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The Significance of Myth for Environmental Education.
Journal of Philosophy of Education
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Environmental Education′s goals to succeed, students must form bonds and place attachments with nature. Some argue that immersive experiences in nature will be sufficient to form such attachments. However, this may not be enough, requiring other means of motivating them for environmental stewardship. Here, I explore the role the imagination could play for helping (re)enchant students′ perception of themselves-in-relationship-with nature which could support the work these educators are already doing. I explore philosophical, psychological, and pedagogical domains to begin developing a holistic vision of what imagination coul contribute for human-environmental flourishing. Philosophically, I build from Martha Nussbaum′s work that stories imaginatively shape our understanding of ourselves and the world, arguing that story—namely, myth—may have a unique power to enchant student′s moral and ethical imaginations. I attempt to synthesise Michael Bonnett′s rich ′primordial′ phenomenology with what some mythologists identify as ′implicit myth′—both of which are drawing attention to the human-environmental interrelationship. Psychologically, I posit that if myth of this kind can develop a human-environmental imagination in students, it may serve to create conditions to motivate students to act for environmental stewardship. Pedagogically, I close by identifying authors who seem to embody this primordial and mythic way of being in the world, arguing that studying their writings may help educators and students cultivate this human-environmental imagination. I draw particular attention to Gerard Manley Hopkins′ poetry for exemplary inspiration and guidance.
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