Chapter 1


We begin the book with an Introduction that looks at the interrelated ecological and social crises that call us to this work. We present information on global climate change and other ecological crises in direct relationship to data on worldwide poverty.  We discuss the purposes of education within this context as contrasted with what schools have been organized to do historically.   Included in this discussion is a definition of EcoJustice Education as well as descriptions of several of the fields that have influenced this body of work.

Guiding Questions

1. What sorts of human made problems do we see in our global ecosystem?

2. Describe some of the impacts of global climate change.

3. How did the invention of the steam engine change social and economic systems? Describe the impact of this invention on ecological systems.

4.  What do we learn from ecologically aware cultural theorists about the destruction of entire ecosystems?

5.  Describe how “efficiency” has led to so many problems. What are the problems listed in the chapter?

6.  How is climate change impacting other species? Describe how the impact of climate change on other species could be referred to as a “canary in the coal mine”.

9. Describe the data given by the Human Development Report on Global Income Distribution. What does this tell us about our current economic systems?

10. What do Martin Kohr and the authors explain as the cause of world hunger and poverty for the so-called “developed” and “underdeveloped”?

11. What are the effects of what the authors refer to as the “pressure to modernize”?

12. What is a “cultural ecological analysis”?

13. What do the authors mean when they say that “the ecological crisis is really a cultural crisis”?

14.  What are the six interrelated elements of EcoJustice?

15. How does EcoJustice include social justice?  How does EcoJustice refuse the dichotomy between social justice and environmental concerns?

17.  In addition to EcoJustice, what are the related approaches mentioned in the chapter?

18.  Reviewing the related approaches make a chart that lists the major characteristics of each approach.  Choose two of the approaches and explain how they differ from EcoJustice.

19.  How does EcoJustice differ from Environmental Justice?

20.  What is “speciesism”?

21. What are three major goals that have framed public schools according to Joel Spring? Briefly describe each.

22. What is the primary question asked in a “pedagogy of responsibility”? What two ethical questions frame a “pedagogy of responsibility”?

23. According to the authors, what is the purpose of education for EcoJustice Educators?

24.  What is an “eco-ethical consciousness”?

Additional Reading

Books and Essays
Bowers, C. A. (2001). Educating for eco-justice and community. Athens, GA: University
of Georgia Press.

Hansen, James. (2009). Storms of my grandchildren: The truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity. New York: Bloomsbury, USA.

McKibben, Bill (2007). “Introduction.” Deep economy: The wealth of communities and the durable future (1st ed.). New York, NY: Times Books.

Guggenheim, D. (2006). An Inconvenient Truth. Paramount Vantage.

Al Gore’s film demonstrating the impacts of climate change.

Conners, N. (2008). The 11th Hour. Warner Home Video.

A look at the state of the global environment including visionary and practical solutions for restoring the planet's ecosystems.

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