There has been a major effort in Australian academic circles over the past fifteen years to develop a critical discourse in environmental education curriculum, pedagogy, history, and research (Henry et al 1981, Di Chiro 1987, Gough 1987, 1994, Robottom 1987, Greenall 1987, Fien 1993 a,b, Greenall Gough 1993, Robottom & Hart 1993). This discourse is critical of ‘mainstream’ approaches to environmental education that are alleged to be positivist, behaviourist, masculinist, and instrumentalist. Internationally, environmental educators have also considered various shortcomings of environmental education. There is general concern about unrealised aspirations, unrealistic expectations, definitional problems, values issues, conceptual obfuscation and questionable research endeavours (Brennan 1979, Disinger 1979, 1985, Williams 1979, Baer 1980, 1981, 1985, Knapp 1983, Roth 1988, Iozzi 1989 a,b, Gigliotti 1990, Marcinkowski 1990, Wals, Beringer & Stapp 1990, Ham & Sewing 1992, Leming 1992, Pinar & Bowers 1992, Ramsey, Hungerford & Volk 1992). Consequently, it can be asserted there are practical deficiencies of a moral, social, political, and ecological nature. If so, one conclusion about the development of the field of environmental education is that it is problematic and often contradictory.