Responsive Environmental Education: Kaleidoscope of Places in the Anthropocene

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


Since the 1970s, when international emphasis on environmental education increased in response to a growing awareness of industrialization’s environmental impact, the field has often cast children in the role of future stewards of the “natural world.” Environmental education’s iterations have maintained an anthropocentric, binary view of nature and have failed to constrain the complex phenomena of the Anthropocene epoch. Now, the environmental theories and predictions of the 1970s are reaching distressing, ongoing fruition, in a froth of climate change-induced natural disasters which displace communities and raze or drown vegetation. An individual’s sense of place can no longer be understood as rooted in a static locale: landscapes change overnight, and countless people lack the luxury to conceive of themselves as inhabitants of clearly definable, locally situated ecological and human communities. Place is ever-changing, layered, and linked across time and space through economic transactions, and it interacts with human identity in ways that are difficult to grasp. Therefore, we posit that people now live with a Kaleidoscope of Places which expand and contract from the local bioregion to unseen locations across the biosphere. This chapter contributes to an evolving environmental education model for the Anthropocene, integrating a dynamic place theory into a place-based pedagogy intended to encourage children’s agency as co-constructors with and for our interdependent planet. We assert that the ability to create innovative solutions for mutual survival requires cultivating specific skill sets of adaptability, feeling, and agency, as we explore our socioecological contexts from a transdisciplinary perspective.


Place Environmental education Anthropocene Transdisciplinary Deep ecology Place-based education Child as nature 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Salem State UniversitySalemUSA
  2. 2.Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS)PortsmouthUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Amy Cutter-Mackenzie
    • 1
  • Karen Malone
    • 2
  • Marianne Krasny
    • 3
  • Hilary Whitehouse
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Education, Gold Coast CampusSouthern Cross UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Educational ResearchWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  4. 4.James Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia

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