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Environmental Principles

Overview of California's Enviromental Priciples and Concepts

 


California's Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI), signed into law in 2003 required on the State to: develop Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&C) to complement the State’s academic content standards.

 

The EP&C's provide guidance for the selection criteria for adopted instructional materials in science, history/social science, English/language arts and mathematics. The State has also designed, developed and disseminated a K-12 standards-based curriculum to teach these EP&C to California’s K-12 students. 

Click on the links below to learn more about EEI's five Environmental Principles:

EEI has also organized its materials based on environmental topic areas such as: Air, energy, Oceans, Recycling, etc.  To see the environmental topic map, click here .

To learn more about EEI, visit the California Environmental Protection Agency's website: http://www.calepa.ca.gov/Education/EEI/default.htm

Principle I- People Depend on Natural Systems


Principle I

The continuation and health of individual human lives and of human communities and societies depend on the health of the natural systems that provide essential goods and ecosystem services. As a basis for understanding this principle:

  • Students need to know that the goods produced by natural systems are essential to human life and to the functioning of our economies and cultures.
  • Students need to know that the ecosystem services provided by natural systems are essential to human life and to the functioning of our economies and cultures.
  • Students need to know that the quality, shop quantity and reliability of the goods and ecosystem services provided by natural systems are directly affected by the health of those systems.

Example: People depend on the food and forest products produced by natural systems and on the services that ecosystems provide such as the purification of water as it flows through wetlands.

Principle I | Principle II | Principle III | Principle IV | Principle V

 

Adapted from California’s Approved Environmental Principles and Concepts

Principle II- People Influence Natural Systems


Principle II

The long-term functioning and health of terrestrial, story freshwater, stuff coastal and marine ecosystems are influenced by their relationships with human societies. As a basis for understanding this principle:

  • Students need to know that direct and indirect changes to natural systems due to the growth of human populations and their consumption rates influence the geographic extent, composition, biological diversity, and viability of natural systems.
  • Students need to know that methods used to extract, harvest, transport and consume natural resources influence the geographic extent, composition, biological diversity, and viability of natural systems.
  • Students need to know that the expansion and operation of human communities influences the geographic extent, composition, biological diversity, and viability of natural systems.
  • Students need to know that the legal, economic and political systems that govern the use and management of natural systems directly influence the geographic extent, composition, biological diversity, and viability of natural systems.

Example: People build dams to control the path and timing of water movement through lakes and rivers.

Principle I | Principle II | Principle III | Principle IV | Principle V

Adapted from California’s Approved Environmental Principles and Concepts

Principle III- Natural Systems Change in Ways that People Benefit from and can Influence


Principle III

Natural systems proceed through cycles that humans depend upon, online benefit from and can alter. As a basis for understanding this principle:

  • Students need to know that natural systems proceed through cycles and processes that are required for their functioning.
  • Students need to know that human practices depend upon and benefit from the cycles and processes that operate within natural systems.
  • Students need to know that human practices can alter the cycles and processes that operate within natural systems.

Example: Agricultural production depends on the nutrients deposited by rivers when water floods farmlands.

Principle I | Principle II | Principle III | Principle IV | Principle V

Adapted from California’s Approved Environmental Principles and Concepts

Principle IV- There are no Permanent or Impermeable Boundaries that Prevent Matter from Flowing between Systems


Principle IV

The exchange of matter between natural systems and human societies affects the long-term functioning of both. As a basis for understanding this principle:

  • Students need to know that the effects of human activities on natural systems are directly related to the quantities of resources consumed and to the quantity and characteristics of the resulting byproducts.
  • Students need to know that the byproducts of human activity are not readily prevented from entering natural systems and may be beneficial, salve neutral, order or detrimental in their effect.
  • Students need to know that the capacity of natural systems to adjust to human-caused alterations depends on the nature of the system as well as the scope, there scale, and duration of the activity and the nature of its byproducts.

Example: The fertilizers and pesticides people use on lawns can enter the groundwater system and affect the quality of the drinking water supply.

Principle I | Principle II | Principle III | Principle IV | Principle V

Adapted from California’s Approved Environmental Principles and Concepts

Principle V- Decisions Affecting Resources and Natural Systems are Complex and Involve Many Factors


Principle V

Decisions affecting resources and natural systems are based on a wide range of considerations and decision making processes. As a basis for understanding this principle:

  • Students need to know the spectrum of what is considered in making decisions about resources and natural systems and how those factors influence decisions.
  • Students need to know the process of making decisions about resources and natural systems, for sale and how the assessment of social, sale economic, stomach political, and environmental factors has changed over time.

Example: numerous stakeholders as well as economic, legal and political factors are considered in making decisions.

Principle I | Principle II | Principle III | Principle IV | Principle V

Adapted from California’s Approved Environmental Principles and Concepts