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Article

Miguel Ángel Arias Ortega

The way environmental education has been presented as a viable response to the emergence of national, regional, and global environmental problems since the 1970s is reviewed; as well as some environmental education presuppositions, approaches, and aims with which a field of knowledge and educational practices have been constituted and provided to the individual, to help re-evaluate and redefine the established forms of relationship and exchange with society and nature. Also, the concepts of education and environmental education are examined as they are considered the starting point for undertaking teacher education processes and the potential to generate a new environmental culture in society. At the same time, certain inconsistencies in this process are observed, along with the analysis of some distinctive features (knowledge, attitudes, abilities, and skills) a teacher who is trained in the field of environmental education must possess. General reflections on environmental education teacher training and its processes which are meant to increase debate and discussion on the subject are included, together with the description of some educational experiences developed in different areas and levels that aim to innovate in the reflection and practice of environmental education. Finally, some clues are given to help the design and development of training proposals for environmental education teachers with a greater social, scientific, critical, and humanistic projection.

Article

Bruce Johnson and Constantinos Manoli

Earth education is an alternative approach to environmental learning, which has been developed as a potential serious response to the environmental crises we face. With roots in frustrations with traditional nature education that led to the innovative Acclimatization program, earth education has grown into a more comprehensive approach to environmental learning. The early work of Acclimatization led to earth education. The programmatic approach used in earth education, with its components of ecological understandings, feelings, and processing, have led to innovative aspects such as the I-A-A (Inform-Assimilate-Apply) learning model and the inclusion of “magic.” The Institute for Earth Education is the non-profit organization leading this approach and its work under the leadership of Steve Van Matre helps to propel these ideas.

Article

Jorge Moreira, Fátima Alves, and Ana Mendonça

Contemporary sciences and societies are facing several problems when analyzing the relationship between the natural and social dimensions of the world as reflected in the field of education. A serious effort must be urgently made to identify and tackle environmental problems in order to understand the world in which we live, in ways that are beneficial to present and future life on Earth. In this context, it is fundamental to create a new social order in a way that thinking “out of the box” can emerge with other orders closer to the diversity of life that coexist on the planet. Consequently, the awareness of the complexity and multidimensionality of our world requires the building of new forms of reflexivity and the development of critical thinking, reversing the still predominant characteristics of modern societies such as compartmentalization of knowledge, unhealthy competition, profit-seeking motivations, the exploitation of nature, and excessive individualist and anthropocentric approaches. In this regard, educational institutions play a relevant role in shaping future human actions to be more ethically harmonic (both environmentally and socially) as they are sites of knowledge production and sharing. Hence, it is crucial to rethink the entire educational paradigm and learning system (objectives, curricula, pedagogical strategies, instruments, competencies, school management framework, and even school buildings), because schools often function as “islands,” isolating students from nature, the community, and the “real world,” not preparing them to be well-informed and conscious citizens nor for the challenges that lie ahead. Some theoretical and practical alternatives are needed since schools actually embody the paradoxes and dilemmas of the current societal malaise but have not yet been able to deal with them or to provide adequate effective responses.

Article

Edgar J. González-Gaudiano and Ana Lucía Maldonado-González

Without having yet overcome the problems that gave rise to climate change, the field of environmental education faces new challenges because of the onslaughts of this phenomenon. Growing contingents of people in many parts of the world are periodically affected by extreme hydro-meteorological phenomena, such as severe droughts in Africa and increasingly intense cyclones that affect tropical coastal areas. These environmental threats can be aggravated by decades of investment in development programs at the global and local levels that end up affecting vulnerable populations the most. Its consequences have generated synergic processes of humanitarian emergencies of unprecedented magnitude, in the form of increasing waves of temporary or permanently displaced populations, because of disasters, water and food shortages, as well as armed conflicts and social violence that demand more resources to alleviate long-standing poverty and environmental degradation. This complex situation entails colossal challenges but also new opportunities to face processes of environmental education, which require a different strategic approach to trigger processes of social resilience when communities face adversities. This, in a stable, organized way and to allow societies to learn from them, encourages changes that the societies consider necessary to reduce their risks and vulnerabilities. Social resilience is not a state to be achieved, but a community process in continuous movement, in which various actors and social agents participate. Some of the community actions to be carried out during a social resilience capacity building process must be oriented toward mitigating physical and social vulnerability, adapting to the new conditions generated by climate change, and managing risks, among other actions that invite collective learning of lived experiences. For instance, a case study carried out with high school students in the municipalities of La Antigua, Cotaxtla, and Tlacotalpan in the state of Veracruz (Mexico) allowed researchers to better understand the social resilience construction processes. Initially, an attempt was made to analyze the social representation of climate change in communities vulnerable to floods resulting from extreme tropical storms. Subsequently, the way in which the students perceived their risks and their vulnerability was investigated, as well as the guidelines that govern the community behavior in the face of climate events with extreme values (magnitude, intensity, duration), which tended to exceed the capacities of communities to face them appropriately. Youngsters were chosen because they are a highly influential population in the promotion of social resilience, as they are often voluntarily and spontaneously involved in situations of community emergency. This has allowed an understanding of possible routes to undertake environmental education processes, aimed at strengthening capacities so that affected people can adapt to the changes and have strategies to reduce disaster risks in the face of specific critical events. Although the studies examined here are based on experiences in communities in the Mexican coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico, the authors of this article are convinced that their findings can be useful in developing equivalent programs in communities that are similarly vulnerable.

