“Our environment, our economies, and our communities are all connected. The Inuit hunter falling through the melting ice in the Arctic is connected to our actions far to the South: the cars we drive, the policies we create, and the disposable world we have become. So too is that Inuit hunter connected to the small islander fighting to save his home from the rising tides on the far side of the earth. Losing the frozen Arctic, the air conditioner for the planet, is simply too expensive.”—Sheila Watt Cloutier
“We adults seem more inclined to prepare our children to make heroic sacrifices for the planet than to make them ourselves.”—Mark Burch. (1993) Key issues in adult environmental education. Report of the Meeting of Experts. Toronto: International Council for Adult Education.
The Living Language: Fostering Ecoliteracy in the Modern Culture
Sustainability buzzes through most sectors in today’s society. It stands to motion in boardrooms, peppers quarterly reports, and pops up on home pages and social media streams. It is lectured in classrooms, presented at conferences, broadcast over media, and discussed at dinner tables. It has surpassed its former reputation as a fringe issue and staked a sizeable claim in the vast territory of the popular culture. Yet despite its conversational allure and cognitive frequency, sustainability as a concept doesn’t always translate into sustainable action, behaviours, or policies. In fact, the current trajectory of modern society often gestures towards a move in the opposite direction.
Places We Loved: Narratives of Environmental Rediscovery
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In ongoing autobiographical research in environmental education, I have been investigating the significance of nostalgia and personal metaphors of childhood environments, looking at how these phenomena can be worked into pedagogies for popular environmental education.
“Hope for a sustainable future depends on reshaping the life cycle — not the individual life cycle alone but the overlapping and intersecting cycles of individuals and generations, reaffirming both the past and the future, not only in families but in the institutions we build and share”—Mary Catherine Bateson. (2000). Full Circles, Overlapping Lives. NY: Random House