies to advance ESE by individuals and organizations within all 17 audiences in EEON’s Strategic Plan. EEON wishes to post the activities and programs of these individuals and organizations and enable their communication and networking. Click on Sharing Action.
An Ontario where all members of the population are environmentally literate, and their their behaviour reflects a commitment to a healthy, sustainable environment for future generations.
To promote environmental literacy and to elicit a commitment from all sectors to act toward a healthy, sustainable environment. EEON will support, facilitate and document Ontarians' progress towards this goal.