University of Winchester

Education Studies, Education Studies (Early Childhood)


ES2218: Theorising Education and Ecology


Semester 1 2010/11, Thursday 10:00-12:00, MA 6


Simon Boxley


  Return to module list.

Last updated 09.12.10.



The aims and learning outcomes are the same as for all second level modules:

1.   Show engagement with primary sources

2.   Show a knowledge of theoretical perspectives and/or works

3.   Show an understanding of abstract concepts within theoretical perspectives

4.   Show an ability to work with theorists and their concepts in various forms of assessment as appropriate.



The relationship between education and ecology is complex and occurs on a number of levels. In the various weeks of this module we are alternating somewhat between these levels of understanding in order to emphasize their interrelated or interpenetrative nature.

·   the practical, or technical level, the kind of thing which often gets called ‘education for sustainability’ and involves gaining knowledge of alternative technologies, permaculture, energetics, TEK, etc. I don’t pretend to have much expertise in these areas – perhaps you do – but, although, clearly, these are areas of understanding which would be very important for members of any ecologically sustainable society, in themselves they need not develop in people a felt need to act differently in relation to the planet. However,  the impetus to break with ‘modern’ western ways of knowing and to become motivated to acquire this knowledge may follow a belief in change at the economic or political, or ethical or ontological  level;

·   political and economic level, which is inevitably intertwined with the former and the latter, and will be connected with the affective – one’s feeling’s towards the planet and other humans as well as one’s ‘technical’ knowledge; education at this level must implicitly or explicitly make these connections

·   the ethical level. Environmental ethics are informed by an understanding of the relationships between different forms of life, and by questions over biocentrism or anthropocentrism. These will turn upon the most fundamental level of all

·   the ontological/cosmological level. Here we are dealing with the most basic assumptions we all make about what life and reality consist in. These fundamental understandings have changed dramatically over the last couple of hundred years – mankind’s unique place in the universe has been questioned and our divine origins overthrown.


Some themes which will run through this module are:

·   ‘the primitive’. You will remember that Rousseau raised the question of humanity in a ‘state of nature’. We will explore whether this concept is useful to tackling how we might go about transforming our current destructive relationship with nature.

·   consumption, production and desire. These fundamental facets of human life will need to be reexamined in the light of the possibility of education’s role in challenging the cornerstones of our lifestyle, and will also be regarded as both an effect of and/or reason for educational practice.

·   Interrelatedness. This is perhaps a rather obvious theme for a module aiming to tackle ecology and education. However, we will aim to consider the question of the interrelatedness of individuals/things at both a societal and ontological level, and to see how thinkers propose to teach us to reconceptualise the world in a more fundamentally integrated way.



If you want to get a feel for the field in general, you could do a lot worse than perusing this easily readable essay by Richard Kahn – it gives you a very general outline of some of the major figures in the field, and a potted history of “environmental education” over the last thirty five years.:





Assessment is split 50/50 between the two essays.


·        Drawing on theorists considered in this module, contrast two positions on the relationships between humans and the environment.

50%. 1750-2000 words, to be submitted Tuesday, week 7, Thursday 11th


Note, the title of this essay does not refer to the educational aspects of the theorists’ work. If you chose to focus of theorists whose primary concerns are educational, such as Orr or Illich, you need to present them in such a way that you avoid the possibility of reproducing the same points in the second essay. I will give more guidance on this when I introduce this assignment. 


·        Explain the views of theorists covered in the module on how education might tackle, fail to tackle or worsen the environmental crisis

50% 2000-2250 words, to be submitted Thursday week 12, December 16th


Seminar Schedule

As you can see, there are some texts missing, yet to be finalized. However, here is an indicative selection.


Can we save the planet? A question of education?



Essential reading:-


Hillman, M. (2004) How We Can Save the Planet, London: Penguin. Pp, 6-26

Orr, D. (2004) Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment and the Human Prospect, London: Island Press. Pp. 7-15


Further reading:-


Lynas, M (2008) Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, London: Harper Perennial

Monbiot, G. (2006) Heat : how to stop the planet burning, London : Allen Lane




The problem of education


Essential reading:-


Orr, D. (2004) Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment and the Human Prospect, London: Island Press. Pp. 16-34


Further reading:-


Leopold, A. (1968) A Sand County Almanac with Sketches Here and There, London : Oxford University Press


From deschooling to decivilizing: the turn to the primitive.


