Environmental Education After Sustainability : Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

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Pihkala , P P 2017 , ' Environmental Education After Sustainability : Hope in the Midst of Tragedy ' , Global Discourse , vol. 7 , no. 1 , pp. 109-127 . https://doi.org/10.1080/23269995.2017.1300412

Title: Environmental Education After Sustainability : Hope in the Midst of Tragedy
Author: Pihkala, Panu Petteri
Contributor organization: Faculty of Theology
Date: 2017-04-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 19
Belongs to series: Global Discourse
ISSN: 2326-9995
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/23269995.2017.1300412
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/304383
Abstract: In this article, I discuss the challenge posed to environmental education (EE; and education for sustainable development) by the thinkers who see the situation of the world as so severe that ‘sustainability’ is an outdated concept. My approach is interdisciplinary and I discuss especially the connections between EE and eco-psychology. Based on psychological research, I argue that the wide-scale unconscious anxiety, which people experience, should be taken very seriously in EE. My discussion thus contributes in a new kind of way to a long-standing key issue in EE, the gap between people’s values and the perceived action. Scholars of eco-anxiety have argued that instead of not caring, many people in fact care too much, and have to resort to psychological defenses of denial and disavowal. Thus, the question in EE is not anymore whether EE should deal with anxiety, for anxiety is already there. The prevailing attitude in EE writing is right in emphasizing positive matters and empowerment, but the relation between hope and optimism must be carefully thought about and a certain sense of tragedy must be included. Therefore, my article participates in the discussion about the role of ‘fear appeals’ in EE. My discussion is directed to anyone who wants to understand the reasons for inaction and the ways in which these may be overcome.
Subject: 614 Theology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: unspecified
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion
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