Like a swallow, moving forward in circles: on the future dimension of environmental care and education

Journal of Moral Education 41 (3):399-412 (2012)

Abstract

After the moral framework of sustainable development, the focus on climate change appears to take a lead in the practice and theory of environmental education. Inherent in this perspective is an apocalyptic message: if we do not rapidly change our use of energy resources, we will severely harm the life conditions of our children and grandchildren. In this article we argue that environmental educators should liberate us from this highly instrumental dictate by taking their cue from our daily care for our environment as revealed in child?s play in nature. Inherent in the interaction of the Homo ludens with nature is a spiral time experience. This time condition elicits a particular responsibility: rather than calculating which means are necessary to prevent future disasters, we should respond with care to the concentric circles of an open and indefinite future. Therefore, environmental education should not aim to prevent future disasters, but foster anticipating care for nature

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