Essential reading:-


Illich, I. (1996) Deschooling Society, London: Marion Boyars. See lecture notes for selected quotes.

Zerzan, J. (2002) Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization, Los Angeles: Feral House. Pp. 1-16


Further reading:-


Rousseau, J. (1974) ‘Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men’ in Rousseau, J., The Discourses and the Social Contract, London: Everyman.



Illich, I. (1973) ‘The Deschooled Society’ in Buckman, P. (Ed.) Education Without Schools, London: Souvenir Press

Illich, I. & Verne, E.(1976) Imprisoned in the Global Classroom, London: Readers and Writers Publishing Co-operative

Kahn, R & Kellner, D. (2007) ‘Paulo Freire and Ivan Illich: technology, politics and the reconstruction of education’, Policy Futures in Education, 5(4), pp. 431-448




Aatola, E. (2010) ‘Deep Ecology and Primitivism’ in Franks B. & Wilson, M. (Eds.) Anarchism and Moral Philosophy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Black, B. (1992) ‘Primitive Affluence: A Postscript to Sahlins’ in Black B., Friendly Fire, New York: Autonomedia

Zerzan, J (1999) Elements of Refusal, Columbia, Mo.: Paleo Editions

Zerzan, J. (Ed.) (2005) Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections, Los Angeles: Feral House

Zerzan, J. (2008) Twilight of the Machines, Los Angeles: Feral House


See also:



Man and nature after Darwin


Essential reading:-


Darwin, C. (2004) The Descent of Man, London: Penguin. Pp. 675-89


Further reading:-


Mayr, E. (1993) One long argument : Charles Darwin and the genesis of modern evolutionary thought, London: Penguin Books




Man and nature after Marx & Engels


Essential reading:-


Marx, K. (1990) Capital, Volume One, London: Penguin. Pp. 285-6

Engels, F. (1987) ‘The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man’ in Marx, K. & Engels, F., Complete Works, Volume 25, London: Lawrence & Wishart


Further reading:-


Bellamy Foster, J. (2000a) Marx’s Ecology: materialism and nature, New York: Monthly Review Press

Bellamy Foster, J. (2000b) ‘Marx's Ecological Value Analysis’ in Monthly Review, 52 (4),, accessed, 8/12/05

Benton, T. (1996) ‘Engels and the Politics of Nature’ in Arthur, C. (Ed.) Engels Today: A Centenary Appreciation, Basingstoke: MacMillan

Gould, S. (1991) Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History, London: Penguin Books. Pp. 207-213

Stoczkowski, W. (2002) Explaining Human Origins: Myth, Imagination, Conjecture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press




The unitary world, deep ecology & the pedagogical project of Freya Mathews: the Ecological Self


Essential reading:-


Mathews, F. (1991) The Ecological Self, London: Routledge. Pp. 11-13, 50-59, p.68, pp 140-141, p.145, p. 155


Further reading:-


Graves, J. (1971) The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Relativity Theory, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Mathews, F. (2003) For Love of Matter: A Contemporary Panpsychism, New York: State University of New York Press                 

Mathews, F. (2005) Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture , New York: State University of New York Press                 




Michael Bonnett: retrieving nature

Essential reading:-


Bonnett, M. (2004) Retreiving Nature: Education for a Post-Humanist Age, Oxford; Blackwell, 128-149


Further reading:-


Bonnett, M. (2007) ‘Environmental Education and the Issue of Nature’, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 39 (6) 707-721

Bonnett, M (2009) 'Education, sustainability and the metaphysics of nature' in MacKenzie, M., P. Hart, H. Bai & B. Jickling (Eds.)(2009) Fields of green: Restorying culture, environment, education, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press



Ecomarxism & critical ecopedagogy

Essential reading:-

Mclaren, P. & Houston, D. (2005) ‘Revolutionary Ecologies: Ecosocialism and Critical Pedagogy’ in McLaren, P. Capitalists & Conquerors: A Critical pedagogy against Empire, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield



Further reading:-


Bullard, R. (2005) ‘Environmental Justice in the Twenty-first Century’ in Bullard, R. (Ed.) The Quest For Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books

Engel-DiMauro, S. (2008) ‘Beyond the Bowers-McLaren Debate: The Importance of Studying the Rest of Nature in Forming Alternative Curricula’, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 19 (2) 88-95