Article

Geography is a school subject in some countries, for example, the United Kingdom, and an academic discipline that has strong relevance with environmental education, both as a field of study and a cross-curricular theme in the school curriculum. This article reviews the geographical and environmental education with reference to the key literature dated back to the 1990s. Since then, geography can be offered either as a secondary school subject or a field of study or as being part of a social studies curriculum. Different countries pay varying attention to geographical and environmental education because of its historical and sociocultural contexts. The United States, for example, has published national geography standards, whereas England and Australia have incorporated geographical inquiry into educational guidelines. At an international level, the International Geographical Union Commission on Geographical Education has exerted profound influence on the development of geographical education worldwide. For environmental education, its emphasis has gradually shifted to education for sustainable development under the backdrop of echoing UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals. It is noteworthy that geographical and environmental education has advanced its research and advocacy through different educational research paradigms, approaches, and environmental ideologies. Some emerging topics are discerned. One of them, linking with the concept of people–environment interactions in geographical and environmental education, is the topic of place. Another topic is environmental learning and significance of life experiences for learners. In addition, how geographical and environmental education links up with and contributes to citizenship education and global understanding under a globalized and transnational world becomes an increasingly important agenda. Moreover, the impact of technology, for example, the employment of the Geographical Information System as well as information and communication technology, has provided new insights to and extended the horizons of geographical and environmental education. Future educational development in such direction needs cross-disciplinary contribution and cross-sector collaboration.

Article

Kai Horsthemke

The subject of other-than-human animals, their conscious, conative and cognitive life and also their moral status and their treatment at our (human) hands, is a surprisingly novel topic within philosophy of education, apart from the odd reference to humane education. By contrast, environmental education has received wide coverage, not only by philosophers but also by social scientists, natural scientists and politicians. The present article attempts to fill this gap, at least in part. The psychophysical continuity between humans and other animals has profound moral and pedagogical implications and suggests the desirability of animal-centered (as opposed to human-centered) education. Does antiracist and antisexist education logically entail antispeciesist education? Similarly, is there a logical link between human rights education and animal rights education? Various approaches have been suggested toward including the moral status and ethical treatment of animals as an urgent concern within pedagogy, and teaching and learning generally: • Environmental and sustainability education, ecophilia, and biophilia. • Humane education and theriophilia. • Philosophical posthumanism, critical pedagogy, and ecopedagogy. • Critical animal studies and animal standpoint theory. • Vegan education. Each of these has undeniable strengths and considerable weaknesses. A viable alternative to these approaches is animal rights education. The possibility of animal rights education is clearly contingent on the possibility of animals having (moral) rights – or in principle being ascribable such rights. The promise of animal rights education, in turn, depends on the possibility of animal rights education. If animals were not among the sorts of beings who could meaningfully be said to possess rights, and if animal rights education were logically impossible (other than in a considerably more diluted or trivial sense), then it would make little sense to speak of the ‘promise’ of animal rights education. On the other hand, if animal rights education is philosophically and pedagogically meaningful, then this arguably also involves considerations of desirability, benefits and interests. The account animal rights education presented here involves education in matters of both social justice and “moral feeling,” cultivation of (appropriate) moral sentiments. Given most children’s natural interest in and feeling for animals, this should be easier than is commonly assumed. However, it does require effort, commitment, and consistency on the part of caregivers and educators, parents and teachers alike.

