International Network in Environmental Education

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Concepts and methods

Monday 17 January 2005

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The clarification of the concepts involved in Environmental Education

For us, the members of the animation team of the Polis network, Environmental Education fulfils a political role and could not be dissociated from the project of a democratic society, because it is actually a “civic” education, a “citizenship” education that seeks to provoke changes in attitudes and behaviours, so as to encourage the participation of individuals and social groups in the resolution of environmental and resource management problems.

There is though among Environmental Education practitioners a wide diversity of conceptions regarding some major issues, such as: what is the environment (a problem to be solved, a resource to be managed, the nature, a community?); what is the focus of education (a learning object, the learning subject, the process?); what can be the connection between education and environment. This diversity affects the practices, the processes, and the methodology, and the papers and documents we receive from network members bear witness of this diversity. We consider that this diversity of conceptions is actually a sign of richness. Our objective, as pointed out by the title of our bulletin Dialogues for Environmental Education, is to foster the dialogue between Environmental Education actors, so as to clarify the concepts involved in their day-to-day practice. We conceive the debate as a training process for our partners and for ourselves.

Through our publications (books, bulletins), we seek to contribute to enrich the debate about Environmental Education, by presenting from a critical viewpoint the diversity of approaches in this domain (in terms of objectives, methods, activity themes, target audiences and actors).

These publications are sent for free to all those that request it and that commit themselves to send us their comments, remarks and contributions.