Figuera, R. (2002) ‘Teaching for Transformation: Lessons from Environmental Justice’ in Adamson, J., Evans, M.,  & Stein, R. (Eds.) The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics & Pedagogy, Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press

Freire, P. (2004) Pedagogy of the Heart, New York: Continuum. (Esp. pp. 32-5)

Gadotti, M. (2003) Pedagogy of the Earth and Culture of Sustainability, paper presented at the international conference ‘Lifelong Citizenship Learning, Participatory democracy and Social Change’, Toronto,  17-19 October, 2003

Kahn, R. (2003a) ‘Towards Ecopedagogy: Weaving a Broad-based Pedagogy of Liberation for Animals, Nature, and the Oppressed People of the Earth’, Animal Liberation Philosophy and Policy Journal, 1 (1),

Kahn, R. (2003b) “Paulo Freire and Eco-Justice: Updating Pedagogy of the Oppressed for the Age of Ecological Calamity”, Freire Online, A Journal of the Paulo Freire Institute/UCLA, 1 (1)

Kahn, R. (2005) ‘From Herbert Marcuse to the Earth Liberation Front:

     Considerations for Revolutionary Ecopedagogy’, Green Theory and Praxis: A Journal of Ecological Politics, 1,

Kahn, R. (2010) Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy, & Planetary Crisis,  New York: Peter Lang

Mclaren, P. & Houston, D. (2005) ‘Response to Bowers. The ‘Nature’ of Political Amnesia: A Response to C.A. ‘Chet’ Bowers’, Educational Studies: A Journal of the American Education Studies Association, 37 (2) pp 196-206


Krishnamurti on education and nature


Essential reading:-


Krishnamurti, J. (1955) Education & the Significance of Life, London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. Chapter 1, pp. 9-16

Krishnamurti, J. (1974) Krishnamurti on Education, New Delhi: Orient Longman, pp. 11-17


Further reading:-


De Silva, P. (2007) Explorers of inner space: the Buddha, Krishnamurti and Kierkegaard, Ratmalana: Sarvodaya Vishva Lekha

Krishnamurti, J. (1963) The Life Ahead, London: Victor Gollancz

Krishnamurti, J. (1987) Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal, London: Victor Gollancz

Krishnamurti, J. (1992) On Nature and the Environment London: Victor Gollancz

Krishnamurti, J. (2000) To Be Human, Boston MA: Shambhala Publications Inc., 2000.

Krishnamurti, J. (2003) Beginnings of Learning, London: Phoenix

Krishnamurti, J. (2006) The whole movement of life is learning: J. Krishnamurti's letters to his schools, Bramdean: Krishnamurti Foundation Trust

Martin, R. (2003) On Krishnamurti, London : Wadsworth

Thapan, M. (2001) ‘J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)’ in Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education, 31 (2), 273-286


The Journal of Krishnamurti Schools is available online. This link will take you to a list of articles with a specific focus on ‘Nature’: 



 The road to ecotopia

Essential reading:-


Callenbach, E. (2004) Ecotopia (30th Anniversary Edition), Berkeley, CA: Banyan Tree Books


Further reading:-


Buhle, P. (2001) ‘Ecotopia’, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 12 (3) 149-155

Callenbach, E (2004) Ecotopia Emerging, Berkeley, CA: Banyan Tree Books

Callenbach, E. (2006) ‘Ecotopia in Japan?’, Communities, 132 , pp. 42-49

De Guis, M. (1999) Ecological Utopias: Envisioning the Sustainable Society, Amsterdam: International Books

Frye, R. (1980) ‘The Economics of Ecotopia’, Alternative Futures, 3, pp.71-81

Hartzell, H. (1987) Birth of a cooperative : Hoedads, Inc., a worker owned forest labor co-op, Eugene, OR : Hulogos'i

Jameson, F. (2005) Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions, London: Verso.

