An Ecology of Environmental Education

Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


We tend not to question the implications of the terms we use in environmental education and its ever-changing names, purposes, and goals. Digging deeper into well-worn and accepted meanings from the early nineteenth-century movements integrating place-based nature study since John Dewey through conservation and outdoor education, the tensions in the historical realization of the field are traced. A critique of the social manifestations, political purposes, and philosophical grounding of environmental education is developed in relation to (1) shifts in the definition of its terms; (2) conceptual transformations of the discipline; (3) ecological issues; and (4) pedagogical imperatives. The resulting historicity takes into account initiatives from UNESCO to Agenda 21 and NAAEE to provide an ecology of environmental education.


environmental education history goals of environmental education ecology ecological literacy 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ryerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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