Environmental education and the issue of nature

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Much official environmental education policy in the UK and elsewhere makes scant reference to nature as such, and the issue of our underlying attitude towards it is rarely addressed. For the most part such policy is pre-occupied with the issue of meeting 'sustainably' what are taken to be present and future human needs. This paper considers several issues posed by this anthropocentric approach and explores the view that environmental education - indeed any education - worthy of the name needs to bring a range of searching questions concerning nature to the attention of learners, and to encourage them to develop their own on-going responses to those questions. It is argued that our present environmental predicament not only provides an exciting opportunity to re-focus education on the issue of human relationship to nature, but also requires the exploration of this issue for its long-term resolution. Extensive implications for the curriculum and the culture of the school are raised.

Keywords: educational policy; environmental education; nature; science education; sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220270701447149

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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