Pepper, D. (2005) ‘Utopianism and Environmentalism’, Environmental Politics, 14 (1) 3-22

Tchachler, H. (1984) ‘Despotic Reason in Arcadia? Ernest Callenbach’s Ecological Utopias’, Science-Fiction Studies, 11, pp. 304-317


Educational Utopianism

Coté, M., Day, R., dePeuter, G. (Eds.)(2007) Utopian Pedagogy: Radical Experiments against Global Neoliberal Education, Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Peters, M & Freeman-Moir, J. (Eds.)(2006) Edutopias: New Utopian Thinking in Education, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers





Essential reading:-


There will be no essential reading for this session. We will discuss the essay, due in week 12, and review the trip as well as some of the texts studied in the module


Further reading:-



Essay preparation


Additional Bibliography

Adamson, J., Evans, M., & Stein, R. (Eds.) (2002) The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics & Pedagogy, Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press

Agyeman, J., Bullard, R. & Evans, B. (2003) Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World, London: Earthscan Publications

Angus, I. (Ed.) (2009) The global fight for climate justice: anticapitalist responses to global warming and environmental destruction, London : Resistance Books

Archer, D. (2008) The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate , Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Bensaïd, D. (2002) ‘The Torment of Matter (Contribution to the Critique of Political Ecology)’ in Bensaïd, D, Marx for Our Times: Adventures and Misadventures of a Critique, London: Verso

Benton, T. (ed) (1996) The Greening of Marxism, London: The Guilford Press

Bonnett, M. (2002) ‘Education for Sustainability as a Frame of Mind’, Environmental Education Research, 8 (1) pp. 9-20

Bookchin, M. (1994) Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism, Toronto: Black Rose Books

Bookchin, M. (1997) The Murray Bookchin Reader, London: Cassell

Bowers, C. (2001) Educating for Eco-justice and Community, London : University of Georgia Press

Bowers, C. (2002) ‘Towards an Eco-Justice Pedagogy’, Environmental Education Research, 8 (1) pp. 21-34

Bowers, C. (2003), Mindful Conservatism: Rethinking the Ideological and Educational Basis of an Ecologically Sustainable Future, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Bowers, C. & Apffel-Marglin, F. (Eds.)(2005) Rethinking Freire: Globalization and the Environmental Crisis, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Braun, B. & Castree, N. (Eds.) Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millennium, London: Routledge

Bullard, R. (Ed.) (2005) The Quest For Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books

Capra, F. (1997) The Web of Life: A New Synthesis of Mind and Matter, London: Flamingo

Cartea, P. (2005) ‘In Praise of Environmental Education’, Policy Futures in Education, 3 (3), pp. 284-295

Caudwell, C. (1986) ‘Heredity & Development: A Study of Bourgeois Biology’  in Scenes and Actions: Unpublished Manuscripts, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul

Center for Critical Education (2007) Radical Teacher: Environmental Education, 78

Clover, D. (2002) ‘Traversing the gap; conscientización, educative-activism in environmental adult education’, , Environmental Education Research, 8 (3) pp. 315-323

Darwin, C. (1979) The Origin of Species, New York : Gramercy Books

Dunbar, R. (2004) The Human Story, London: Faber and Faber

Finlayson, C. (2004) Neanderthals and Modern Humans: An Ecological and Evolutionary Perspective, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Foster, J. (2001) ‘Education as Sustainability’, Environmental Education Research, 7 (2), pp.153-165

Freire, P. (2004) Pedagogy of Indignation, London: Paradigm

Gómez, J. (2005) ‘In the name of Environmental Education: words and things in the complex territory of education-environment-development relation’, Policy Futures in Education, 3 (3), pp. 260-270

González-Gaudiano, E. (2005) ‘Education for Sustainable development: configuration and meaning’, Policy Futures in Education, 3 (3), pp. 243-250

Gorz, A. (1994) Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology, London: Verso

Hughes, L. (2003) The No-Nonsense Guide to Indigenous Peoples, Oxford: New Internationalist Publications

Haeckel, E. (1992) The Riddle of the Universe, Amhurst, NY: Prometheus Books

Jensen, D. (2004) Walking on Water: Reading, Writing and Revolution, White River Junctiom, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing

Jickling, B. (2005) ‘Sustainable Development in a Globalizing World: a few cautions’, Policy Futures in Education, 3 (3), pp. 251-259

Jucker, R. (2002) Our Common Illiteracy: Education as if the Earth and People Mattered , Frankfurt am Main : Peter Lang

Jucker, R. (2005) ‘Between Stewardship and Simplicity: Parameters for Sustainable Communities’, The EcoJustice Review, 1,

Kelly, J. & Malone, S. (Eds.) (2006) Ecosocialism or barbarism, London : Socialist Resistance

Kovel, J. (2002) The Enemy of Nature: the End of Capitalism or the End of the World? London: Zed Books Ltd.

