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Title: Environmental Education in Context: An International Perspective of the Development of Environmental Education
Contributor(s): Taylor, Neil  (editor)orcid ; Littledyke, Michael  (editor); Eames, Chris (editor); Croll, Richard (editor)
Publication Date: 2009
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Abstract: This book presents an international perspective on the development and implementation of environmental education (EE). We are living at a time when environmental issues are receiving unprecedented attention. Much of this focus is on climate change, largely as a result of the Kyoto Protocol of 2005, the Stern Report, presented to the UK government in 2006, which predicted dire economic consequences of global warming, and the release of Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth, which made this issue accessible to the general public. As Skamp, Boyes, and Stanisstreet (2007) argue, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing other problems associated with the environment is a government, corporate, and community responsibility, as well as an individual responsibility. But key to effecting change is an informed citizenry, because awareness of an environmental issue is a precondition of taking environmental action (Jensen, 2002). Consequently, effective EE—both formal and non-formal—is seen as a vital component of the fight against environmental degradation globally. There is, however, much debate as to what form EE should take. In the last few decades, there have been growing concerns that traditional EE (education about the environment) is too limited in its scope to effect the necessary attitudinal and behavioural changes needed if ecological degradation is to be reduced. The Australian educator Arthur Lucas was one of the first to recognize this, arguing that education about the environment was not sufficient. Rather, rich learning experiences must also include learning in the environment and learning for the environment, or the taking of action to improve outcomes (Lucas, 1979). This theme has been further developed by a number of authors. Uzzell, Rutland, and Whistance (1995), for example, argue that students should have the opportunity to actively resolve environmental issues in a democratic way at the local level, firstly so they understand how these issues relate to their own lives, and secondly so they are encouraged by the success of their actions. Likewise, Jensen's (2002) model of "action competence" is designed not only to provide students with a sound understanding of environmental issues but also to allow them to take action to address these at a local level. This action competence model can combat the "action paralysis and disempowerment" that students may experience when confronted with what appear to be insurmountable environmental problems and help them to become advocates for the environment (Connell et al., 1999). The model also addresses the issue of presenting the environment as a series of problems. Other authors (e.g., Bullard, 1993; Kothari & Parajuli, 1993; O'Connor, 1989) have called for links to be made between ecological sustainability and social justice. Third World First (1990) echoes this view when they state that wealthy "middle class" people have the luxury of the "privilege of concern," because they have the financial ability to look beyond their own livelihood, explore global issues, and make the connections between the environmental and wealth generations. In contrast, people from lower socioeconomic groups do not have the option of such "luxury," and it is only when they are involved in a practical and direct way with their local environment that they too can go on to make such connections. Furthermore, tensions are now emerging between western and non-western (particularly developing) countries as to who should take responsibility for climate change and other problems, and to what extent developing countries may have to shoulder any adverse economic consequence of dealing with problems largely viewed as having been created by rapid western development. Against this background, this book explores developments in EE in the formal and non-formal sectors of non-western countries (loosely interpreted, these sectors include countries outside of the English-speaking block of the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), where there is increasing tension between the desire for rapid economic development and the need for ecological sustainability. The intention is to provide the reader with a picture of the developments that are taking place in EE across a range of non-western countries, especially given that little has been written about these countries.
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: Sense Publishers
Place of Publication: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
ISBN: 9789087909628
Field of Research (FOR): 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 930399 Curriculum not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: A3 Book - Edited
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Extent of Pages: 326
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Appears in Collections:Book

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