Value education is expected to bring about a new sustainable way life. Education, both through formal and non-formal processes, must address understanding environmental, natural and cultural values, social justice, human heritage, equitable use of resources, managing common property resources and the causes of ecological degradation. Values deal with ones own principles and standards from which we judge what is right and wrong behavior. Values are a set of principles or standards of behaviour that are regarded desirable, important & held in high esteem by society.
- Environmental values: Every human being has a great variety of feelings for different aspects of his or her surroundings. True environmental values go beyond valuing a river for its water, a forest for its timber and NTFPs, or the sea for its fish. Environmental values are inherent in feelings that bring about sensitivity for preserving nature as a whole. This is a more spiritual, Eastern, traditional value. There are several writings and sayings in Indian thought that support the concept of the oneness of all creation, of respecting and valuing all the different components of nature. Value system has been altered with time and circumstances. With enormous numbers of people throwing away large quantities of non-degradable waste, it is damaging to the environment and value system must prevent all this through a strong environmental value education system. Pro-environmental actions must begin to move from the domain of individuals to that of a community. Environmental values must stress on the importance of preserving ancient structures. The characteristic architecture, sculpture, artworks and crafts of ancient cultures are invaluable environmental assets.
- Valuing nature: We must learn to value and respect diverse human cultures. We have a great responsibility to protect life in all its glorious forms and must therefore respect the wilderness with all its living creatures. On one hand, we need to protect natural ecosystems; while on the other hand, we must protect the rights of local people. We must also attempt to restore degraded areas to their former natural ecological state.
- Valuing cultures: Every culture has a right to exist. Tribal people are frequently linked closely with nature and we have no right to disturb and disrupt their life. We need to appreciate that many ancient and tribal cultures have a wisdom and knowledge of their own environments that is based on a deep sense of respect for nature. Tribal have produced unique art forms, such as painting, sculpture and crafts, which are beautiful and can enrich living experiences for everyone. The world will be culturally impoverished if we lose this traditional knowledge.
- Human heritage: The earth itself is a heritage left to us by our ancestors. Heritage preservation is now a growing environmental concern, because we have undervalued much of this heritage during the last several decades and is vanishing at an astonishing pace. Though we admire and value the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Taj Mahal and environmentally-friendly colonial buildings, we have done little to actively preserve them. As environmentally-conscious individuals, we need to lobby for the protection of the wilderness and our glorious architectural heritage.
- Equitable use of resources: The equitable use of resources is seen as an essential aspect of human well-being and must become a shared point of view among all socially and environmentally-conscious individuals. In spite of the great number of people in the more populous developing countries, the smaller number of people in the developed countries uses more resources and energy than those in the developing world. Similarly, the small number of rich people in poor countries whose per capita use of energy and resources, and the generation of waste based on the one-time use of disposable products leads to great pressures on the environment. We need to discourage this kind of consumption and need more sustainable lifestyles.
- Common property resources: There are several commonly-owned resources that all of us use as a community. The water that nature recycles, the air that we all breathe, the forests and grasslands which maintain our climate and soil, are all common property resources. Managing local forests through village-level FPCs has shown that if people know that they can benefit from the forests, they will begin to protect them. This essentially means sharing the power to control forests between the Forest Department and the local people.
- Ecological degradation: In many situations, valuable ecological assets are turned into serious environmental problems. The changes in landuse from natural ecosystems to more intensive utilization or marginal lands into intensive agricultural patterns or changes into urban or industrial land carry an ecological price. Wetlands provide usable resources and a variety of services, when destroyed to provide additional farmland, produce lower returns. A natural forest provides valuable NTFPs, whose economic returns are high that provided by felling the forest for timber. These values must form a part of a new conservation ethic.
- Social justice: We need to respect and value the diverse aspects of the societies. If poor are not respected as they are lacking the best things in life, they will rebel, anarchy and terrorism will spread. The developing world will face a crisis than the developed countries, unless we protect the rights of poor people.