Editorial: Learning in a Changing World
The year 2007 is a significant year for environmental education. It marks 30 years since the first internationally agreed principles of environmental education were developed at Tbilisi, commonly known as the Tbilisi Principles. It is also the year in which human beings apparently are finally ‘waking up’ to the fact that human-induced environmental change is causing impacts which are infinitely complex and difficult to resolve. This year, through various highly publicised and politicised events, people have begun to recognise that it is getting hot on planet Earth, and that the associated social, economic and environmental costs are profoundly disturbing. The Stern Review and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change both firmly indicated that human-induced environmental change will threaten human economies and security in ways that are unprecedented in human history. Southern Africa, where this special edition of the EEASA Journal is being produced to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the existence of the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa, and the hosting of the 4th World Environmental Education Congress, is one of the areas most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. More than 70% of the people in southern Africa live in rural areas, and depend directly on natural resources for their livelihood and food security, making environment (and environmental education processes) a central concern in development discussions in the region. Patterns of global inequality are pronounced in the region, which has some of the poorest countries in the world. Out of its 25-year history, EEASA and its members, along with colleagues around the world, continue to seek ways of educating and empowering people to successfully participate in resolving environmental issues and create more sustainable and socially just living patterns. In drawing attention to our constant need to learn how to improve our understandings of environmental education and learning as the world around us changes, the World Environmental Education Congress organising committee chose to profile the question of ‘Learning in a Changing World’, by making this the theme of the Congress.
This edition of the EEASA Journal is dedicated to this theme. We invited Ian Robottom, a colleague from Australia, to co-edit the journal with us, within a process where members of the Scientific Committee of the 2007 World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) were invited to submit ‘Think Pieces’ on the theme of the WEEC 2007. We asked them to include consideration of the 30-year history of environmental education in their Think Pieces. The resulting Think Pieces reflect an interesting mix of review, research and thoughtful questioning, constituting an intriguing set of papers to contemplate alongside the many other offerings that will be available at the World Environmental Education Congress.
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