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Environmental Education and Social Sciences

Environmental Education and Social Sciences


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By Joel Sangronis Padrón

How to talk about the carbon cycle without referring to the industrial revolution and greenhouse gas emissions by the rich societies of the world? How to talk about the destruction of tropical forests without explaining the phenomena of poverty and the unfair distribution of wealth in the world?

The phrase that of: "justice is something too important to leave it only in the hands of lawyers is old." The same could be said of public health and doctors or love for the country and the military, however, in our universities the area of ​​knowledge that by its very nature should be more multidisciplinary, or better yet, more transdisciplinary, this en, Environmental Education, continues to be managed as an exclusive preserve of Biologists and Biology.


I must clarify that I have nothing against Biologists or Graduates in Education mention Biology, what I refer to is the nonsense that in the XXI century means trying to maintain the nineteenth-century error of considering Ecology and the Environment just as an appendix or a sort of minor branch of Biology.

Environmental Education is not a modern form of natural science didactics, on the contrary, it is an andragogical movement that integrates ecological, philosophical, political, economic and sociological knowledge in order to modify production relations, socio-economic structures and patterns cultural (individual and collective) in order to reposition the members of contemporary industrial society in a new global environmental historical context.

Until now, Environmental Education has focused with a reductionist, technical and operational vision of environmental problems without stopping to consider the scope and complexity that human interactions have in this situation. Environmental Education, as it has been proposed until now, has as its object of study the non-anthropized environment, that is, nature not intervened by human activity (photosynthesis, water or carbon cycles, food chains), which it is clearly a contradiction in terms.


How to talk about the carbon cycle without referring to the industrial revolution and greenhouse gas emissions by the rich societies of the world? How to talk about the destruction of tropical forests without explaining the phenomena of poverty and the unfair distribution of wealth in the world?

It is not about excluding the natural sciences from Environmental Education, but about integrating them correctly with a holistic and dialectical vision.

The problem of environmental degradation is an exclusively human problem, of human society, while it is proven that only the human being pollutes. The logical thing then would seem that in its study and in the search for solutions those who by vocation and training study the processes and characteristics of said society, that is, Sociologists, Graduates in Education, mention Social Sciences, Anthropologists, Political Scientists, etc. .

To understand contemporary environmental problems and in turn generate paradigmatic changes in society that stop the degradation processes of our habitat, historical, cultural, political and economic aspects must be studied in addition to purely biological ones, not doing so implies assuming a biased perception , reductionist and distorted of this problem and its possible solutions.


The epistemological location of Environmental Education within the natural sciences is nothing more than the logical consequence of approaching environmental problems from the perspective of the old Newtonian mechanistic paradigm.

Approaching Environmental Education from a strictly biological perspective implies giving it an ideological neutrality that it is far from having.

The environmental problem is not ideologically neutral or alien to the political and economic interests that currently rule the world. For Environmental Education to be valid and effective, it has to begin by questioning this supposed axiological neutrality of the environmental crisis. Here is the inescapable importance of Social Sciences in Environmental Education.

* Professor UNERMB


Video: Environmental Education and Indigenous Knowledge (July 2022).


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