Helios Bay Area

Solar Master Plan Report Button

A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy

California is rich in natural resources, cultural diversity, and human capital, and our state education system should demonstrate our commitment to sustaining and developing these assets. California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson created the statewide Environmental Literacy Task Force to address the disparity in access to environmental education opportunities available for California’s students. This Blueprint For Environmental Literacy (“Blueprint”) was made out of the belief that all California students should have access to quality environmental learning opportunities, which are a core component of their 21st century education. 

The Blueprint defines environmental literacy as follows:

“An environmentally literate person has the capacity to act individually and with others to support ecologically sound, economically prosperous, and equitable communities for present and future generations. Through lived experiences and education programs that include classroom-based lessons, experiential education, and outdoor learning, students will become environmentally literate, developing the knowledge, skills, and understanding of environmental principles to analyze environmental issues and make informed decisions.”

The Blueprint discusses how environmental literacy programs can fit within and complement the state’s learning goals for students, known collectively as the “California Standards.” The Blueprint recommends greater alignment between environmental literacy goals and California Standards, so that all teachers are given the opportunity to use the natural environment as context for teaching their core subjects. In addition, the Blueprint recognizes that a great deal of learning takes place outside of the classroom. It recommends that environmental education include formal and informal learning opportunities, as well as “expanded learning” opportunities.

Six guiding principles emerged as keystones for the Blueprint for Environmental Literacy for California:

  1. Equity of Access;
  2. Sustainability and Scalability of Systems;
  3. Collaborative Solutions;
  4. Commitment to Quality;
  5. Cultural Relevance and Competence; and
  6. Variety of Learning Experiences.

Solar PV systems at schools provide an ideal context for students of all grade levels to learn about and apply economic, engineering, technology, and environmental science concepts.

There are a growing number of resources available to guide teachers as they incorporate solar PV systems into their curriculum. See the Curriculum section for more teaching resources.