Environment, sustainability & regeneration

This theory page is under development, and will explore questions about 21st century learning in relation to environment and sustainability educational theory.

Degradation of the biophysical environment  during the 20th century lead to the growth and development of much new thinking about human relationships with the environment. The mid-20th century saw the birth of  “environmental education” movements, and during the last few decades of the 20th century, international thinking moved towards a more complex views of environment (and environmental education) as having deeply interconnected political, social, and economic dimensions. The notion of “sustainability” has gained popularity across many sectors – although the meanings of this term are contested (for example, does sustainability mean finding ways to continue to do what we already do, but with less harmful impact? Or does it mean actually rethinking and rebuilding the ways we do things, or even what we do?)

In 21st century thinking, the pressing matters of environment, sustainability, and regeneration cannot be ignored in any sphere of life – particularly in education. Yet within formal education, relatively few people have had opportunities to interact with contemporary theories in this rapidly-developing field of thinking.

Some of the theoretical areas  that we hope to add to this page include:

  • Exploring current thinking about “sustainability” and “education for sustainability”, and the posibility of moving beyond “sustainability” towards “regeneration”
  • Eco-justice paradigms
  • Place-based education
  • Cultural and historical perpespectives on human relationships with the environment

You can download one fulltext article about environmental education and place-based education here:
Bolstad, R. (2005) Environmental education: A place in the curriculum? New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 14, 215-235