The ability to evaluate environmental issues critically as a guide to action is basic to the development of competent, responsible environmental behaviour. This means, at some level, that each child should know the fundamental processes of research. They will not always need to engage in a thorough investigation before acting on the environment, but they should learn to operate on the basis of a critical analysis and with an awareness that there are different values surrounding human use of the environment. Community projects conducted by children should be guided by research if children are to act in ways that fulfil the important and difficult task of balancing community priorities for the improvement of living conditions with the imperative of ecological sustainability. A test of the degree to which children in any environmental programme are involved in a critical evaluation of community issues is the extent to which their projects look the same. If they cover all the same kinds of problems, then the children could not possibly have been centrally involved in identifying environmental issues themselves.