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Some elements of the identity of the eco-environmental education

Wednesday 1 December 2004, by Ioannis METAXAS

1. Eco-environmental education (1) targets the formation of "eco-citizens". This involves making people of all ages responsible for and sensitive to questions concerning the Environment, the management and overcoming of the ecological crisis and, finally, the peaceful and democratic transition to an ecologically sustainable society.
2. It concerns, at the least, the acquisition of knowledge of and aptitude for the recognition (2) of the Environment and for the planning / formulation, the analysis (3) and resolution of eco-environmental problems, always from the point of view of citizens who use - among other things - the knowledge of experts.
It concerns - at the most - a change in the way of living. This accords not only with knowledge and aptitude, but also with the sensibility - aesthetics, experience, ethical codes and the global institutional framework.
3. It is interested in the presentation of alternative approaches and critical examination of the solutions proposed for eco-environmental problems / questions.
4. It is specially interested in the clarification and evaluation (reject or adoption) of values, which determine attitudes and behaviors, choices and decisions concerning the creation or overcoming of the ecological crisis.
5. It chooses ecological, interdisciplinary and systemic approaches to environmental problems in relation to natural and cultural environments and then translates them to pedagogic approaches.
6. It encourages the pedagogic / didactic methods which are focused on debate, action and participation. The groups of learners are the principal actors of a project, while the educators (the educational team) are the assistants / facilitators.
7. It is a form of education, which promotes the idea of "understand in order to act".
This text is a summary of various and agreed analyses concerning eco-environmental education (4).

1. We refer to an eco-environmental education rather than an environmental one, because a basic knowledge of scientific ecology is a necessary prerequisite for the consideration and evaluation of environmental problems within an ecological framework, and, consequently, which make for ecologically adapted decisions. It should be pointed out however that an eco-environmental education is not significantly equivalent to an "Ecology + ecological Management" approach.
2. Metaphorically speaking, we can refer to a "lecture" of the environment.
3. When we speak about the examination of environmental problems we are primarily concerned with the causes and consequences of their appearance. The key-concepts of the analysis are : causal chain, cyclic causality, conflict of interests and values.
4. See : Eugenia Flogaitis, Environmental Education, Greek University Press, Athens, 1994

KEY WORDS: Environmental Education; Ecology; Citizenship.
AUTHOR: Ioannis Metaxas, Secretariat of Youth, Department of Education, Aharnon 417, 11343 Athens, Greece, Fax: 30 / 1 / 2531420