Traditionally, the focus in environmental education is on theoretically derived ecology-unspecific abilities (e.g., critical thinking). Such general abilities are, however, behavior-distal and thereby often found to be empirically rather irrelevant to individual performance. By contrast, our competence model is grounded in the ecology-specific abilities "environmental knowledge" and "people's connectedness with nature", both of which have been identified to empirically augment individual conservation behavior. In this paper, we argue for an evidence-based competence model whose real-life attainment is to ecologically improve the entire consumption pattern of individuals. From our review of the literature, we conclude that competence formation in environmental education--next to advancements in knowledge and in people's enjoyable experiences in nature--should preferably also involve knowledge integration and, thus, structural development.