Eco-queering US K-12 Environmental Curricula

An Epistemic Conceptual Investigation into Queer Pessimisms Serving as a Pragmatics to Navigate Current Environmental Castrations
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


In his 2015 State of the Union, President Barack Obama called climate change the “greatest threat to future generations.” Conversely, President Donald Trump has cast doubt on the very existence of human-induced global climate change, thereby dismissing decades of empirically collected data by scientists around the world which, when aggregated, portray a warming world at and past the brink. Fierce global competition for dwindling resources is certain to increase as a result of the steady, irrevocable, and dramatic shifts in weather patterns which continue in causing catastrophic macro- and micro-[global] consequences, including consummately a loss of human life. While recommendations have been provided toward a mitigation of anthropogenic climate change through a re-envisioning of education standards, the United States’ panoptic, neoliberal educational behemoth has not kept pace with the necessary standards and curricular changes that might substantively and authentically address the realities of a rapidly changing global climate for those who inevitably will act as this world’s future stewards. Notable academic and recently deceased Chet Bowers has written extensively on this subject, suggesting in sum that such education is ostensibly a moral imperative requiring broad, interdisciplinary content inclusive of revised and radically upended modes of thinking, approach, and authentic feeling. An investigation into the burgeoning field of queer ecology offers an intersectional, discursive conceptual foundation toward the construction of such neo-curricula, which inherently and intentionally elides various disaggregated epistemological and ontological schools in unique, timely, and critical ways. The pessimistic epistemic postulations of queer scholars, such as Lee Edelman, provide insight catalyzing a dynamic and urgent thesis in curricular rethinking inclusive of queer eco-environmentalism as an integral, tenable tenet. This investigation seeks to negate optimistic, heteronormative conventions onto the urgent creation of eco-curricula and pedagogical practices in K-12 schools; the author contends that it is through a pedagogical recognition and embrace of discordant and othered ontological notions informed by queerness as a blurring space that an inspired salvation is possible. In this way, environmental optimism, as it is presented in current K-12 educational contexts, is a limited portrayal of current realities and, as such, assumes the position of a destructive pathology of deniability.


Education Curriculum development Curriculum instruction Queer theory Queer ecology 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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