An ecopedagogical, ecolinguistical reading of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): What we have learned from Paulo Freire

Educational Philosophy and Theory 54 (13):2297-2311 (2022)
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This article will discuss Paulo Freire’s global influences on environmental pedagogies and argue that ecopedagogical reinventions are essential for ‘quality’ education, as touted in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4, for global, all-inclusive ‘development’ that is planetarily sustainable. The politics of how ‘development’ is taught or not taught to be critically read linguistically and dialogically will be problematized through Freire’s work, and reinventions of his work, on ecopedagogy. As Freire was a pedagogue of critical literacy, ecopedagogical literacy widens ‘reading the word to read the world’ (all humans, human populations) to read Earth to read the world as part of Earth. Such reading is not anthropocentric. The article will first describe Freire’s influence on reinventing environmental pedagogies, including education for (un)sustainable development (ESD), with specific discussions on how language of ‘development’ and corresponding (un)sustainability is framed. These influences from Freire will then be discussed through his de/re/constructions of citizenship, utopia and education, and globalization. Throughout the article, I will argue the need for teaching ecopedagogical literacy with ecolinguistics is essential to better understand the politics of language and (non)hierarchical dialogue which influence how ‘development’ goals are constructed, including the SDGs.



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