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Trajectories to a sustainable future: environmental education form a critical perspective.
Uppsala, Univ., ETD, 2015
Abstract: Climate change is one of the most significant current threats to civilisation and nature and accordingly a vast number of approaches towards its prevention are undertaken around the world. While some of these approaches are attempts at technical solutions, numerous agencies and experts argue that behavioural change is needed in order to achieve any significant and long-term results. Such adjustment require individual behavioural change in the young generations of today. Inducing behavioural changes on individuals, by education or otherwise, is, however, extremely difficult, if at all possible. With inspiration in the early Frankfurter School philosophers Adorno and Horkheimer and their work Dialectic of Enlightenment, this thesis tackles the question of what type of educational approaches that can be taken to truly offer a chance of having a real change effect. While it is important to educate the young generations in the science behind climate change, it is argued that in order to change their actual behaviour, the education must relate the effects of climate change to their everyday life and that the discourse of individual responsibility should be avoided. Current educational attempts are exemplified by the 2009 established Climate Embassy of the Danish green think tank CONCITO, which trains young so-called Climate Ambassadors to give lectures on climate change at Danish public schools and high schools. Although the lectures given, importantly, make the students understand the consequences of peoples current behaviour and make them understand that this behaviour is wrong, the education might not yield actual behavioural change. It is argued that one of the reasons for this is that the approach of The Climate Embassy, and generally of many such organizations, work within the rationality that the problems should be fixed within the current understanding of the structure of society: capitalism, population of consumers, et cetera. Although a final solution to this v
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