Think Piece. Education, Environment and Sustainability
The appearance of environmental issues in the epistemological horizon of scientific disciplines has constituted a veritable revolution, in the same way as linguistics gave a new sense and created new subject matter in the social sciences in the middle of the 20th century. The study of the environment in its connotation of ‘Nature’ has been part of school curricula and scientific research for a very long time. The qualitative difference in how environmental issues are now dealt with in education and scientific research has been influenced by, on the one hand, the momentum gained by environmental issues resulting from industrialisation, followed by globalisation. Industrialisation and globalisation have revealed a previously unheard of magnitude and complexity of environmental issues, two aspects that due to the type and depth of knowledge available previously, had not been adequately pondered. On the other hand, the political, economic, social and even philosophical (ethic, aesthetic, epistemological, ontological, etc.) dimensions now associated with environmental phenomena have gone way beyond what could have been expected when the first critiques and cries of alarm about environmental issues were raised. These early warnings on the methods of increasing productivity (Rachel Carson); the models of industrial production and occidental lifestyles (Barry Commoner and Fritz Schumacher); the loss of and tragedy of the commons (Garrett Hardin); and exponential demographic growth (Paul Ehrlich and Donella Meadows), are only a few of the better known (not in chronological order).
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