Latour, B. (2004) Politics of Nature, London: Harvard University Press

Light, A. (2004) ‘Marcuse’s Deep-Social Ecology and the future of Utopian Environmentalism’ in Abromeit, J. & Cobb, M. (Eds.) Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader, London: Routledge

Lovelock, J. (1979) Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Lovelock, J. (2009) The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning London: Allen Lane

Luke, T. (2004) ‘Marcuse’s Ecological Critique and the American Environmental Movement’ in Abromeit, J. & Cobb, M. (Eds.) Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader, London: Routledge

Maitent, P. (2002) ‘Mind the gap: summary of research exploring ‘inner’ influences on pro-sustainability learning and behaviour’,  Environmental Education Research, 8 (3) pp.299-306

MacAuley, D. (1996) Minding nature : the philosophers of ecology, London : Guilford Press

Maniates, M. (2003) Encountering Global Environmental Politics: Teaching, Learning, and Empowering Knowledge, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Marx, K. (1992) Early Writings, London: Penguin Classics

Merchant, C. (1992) Radical Ecology: The Search for a Liveable World, London: Routledge

Morris, W. (1984) Political Writings, London: Lawrence & Wishart

Næss, A. (2008) The Ecology of Wisdom: Writings by Arne Næss, Washington, D.C. : Counterpoint

Nocella, A. (2006) Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of Mother Earth, London: AK Press

O’Connor, J. (1998) Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism, London: The Guilford Press

O’Sullivan, E. & Taylor, M. (Eds.) (2004) Learning Towards an Ecological Consciousness: Selected Transformative Practices, New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Panter-Brick, C., Layton, R. & Rowley-Conwy, P. (2001) Hunter-gatherers : An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Permanent Revolution (2008) Climate change: a question of power London: PR Publications

Peters, M. (2005) ‘Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable development’, Policy Futures in Education, 3 (3), pp.239-242

Polanyi, K. (2002) Great Transformation, Beacon Press

Postma, D. (2002) ‘Taking the Future Seriously: On the Inadequacies of the Framework of Liberalism for Environmental Education’, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 36 (1), pp.41-56

Prakesh, M. & Stuchul, D. (2005) ‘McEducation marginalized: Multiverse of Learning-Living in Grassroots Commons’, Educational Studies: A Journal of the American Education Studies Association, 37 (2) pp. 58-73

Rasmussen, D. (2005) ‘The Priced versus the Priceless’, EcoJustice Review, 1,

Rosebraugh, C. (2003) The Logic of Political Violence : Lessons in Reform and Revolution, Portland, OR : Arissa Media Group

Rosebraugh, C. (2004) Burning Rage of a Dying Planet : Speaking for the Earth Liberation Front, New York : Lantern Books

Sarkar, S. (1999) Eco-Socialism or Eco-Capitalism? London: Zed Books

Saint-Simon, C. (1979) Selected Writings, Westport, CT :  Hyperion Press

Sessions, G. (1995) Deep ecology for the twenty-first century, London : Shambhala

Stables, A. (2001) Who Drew the Sky? Conflicting assumptions in Environmental Education’, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 33 (2) pp. 245-256

Stone, M. & Barlow, Z. (2005) Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World, London: University of California Press

Stirling, S. (2001) Sustainable Education: Re-visioning Learning and Change, Dartington: Green Books

Tobias, M. (1988) Deep Ecology, San Marcos, CA. : Avant Books

Vogel, S. (2004) ‘Marcuse and the “New Science”’ in Abromeit, J. & Cobb, M. (Eds.) Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader, London: Routledge

Ward. P. (2008) Under A Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future, London: Collins


You may also find some of the following websites useful:


·     Centre for Human Ecology, Scotland

·     The Earth Charter Initiative

·     Green Theory & Praxis: The Journal of Ecopedagogy,

·     EcoJustice Education

·     Environment and Schools Initiative

·     Paulo Freire Institute

·     Institute for Social Ecology

·     Adam Joseph Lewis Centre for Environmental Studies

·     Peter McLaren

·     Policy Futures in Education journal has a special issue on Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development, Volume 3, Number 3 at

·     National Curriculum Education for Sustainable Development at Key stages 3 & 4

·     ESD Wales

·     The Trumpeter, the Journal of Ecosophy (Ecological Philosophy) has extensive online archives at   , in particular Volume 18, Number 1 (2002) is an educational special issue.

·     Environmental Education Research is a journal which you can access via the library:

·     Eco-Schools

·     United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

·     Sustainable Schools