Since 1989 the Hong Kong government has taken an active interest in environmental education. The Guidelines on Environmental Education in Schools was issued in 1992 and both government departments and non‐governmental environmental organisations made efforts to promote the implementation of this curriculum change. However, there has developed a gap between the rhetoric of the ‘Guidelines’ and actual practice. Environmental emphasis has been primarily subject based and institutional commitment to environmental education in schools has been unsatisfactory. There are needs for policy reforms, teacher education curriculum and environmental education curriculum reforms and improved curriculum strategies such as resource provision and in‐service education. Copyright © 1997 Carfax Publishing Ltd.