Environmental education after sustainability: hope in the midst of tragedy

Author:
Panu Pihkala Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Search for other papers by Panu Pihkala in
Current site
Google Scholar
Close
Restricted access
Get eTOC alerts
Rights and permissions Cite this article

In this article, I discuss the challenge posed to environmental education (EE; and education for sustainable development) by the thinkers who see the situation of the world as so severe that ‘sustainability’ is an outdated concept.

My approach is interdisciplinary and I discuss especially the connections between EE and eco-psychology. Based on psychological research, I argue that the wide-scale unconscious anxiety, which people experience, should be taken very seriously in EE. My discussion thus contributes in a new kind of way to a long-standing key issue in EE, the gap between people's values and the perceived action.

Scholars of eco-anxiety have argued that instead of not caring, many people in fact care too much, and have to resort to psychological defenses of denial and disavowal. Thus, the question in EE is not anymore whether EE should deal with anxiety, for anxiety is already there. The prevailing attitude in EE writing is right in emphasizing positive matters and empowerment, but the relation between hope and optimism must be carefully thought about and a certain sense of tragedy must be included. Therefore, my article participates in the discussion about the role of ‘fear appeals’ in EE.

My discussion is directed to anyone who wants to understand the reasons for inaction and the ways in which these may be overcome.

Panu Pihkala Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Search for other papers by Panu Pihkala in
Current site
Google Scholar
Close

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1407 641 62
Full Text Views 65 15 2
PDF Downloads 82 31 1

Altmetrics

Dimensions