Southern African Journal of Environmental Education

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On the Personal, Social and Environmental... A Response to Alistair Chadwick’s Viewpoint Responding to Destructive Interpersonal Interactions: A way forward for School-Based Environmental Educators

E Rosenberg


A decade or so ago, at the Earth Summit and the advent of South Africa's democracy, there were great efforts to help us understand ecological issues in relation to social issues. Much work was done to reorient those initiatives which taught about nature and ecosystems as if people and politics did not matter. Now, as we enter a 'Decade of Education for Sustainable Development', we run the danger of finding environmental education apparently everywhere, but actually nowhere. Environmental education processes must develop and deepen our understanding of the interrelationships involving our bio-physical world. This is a unique contribution to education and its reorientation. Yet we may lose this contribution in the wake of a movement to re-direct environmental education activities to focus on the dire personal and social problems affecting learners and teachers. This Viewpoint briefly considers aspects of this trend and its possible causes and consequences. It also suggests how environmental educators can get on with their particular task, and bring it appropriately to bear on the personal problems and social issues so prevalent in our schools.

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