Interdisciplinary strategy to educate for environmental sustainability By
Dr. Sreelaxmi Madhusudan and Ms. Charu Srivastava
Jamnabai Narsee School
Today the natural phenomena are exhibiting catastrophic dimensions in their effect on the land and the life of the planet. Consequently, terms like ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’ have become colloquial across the globe. Government organisations, environmentalists, social groups and individuals are forced to act to preserve and conserve nature. Yet there is a huge gap that exists between environmental awareness and environmental consciousness:
Environmental awareness is conceived as the totality of cognitions, attitudes and action. Many studies made in the 1980s and 1990s, had very positive attitudes towards conservation, but when speaking about concrete action and personal sacrifices they have become rather reserved (Sairinen 1996) 1
It has also been shown that a high level of environmental knowledge does not necessarily imply environmentally-friendly behaviour (e.g. Poferl et al. 1997; Brand 1997)
It is in such a context that we adopt the dimensions of environmental consciousness as psychological acceptance and imbibitions of environmentally sustainable practices which later on become a natural way of life – ‘Sanskar *
(principles imbibed through practice in Sanskrit) rather than working for implementing them under the constant threat of a ‘doomsday.’
The means to achieve an environmentally sustainable society is to breed environmentally-conscious citizens. Universities are centres for developing cultural meccas, innovators, economists (Kogan Linda 2006)
Paradigm (IPP) believes that education alone can sustain moral and ethical values in society by dovetailing these values with every subject we teach.(Vas Jessie 2007) 3
Even today, education plays an important role in shaping society. The United Nations has declared 2005-2014 as an international decade of education for Sustainable development, requesting all nations to integrate sustainable development into their education systems at all levels from pre-school to higher education and in non-formal as well as formal education, in order to promote education as a key agent for change:
Like businesses, independent schools may be called to demonstrate their missions and actions their commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability” (NAIS SURVEY 2005)
Today’s challenge is to translate sustainable concepts into action (UCCS educational vision statement)
. Integrating environmental education into the science curriculum through land-based learning showed that learning environmental education is not the same as learning science.(O. Bartosh et.al.2005)
The key components of learning for environmental sustainability are identified as Systemic thinking, critical thinking, reflection, participation and partnership for change, while the key approaches are identified as facilitation of learning by the learner, participative inquiry, and action-learning and action research. (National Review of Environmental Education and its contribution in Australia) 7
we find these
components as well as approaches embodied in the IBO mission and IB learner’s profile.
Two major concepts influence people’s behaviour in improving environmental management (Land care Research Lincoln 2002)
. These concepts stand parallel to
the core components of the IB curriculum as shown below:
Key concept (LRL) Core component of IB
The importance of getting people
together to establish a shared
understanding of any problem situation
and the potential pathways for action.
The TOK component of the IB curriculum
perpetuates this philosophy.
The participation of different groups with
their ideas, skills and knowledge can
contribute heavily to...
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