Article

In its most popular sense, cosmopolitanism is taken to be a way of life and a kind of selfhood. The cosmopolitan self learns from other cultures, embraces diversity, and considers her selfhood or lifestyle defined more by routes than by roots. Thus understood cosmopolitanism becomes a descriptive concept, that is, it says something about how the person lives and acts and about what the person is like. When this cosmopolitan existence is elevated to a political ideal or virtue, it strikes a normative note. For example, to say that a society or an individual is cosmopolitan is to attribute something good to such a society or individual, that is, to see in them a commendable feature or to summon them to acquire it. Philosophy has, from antiquity to the present, formulated, debated, contested, revisited, and negotiated the descriptive and normative aspects of cosmopolitan existence and citizenship. It has thus provided rich and diverse descriptions and prescriptions of cosmopolitanism. Political philosophy, in particular, investigates the relationship of cosmopolitanism with kindred or alternative descriptions and prescriptions of how we exist or should exist in the world. In line with philosophy, the philosophy of education also considers what counts as cosmopolitan. Often transferring philosophical insights directly to educational frameworks, educational philosophy discusses whether cosmopolitanism (and which version of it) may be a desirable pedagogical aim. Questions such as “who embodies the cosmopolitan,” “what matters as cosmopolitan practice,” or “how to cultivate the cosmopolitan subject and the corresponding citizenship” are indicative of educational-philosophical concerns. At a deeper level, educational philosophy addresses challenges to identity, contestations of Western values, and contemporary, global changes that affect educational appreciations of cosmopolitanism. And it examines how critical approaches to cosmopolitanism and to related notions may shed new light on educational cosmopolitan sensibilities and reveal ambiguities in cosmopolitan political and pedagogical operations.

Article

Olga María Bermúdez and Marcela Lombana

Water is indispensable to life because all the functions of living beings rely on its presence: breathing, nutrition, circulation, and reproduction. Water forms part of all living bodies, both animal and vegetable. It is a natural resource necessary for human life. This natural resource has been threatened by climate change and its scarcity has been reported in many locations worldwide. According to the FAO, in 2014 almost 50 countries were faced with water shortages: Africa is the continent with the highest percentage of water stress (41%), while Asia has the highest percentage of countries with total water shortage (25%). Confronted with this critical problem, it is necessary that people of all ages, races, and cultures become aware of the value that water represents and take action in both the individual and collective spheres. To ensure that the next generation understands water’s properties and functions, and learns to value and take care of it, this action should start in schools, which play a fundamental role in the education of children and young people.

Article

Ana Patricia Noguera de Echeverri, Diana Alexandra Bernal Arias, and Sergio Manuel Echeverri Noguera

A bet, a clamor, an algid need, to “thinking us” (as a collaborative, and reflexive thinking in a prospective way) about environmental education, or better, the environmentalization of education, in a decolonization that helps us think: How do we inhabit “this South that we are” in times of environmental crisis? Thinking us, in this environmental crisis, that is civilizatory. Thinking about it, and thinking us from an “environmental turn” (a change in the way we look at everything, far from seeing life as a resource, and far from devastating capitalism): from the environmental as an object to the environmental as deep and complex symbolic–biotic relationships between ecosystems and cultures. It is an environmental turn that recognizes the felthinking() Body-Earth (Noguera, 2012) that we are in an aesthetic, sensitive transit, in which the polyphonic voices of these lands emerge in the South Environmental Thought. Our paths are many, however. One of them that we wish to name Methodesthesis as the path of feeling, where the sensitive, the sensibility, the sense, the senses, and the sentient allow an understanding of the language of the Earth and the permanent aesthetic creations of the Earth-Nature-Life that we are, in a radical dissolution of the cognitive subject and the measurable object. It is an ontic, epistemic-ethical-aesthetic-political proposal, but above all it is an urgency, an enjoyment, a poetic flourishing of life itself, of the Earth and of us as life and land, in a decolonized southern environmental education and decolonizing that allows transitions for a more poetic dwelling in this South than we are.

