To learn more about our philosophy regarding conservation education and communication, see Martha Monroe’s great article, Two Avenues for Encouraging Conservation Behaviors. Martha defines two models for changing human impacts: cultivating environmental literacy (through education) and the use of social marketing & media (mostly outreach and communication). There’s also a comparison of the benefits and drawbacks of each.
I believe both models are important for guiding our efforts to change our impacts — they shouldn’t be confused as the same, or one viewed as better than the other. Those of us working in this field need to be clear on what we’re trying to do and how, as well as evaluate our efforts and outcomes. It’s the only way we can improve and make significant changes to protect and preserve the natural world that supports us.