Deep ecology and secondary schooling: exploring ecocentric alternatives

Smith, W 2017, Deep ecology and secondary schooling: exploring ecocentric alternatives, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Education, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Deep ecology and secondary schooling: exploring ecocentric alternatives
Author(s) Smith, W
Year 2017
Abstract This thesis used a deep ecology lens to look for evidence of anthropocentrism or ecocentrism in environmental education (EE) in the sustainability community of three Victorian secondary schools. The research also investigated whether students have the capacity for ecophilosophical thought, and it explored the concept of student as ecophilosopher - a new branch of philosophy in schools. Findings showed that many of the participants had attributes or held beliefs aligned to a deep ecology philosophy, including wilderness preservation, promotion of biodiversity, anti-consumerism, and love of nature. The data from this study highlighted the critical role that sustainability communities in schools play in producing a cohesive effort to better the immediate school natural environment, and enhance student attitudes toward nature via environment club activities. The other key finding was that an environment club was key to the development of students' situated identity within the club, their ecological self, and their larger self beyond the school and into the natural world. The study showed that some club students were connected to nature through sustainability education at primary and secondary school that contributed to a more developed awareness of environmental issues. The findings from this research provide the basis for future explorations of ecophilosophy in schools and indicate a need for studies of sustainability programs that focus on social, cultural and ecopolitical solutions to environmental problems. It is unlikely that efforts to move from an anthropocentric past to an ecocentric future are possible unless school-wide sustainability practices and policies are embedded into the entire school structure.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Education
Subjects Environmental Sociology
Environmental Education and Extension
Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
Keyword(s) Deep ecology
Environment clubs
Secondary school
Ecocentrism
Anthropocentrism
Ecological self
Ecosophy
Self-realization
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Created: Fri, 16 Jun 2017, 09:27:03 EST by Keely Chapman
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