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AbstractIn this study we investigate how environmental education can be connected with the regional sustainable development We perceive that the dialogues surrounding Environmental Education in formal education have been dividing opinions over the last two decades. This does not happen only in relation to the conceptual precepts, but mainly in relation to the field of activity. Our theoretical support comes from authors engaged with the Critical Environmental Education, signaling for the construction of what we call Reference Framework. Our research is developed from a qualitative perspective, having as a strategy the exploratory case study. For the analysis of the documents we make reference to the methodology of content analysis proposed by Bardin (2011) and reflective application of the Reference Framework. We argue that so far in Brazil, environmental education is divided into two major theoretical trends that reflect the practices of environmental educators. On the one hand, supporting a behaviorist / liberal / conservative tendency of Environmental Education (CARVALHO, 2001; GUIMARÃES, 2000; LOUREIRO, 2008), understand environmental practices from its immediate resolution dimension, focusing actions that situate environmental practices through changes in social behaviors, mostly promoted by environmental activism. On the other hand, we have the opposite, that is, the popular / critical / emancipatory tendency which situates its argumentative and practical content situates in the significant assumption of a new societal posture in relation to the economic models adopted. It establishes the connection between environmental education and local / regional development, delineating a perception of reality, forming a dimension of creating other ways of relating human and non-human, including the emergence of a rationality that impresses ethical socio-environmental values, other forms of understanding of the world and the concept of environmental rationality.