Landscape, memory and learning to change in changing worlds:Contemplating intergenerational learning and traditional knowledge practices within social-ecological landscapes of change

  • Rob O'Donoghue Rhodes University
  • Juan Carlos A Sandoval-Rivera Universidad Veracruzana
  • Unnikrishnan Payyappallimana United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health, Kuala Lumpur


The core paper and collection of short papers from Mexico, Africa, India and Sweden that make up this study on social-ecological landscapes developed as a South–South collaboration that was extended to include a case in the North. Our concern was to explore how situated, intergenerational knowledge commonly takes a back seat to the conceptual propositions that the environmental sciences have developed around matters of concern like biodiversity loss. In this way, scientific propositions have become the conceptual capital for informing future sustainability through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). In response to this, a more situated turn has developed to engage both intergenerational practices and the institutional sciences, but the playing fields are seldom level and deliberations are often rife with misunderstandings.

Current trajectories of social-ecological change were already evident at the turn of the 20th century where one found the colonial oppression of indigenous peoples and early manifestations of accelerating environmental degradation. The latter escalated into biodiversity loss as a global concern that both underpins and resonates with the current complex of global risks. This concern has shaped education imperatives towards learning-led change so as to contribute to avoiding catastrophic problems such as climate change and ocean acidification, for example. These and other critical sustainability concerns have developed as planetary limits are being exceeded on a widening scale. The associated patterns of change and escalating risk in the modern era have played out in each of the regions where our teams of authors have researched their short papers on social-ecological change and intergenerational learning. The papers are intended as contributions that might better situate indigenous peoples on their intergenerational lands in reflexive learning within a rich mix of ancient and modern scientific ideas and ideals.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2411-5959
print ISSN: 1810-0333