Article

In Brazil and around the world, the ideas of Paulo Freire have impacted the field of environmental education, at least since the 1970s. It is possible to observe and associate the influence of Paulo Freire, when environmental education emphasizes the political dimension of any and all pedagogic activity, as he so emphatically stated. Another central aspect of Freirean influence relates in particular to the objective that environmental education should make “participation” possible, as advocated by the first documents produced and disseminated by UNESCO. Although the topic of environmentalism, in its best-known sense and definition of the protection of nature and natural resources, was not initially at the core of his pedagogical thinking, a strong concern with the theme can be seen traversing his work in the 1990s. In this sense, the international academic institutionalization of environmental education and the support that this pedagogic and political movement received after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, was crucial for consolidation by means of public policies and projects elaborated by NGOs as well as by the theoretical production and curricular changes that took place in universities around the world, with different thematic priorities, theoretical and methodological focuses, and impact on the population and on the natural and social environment. Since 2009, especially in Brazil and other Latin American countries, dissertations and theses have leaned toward this production, identifying and analyzing the increase of Freirean pedagogy in connection with environmental education, defined as “the political education of citizens.” Political actions in everyday pedagogical practices for social and environmental justice, alongside various other rights (e.g., cultural), are urgent issues to address. The connections between environmental education and Freirean pedagogy have contemporized both, as they clarify the central arguments of Paulo Freire’s political and pedagogic thought, which reaffirmed throughout his extensive production that access to education is a universal right, and that it is by means of education (including the environmental dimension) that political processes for the construction of just, democratic, and sustainable societies are solidified.

Article

A new approach to education has been proposed, called Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), with the goal of developing education in order to foster individuals who will contribute to the realization of a socially, economically, and environmentally more sustainable society. From the beginning of the 21st century, this has given rise to discussions and practices on related themes all over the world, including in Asia. While the environment surrounding education is markedly changing in Asian societies, with educational reforms actively pursued in many Asian countries and regions, their situations greatly differ depending on the context in which they find themselves. Today, departing from the conventional modes of teaching and learning that focus on the acquisition of an already systematized body of knowledge and skills, the field of education the world over is now shifting its focus to what is called key competencies, adopting and experimenting with new teaching and learning styles to develop abilities referred to as 21st-century skills. Based on these theoretical and conceptual discussions, a number of initiatives have been adopted as policies, school curricula, and educational practices in order to promote ESD in Asian countries. It is possible to divide Asian countries into three groups based on the place of ESD in their countries, as well as their degree of socioeconomic development and the popularization of school education: (a) countries that have accumulated experience in the practice of environmental education or development education; (b) countries that have been witnessing growing environmental consciousness and its rapid institutionalization in recent years, with varying degrees of implementation of environmental education; and (c) countries in which the elimination of poverty and inequality remains the most pressing issue and ESD is promoted in connection with development issues. Although the introduction of ESD is greatly affected by each country’s socioeconomic situation, it is important for all countries in Asia to promote equitable and sustainable education in order to realize a sustainable society. Thus, Asian countries need to form a social consensus to promote ESD, which requires the participation and responsibility of the whole of society.

Article

Jennifer Hatten-Flisher and Rebecca A. Martusewicz

Ecofeminism is a theoretical, political, and educational movement that draws specific parallels between the domination of women and other marginalized groups, and the degradation of nature. While much of ecofeminist thought is focused on examining the interconnectivity between social and environmental injustices, ecofeminism is as vast and varied as its feminist and ecological roots. Yet, ecofeminism is not without its critics. After being widely accused of essentializing women’s relationship with nature, the term fell out of favor with a lot of scholars in the 1990s. Those who have remained loyal to the term have argued that this was an unfair mischaracterization of the larger foundational ideas within ecofeminist work. Given the global environmental and social crises currently sweeping the planet, ecofeminism offers important, albeit diverse, theoretical, practical, and pedagogical perspectives for developing effective responses to such interrelated crises. As such, scholars across a variety of disciplines are revisiting (and reclaiming) ecofeminist thought. In the field of education, ecofeminism is influencing the ways that we approach questions of justice by offering an intersectional framework that insists on recognizing the interconnected roots of racism, sexism, poverty, ablism, and other social problems with ecological degradation. An ethics of care is woven throughout to form the basis of a pedagogy of responsibility whereby students learn to both critique these cultural foundations of violence and identify practices and relationships that help to create healthy sustainable communities.

