Transformative Eco-Education for Human and Planetary Survival

Edited by:
Jing Lin, University of Maryland
Rebecca L. Oxford, University of Maryland

A volume in the series: Transforming Education for the Future. Editor(s): Jing Lin, University of Maryland. Rebecca L. Oxford, University of Maryland. Vachel W. Miller, Appalachian State University.

Published 2011

Transformative eco-education is environmental education that is literally needed to transform and save our planet, especially during the global ecological crises of our present century. Such education demands inner transformation of many deeply rooted ideas, such as the following: the Earth exists merely to provide for human comfort; the extinction or reduction of other species does not matter; we are free to consume or destroy natural resources at will but are safe from destruction ourselves; and the Earth will continue to sustain us, even if we do not sustain the Earth. Unless these concepts are changed, we will increase global warming and add to the ruin of much of the Earth.

This book presents powerful ideas for transformative eco-education. At this time of ever-increasing ecological crisis, such education is needed more than ever before. We urge readers to use the ideas and activities in this book with your students, develop them further, and create new conceptions to share with other educators and students.

The chapters in this book provide key principles, of which the following are just a few. First, educators can and should prepare students for natural disasters. Second, stories, case studies, the arts, and hands-on environmental experience, all enriched by reflection and discussion, can offer profound learning about ecology. Third, education at all levels can benefit from a true ecological emphasis. Fourth, teachers must receive preparation in how to employ transformative eco-education. Fifth, Indigenous wisdom can offer important, holistic, spiritual paths to understanding and caring for nature, and other spiritual traditions also provide valid ways of comprehending humans as part of the universal web of existence. Sixth, transformative eco-education can be an antidote to not only to environmental breakdown, but also to materialistic overconsumption and moral confusion. Seventh, we can only heal the Earth by also healing ourselves. If we heed these principles, together we can make transformative eco-education a blazing torch to light the path for the current century and beyond.

Introduction: Transformative Eco-Education in a Time of Global Ecological Crises, Rebecca Oxford and Jing Lin. PART I: NATURAL DISASTERS AND EMERGENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION. Helping Students Cope with Disasters: Thoughts after the 5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake in China, Lin Fu, Rebecca Oxford, and Jing Lin. Stories on the Edge: Transforming Education with Case Studies of Sustainability, Diversity, and Peace, William M. Timpson, Jehan AlAndejani, María Gabriel, and Shaun Schafer. Environmental Displacement, English Learners, and Value Creation: Considering Daisaku Ikeda in the East–West Ecology of Education, Jason Goulah. PART II: PRACTICAL, CLASSROOM-BASED, CURRICULUM APPROACHES. Beyond a Carbon Copy Curriculum: Cultivating Stewardship and Awareness through Sustainable Education, Nathan S. Hensley. Cultivation of Social Responsibility Through School Community Gardens, Katie Den Ouden and Bryan Shao-Chang Wee. Project WetKids: An Out-Of-School Program Fostering Citizen Scientists in the Middle Years, Julie Cwikla and Christopher Barry. PART III: INTEGRATING SUSTAINABILITY INTO COLLEGE TEACHING AND TEACHER EDUCATION. To Teach Like a Mountain, Julia G. Brooks. Changing Science Teacher Education in a Changing Global Climate: Telling a New Story, J. Randy McGinnis, Emily Hestness, and Kelly Riedinger. Necessary Tensions within Present Possibilities: Juxtaposing Voices from the Field to Envision Sustainability Teaching and Learning, Molly Lawrence, Rosalie Romano, Victor Nolet, and Wendy Church. Human–Environmental Relationships as Curriculum Context: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Thomas Nelson and Cynthia Coleman. PART IV: CREATIVE PROGRAMS AND SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY. Greening the Campus, Culture, and Curriculum, Mark Stewart. How to Change: Two Case Studies in Building Resilience, Richard Bell and Karen Bradley. International Service-Learning in Ecotourism and Empowerment of Students and Local Communities, David Urias. PART V: INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVES ON ECO-EDUCATION. (S)he Who Will Transform the Universe: Ecological Lessons in Community Education from the Indigenous Americas, Elizabeth Sumida Huaman. Caring for Ourselves, Others, and the Environment: Applying an Indigenous Paradigm in Early Childhood Education in Aotearoa, New Zealand, Jenny Ritchie. Critical Neurophilosophy, Indigenous Wisdom and the CAT-FAWN Connection, Four Arrows. Indigenous Knowledge, Environment, and Education in Africa, Simon Thuranira Taaliu. PART VI: TOWARD A SPIRITUAL, HEALING, AND INTERCONNECTED FUTURE. We Are One Earth: Healing Our Planet Equals Healing Ourselves, Alice Yeager and Sharon Howle. Eco-Fashion: What Educators Can and Should Teach about Sustainable Fashion, Rebecca L. Oxford. Daoism and Chinese Landscape Painting: Implication on Education for Human Nature Harmony, Sun Xiaoyan and Jing Lin. Strengthening Students’ Connection to Nature: A Spiritual Perspective, Bob London. About the Contributors.