Environmental Education in the 21st Century: Theory, Practice, Progress and Promise

Environmental Education in the 21st Century: Theory, Practice, Progress and Promise

Environmental Education in the 21st Century: Theory, Practice, Progress and Promise

Environmental Education in the 21st Century: Theory, Practice, Progress and Promise

Synopsis

Environmental education is a field characterised by a paradox. Few would doubt the urgency and importance of learning to live in sustainable ways, but environmental education holds nowhere near the priority position in formal schooling around the world that this would suggest. This text sets out to find out why this is so. It is divided into six parts:Part 1 is a concise history of the development of environmental education from an international perspective;Part 2 is an overview of the 'global agenda', or subject knowledge of environmental education;Part 3 introduces perspectives on theory and research in environmental education;Part 4 moves on to practice, and presents an integrated model for planning environmental education programmes;Part 5 brings together invited contributors who talk about environmental education in their own countries - from 15 countries including China, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the USA;Part 6 returns to the core questions of how progress can be made, and how we can maximise the potential of environmental education for the twenty first century.

Excerpt

This is not a recipe book. If readers are hoping to find here the ultimate answers and practical tips for the successful implementation of environmental education, they will be disappointed. Perhaps this is because there are no definitive answers and foolproof tips. Environmental education is a relatively young, dynamic and immensely complex field for study and interpretation. Indeed, it concerns itself with teaching and learning relating to complex issues that at times themselves defy human understanding. It is a field characterised by a paradox: Few would doubt the urgency and importance of learning to live in sustainable ways…of conserving the world's natural resources…and of taking care of the Earth today so that future generations may not only meet their own needs, but also enjoy life on our planet. Yet environmental education holds nowhere near the priority position in formal education programmes around the world that this scenario suggests should be the case. It seems that it constantly has to 'engage in battle' with the intricacies and demands of 'education' in general rather than be a core element of it.

This text attempts to unravel some of the causes of and tensions involved in this paradoxical situation; to explore the complexities of the subject matter of the field; to explain what is actually happening in the world of environmental education at the close of the twentieth century; and to consider aspects of the field's priorities and potential as we enter the twenty-first.

The book is divided into six parts. The first presents a concise history of the development of environmental education from an international perspective. Landmark events, conferences, publications, definitions and key concepts are introduced in the hope that readers may direct attention to critical review, interpretation, refinement, implementation and development of already established ideas, rather than to re-inventing them. This section also serves as important background information for understanding and evaluating the effectiveness of environmental education today.

Part II provides a succinct and comprehensive overview of 'the global agenda' or the subject knowledge of environmental education. Each of the major issues affecting our planet today is outlined, including 'development and environment'; and an analysis follows of key environmental problem impacts and

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