Article

Dilafruz Williams

Garden-based education is a philosophical orientation to teaching and learning that uses gardens as the milieu for student engagement through meaningful and relevant curricular and instructional integration in schools. In addition to their direct academic appeal in raising test scores and grades, particularly in science, language arts, and math, gardens on educational campuses, spanning pre-school through high school, are also utilized by educators for a variety of other outcomes. These include motivational engagement; social, moral, and emotional development; strengthening of institutional and community bonds; vocational skills development; food literacy; healthy eating habits; and holistic growth of children and youth. Moreover, garden-based education shows promise as a tangible and pragmatic solution to address problems of disaffection and disengagement among youth that has resulted in a school dropout crisis in many places. While specific to higher education, farm-based education and agriculture-based education that focus on growing food have parallel agendas. The vast array of outcomes linked with garden-based education may seem impressive. However, systematic research studies of garden-based education across sites to measure educational impact are missing, largely due to their marginalized status and the decentralized and localized nature of program implementation and professional training. While the idea of including gardens on educational campuses to grow food or to serve as a means of outdoor and nature education is not new, since the 1990s, there has been a surge of interest in using garden-based education across countries and continents. With its accessibility on school grounds, garden-based education intersects with parallel movements such as outdoor education, place-based education, experiential education, nature-based education, environmental education, and sustainability education. Manifested in a variety of grassroots practices that include slow food, community supported agriculture, edible schoolyards, global roots, indigenous cultural gardens, learning gardens, lifelab, living classrooms, multicultural school gardens, urban harvest, and more, gardens will likely continue to be of significance in education as there are growing uncertainties globally about food security and health matters related to climate change. Despite high stakes, standardized tests, and accountability measures that pose challenges to educators and proponents of school gardens in public schools, research shows their promise as laboratories for innovation and academic learning. Garden-based education would benefit if informed by longitudinal and large-scale research studies that demonstrate instructional and curricular rigor and integration and impact on learning outcomes. Drawing on critical and posthumanist theories that question the nature of schooling, and explicitly addressing issues of race, class, and perspectives of marginalized and indigenous scholars and practitioners would bring further credence. Practice-embedded research and co-production of knowledge that accepts complexity and conjunctive thinking, while also addressing culturally responsive pedagogy across socio-economic status, would enhance the viability of this growing movement.

Article

Remarkable natural and cultural resources are factors that contribute to the economic development of an area. These resources attract tourists and contribute to the amount of traffic in an area. The more remarkable natural resources an area has, the more it becomes a tourist attraction. Archaeological sites and museums as well as their natural surroundings, are considered as such remarkable resources, among others. However, these sites are often degraded not only by the high amount of traffic but also by the lack of measures meant for their protection. The preservation and protection of natural and cultural resources requires, inter alia, specialized personnel to guard them. For the aim of preservation of archaeological sites and museums, staff are trained on environmental and cultural issues. This training is part of European programs and is completed through Lifelong Learning Centers. One of these Lifelong Learning Centers, the Public Institution for Vocational Training of the Plato Academy, was chosen to carry out the research. Student education included study visits to archaeological sites that present natural and cultural resources (Archaeological sites of Athens, the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Agora, Keramikos and the Academy of Plato). At the same time, students attended lectures on both the preservation of archaeological sites and museums and the protection of the natural environment. An in-situ research and the questionnaire method were used to complete the survey. Research has shown that the Lifelong Learning Center through the educational process (theory and practice) can increase environmental and cultural awareness among staff and improve knowledge of security matters. This awareness is essential to better guard and protect natural and cultural resources.

Article

Sulaman Hafeez Siddiqui, Kuperan Viswanathan, and Rabia Rasheed

Leadership in business and society is responsible for a large part of the decision-making related to policymaking and resource allocation that in turn influences social and environmental outcomes and economic windfalls. The theory and practice of education and learning in business schools is being called on for reforms in order to nurture responsible leadership for business and society that may align well with the triple bottom-line challenge of sustainability (i.e., economic, social, and environmental). We can find state-of-the-art research studies from definition to historical evolution and dimensions of responsible leadership specifically related to corporate sustainability. The role of curriculum design is central to enabling business schools to nurture responsible leaders who are considerate toward the external effects of their internal decision-making, thus seeking to balance the broader stakeholders’ objectives. Several global initiatives have been undertaken by multilateral institutions such as the UN, business schools, and enterprises in the corporate sector to foster a commitment to responsible leadership and allied reforms in teaching in business schools regarding corporate sustainability. These forums, at both the corporate and academic fronts, have contributed to theoretical development and practices for teaching and learning related to responsible leadership in higher education, specifically in business schools. These initiatives stress that business schools and their academic faculty, who intend to serve as custodians of business and society, must make necessary curriculum reforms to meet the challenges of sustainability by embracing their own transformation.