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A growing body of research has given critical attention to diverse theories and practices of environmental education, and its potential contribution to addressing pressing global issues such as sustainable development and climate change. While much of this work has focused on perspectives and practices in Europe and North America, this book explores environmental learning within formal education, in programmes by non-governmental organisations, and in public education spaces in Monteverde, Costa Rica. The discussion also highlights the need for more research to understand the broader social and economic interactions between such efforts and the communities in which they are located.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Environmental education has been at the centre of international and national policies of sustainable development for the last several decades, and has stimulated significant debate regarding both its inclusion in educational programming and proposed methods for implementation. Research has given critical attention to diverse theories and practices of environmental education, but has tended to take a narrow focus on specific curricula and policies or on activities within strictly defined sites such as classrooms or natural areas. The field has also largely been focused on discussions and initiatives in industrialised countries, and neglected to explore perspectives, policy and practice elsewhere in the world. In contrast, this chapter introduces a research study based on anthropological fieldwork that explored environmental education and learning in the community of Monteverde, Costa Rica. In particular, the research set out to both explore initiatives taking place in formal education, in programmes organised by non-governmental organisations, and through engagement in public education spaces, as well as the relationships between them and the wider community.
Nicole Blum

Chapter 2. Education, Environment, Development and the Costa Rican State

Abstract
Environmental education is often claimed to be at the centre of efforts to achieve sustainable development. Since the 1980s, Costa Rica has been one of the acknowledged international leaders in efforts to promote environmental learning, and national policy includes a three-fold national development strategy which simultaneously promotes education, conservation and ecotourism. As of yet, however, what is happening ‘on the ground’ has not been examined in much detail. This chapter addresses this gap in the literature by providing an overview of the diverse programmes and actors involved in environmental education in Costa Rica, as well as analysing the politics which surround its implementation.
Nicole Blum

Chapter 3. Environmental Education in Schools

Abstract
Research has given critical attention to diverse theories and practices of environmental education, but has tended to take a narrow focus on specific curricula and policies or on activities within strictly defined sites such as schools, classrooms or protected areas. In contrast, this research argues that greater attention needs to be given to the broader social, economic and political contexts in which these initiatives take place, as well as to how they impact upon educational practice. The chapter begins with an introduction to the community of Monteverde, Costa Rica, where the research was conducted. The discussion then examines how the content and goals of environmental education programme in local schools are strongly linked to a range of wider social and economic relationships, and explores the ways in which these impact upon educational practice. In particular, despite their diverse sizes and relationships to the state, local schools faced many of the same difficulties in promoting environmental learning, including meeting the expectations of the state, parents, and employers; structural concerns such as high teacher turnover and limited resources; and the demands of the state’s heavily content-based curriculum and strict national examination requirements.
Nicole Blum

Chapter 4. Environmental Education and Conservation Organisations

Abstract
One of the key on-going debates in environmental education research and practice relates to the content and goals of programmes. Specifically, there is a long history of debate between advocates of educational perspectives that emphasise the teaching of science concepts and those that seek to more actively link environmental and social issues. In practice, educators and organisations respond to these tensions in a variety of ways, often due to the particular social and economic contexts in which they are located. This chapter explores these debates about the ‘appropriate’ content and aims of programmes by looking at the case of environmental educators working within two conservation organisations in Monteverde, Costa Rica. It reveals that environmental education (i) is an important local site of debate about understandings of the natural world and humans’ relationships to it, and (ii) is part of much wider struggles over the control of processes of local development and environmental management.
Nicole Blum

Chapter 5. Environmental Knowledge in Public Spaces

Abstract
Research on environmental education has given extensive attention to diverse theories and practices of environmental education, but the field has tended to take a narrow focus on specific curricula and policies or on activities within strictly defined sites such as schools, classrooms or protected areas. While this has provided useful detail about individual initiatives and the roles of key actors (especially classroom teachers and other educators), often only scant attention has been given to how these are connected to the broader social, economic and political relationships in which they are situated. In contrast, this research set out to understand these relationships and their impacts on perspectives and practices of environmental education. This chapter looks specifically at the ways in which community members in Monteverde, Costa Rica meet, interact and learn about environmental management and community development in public spaces such as meetings and ecotourism destinations. It describes how this knowledge and learning, in turn, influences public opinion, impacts upon the implementation of community projects, and feeds back into ideas about the ‘appropriate’ content and pedagogical orientations of environmental education in local schools and conservation organisations.
Nicole Blum

Chapter 6. Conclusions

Abstract
Environmental education has been at the centre of international and national policies of sustainable development for the last several decades, and has stimulated significant debate regarding both its inclusion in curricula and proposed methods for implementation. The research on which this book is based used anthropological fieldwork to explore environmental education and learning with schools and non-governmental organisations and in public education spaces in Monteverde, Costa Rica. This chapter revisits the main arguments of the book and suggests some potentially useful ways forward for future research.
Nicole Blum

Backmatter

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