Harry Potter and his magic for environmental education

Harry Potter and his magic for environmental education

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

By Bárbara Saulesleja

Environmental education, if it is considered only as a methodology, procedures, certain recipes "to apply", "messages to transmit", to give environmental information, may not be an alternative to improve the current environmental situation. Tricky recycling activities may not be enough to capture the attention of young and old.

Harry Potter [1] is the story most read by children and young people in recent times. It is an invitation to adventure, a proposal to go from a bland life locked in a closet to the adventure of discovering the magic of life, to struggles against the shadows that want to dominate everything (life in all its forms).

This writing proposes to open the reflection on the inclusion of fantastic stories such as that of Harry Potter in environmental education to break the molds in which the duty of "environmental education" fell silent.


The birth of a story like Harry Potter is more full of enigmas sometimes more than the story itself.

Its author Joane Rowling says that history, whoever wants to investigate it, there are numerous places and even a movie that tells it to us [1]. All of us who have known the author's biography surely wonder what happened when the train in which Joane was traveling stopped at King's Cross station? How did you manage to write a story of 7 books of hundreds and hundreds of pages each and have the kids “queue up” to buy them at the bookstores? And read them!

This article postulates that among the multiple interpretations that we can make of history, we are also facing an environmental education book.

I think that from the moment when Harry goes from living in the closet of a materialistic and consumerist family, without ideals, until he crosses the threshold at the station and the children get on that wonderful train that travels through forests and magic.

And what does environmental education have to do with Harry Potter?

Potter's story belongs to the "wonderful tales." As we saw in another previous article, a wonderful story is:

Those that occur in an indefinite time and normally there is a hero or a heroine who will have to go through certain difficulties until they are victorious. Normally there is a magic element that gives a power to the protagonist (protagonist (a cape, a hat, magic drinks, etc) [2].

Jaime Rest [3] defines it as "an exhibition of fabulous and supernatural events presented in fiction as actually happened, it is abundantly illustrated by popular and anonymous repertoires" ...

While environmental education presents these characteristics:

  • It is a permanent process in which individuals and the community become aware of their environment and acquire the knowledge, values, skills, experience and will capable of making them act individually and collectively to solve current and future environmental problems. (UNEP, 1982 [4]).
  • As the objective of Environmental Education is the acquisition of values ​​and behaviors necessary to face current environmental problems, there is an approach to the idea of ​​sustainable development such as that "that guarantees the needs of current and future generations."
  • The implementation of Environmental Education (EA) can be expressed through three areas of action (Bertonatti 2003 [5]). Formal, non-formal and informal environmental education. In this case, this story could be worked from all three areas.
  • Regarding the so-called “education based on biodiversity”, the purpose of is to develop knowledge, skills and cultivate attitudes that allow society to respond to the needs and responsibilities that living with the diversity of species implies (Kassas 2002 [6]) .

Harry Potter and his contributions to environmental education

For all:

  • It invites us to leave the known to go on an adventure.
  • The journey from the dark station to that school that is after crossing such beautiful landscapes is an invitation to return to nature.
  • It invites us to enter the "forbidden forest", where pure beings such as unicorns die at the hands of the dark lords of evil who want to dominate everything with authoritarianism, lies and oppression.
  • It is an invitation to a liberating journey. To face one's own shadows, to discover one's own lights and to be protagonists of our life and the construction of the world.
  • Environmental education is not only school, it is what we collectively build knowledge throughout our lives, like the whole story that summoned us. Life comes and goes from school, to the boys' houses, from the forest to the classroom. There are no watertight spaces for learning, nature and the man who is part of it learns and becomes sensitized by contact, with experience, with the project that proposes an adventure not only with books (environmental education for life )

For boys especially

  • Each child, if he has confidence in himself, has a source of great inner power. (Participation to build the world)
  • The proposed adventure is not individual but Harry leaves individualism to live the exploits with his friends.
  • Love to the magic of nature.
  • "Get off the couch" as Harry's and his cousin's uncles live and dare to get out of the mold. Being who you are will release your magic.

To the parents

  • Friendship in its deep sense is a value rescued throughout the entire work.
  • Hagrid the ranger has a major role in educating children, he teaches them a love for the diversity of animals and plants.
  • The love that Harry's first environment (that of his parents before they died) gives him is key to his later confidence. The relationship with the environment is built from the womb. If "emotional education" arises from the womb, it is from the same place where "environmental education" begins, how to link with our environment. Freud called this space "the first environment" [7]

For the school

  • The school has to have magic if it wants to reach the hearts of children and young people. Posing challenges like Quidditch, practices like potions that are taught, magic, mystery, understanding as we see in Dumblendore.
  • The books must bite like in the Harry Potter story. If the classes want to arrive, they have to bite, offer a magic broom and invite them to leave the closed space of a classroom. You learn in the classroom and also outside.
  • Social life influences teaching. The media manipulate everyone with their information, they are opinion makers as seen in The Prophet. Critical readers of the media and reality, reflective and active citizens is also one of the goals of environmental education (critical reflection, global citizens).
  • I believe that the book that summons us includes all the intelligences mentioned by Gardner in the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. For example:
    • Harry is difficult to visualize but it is a synthesis of all intelligences (from even the still little explored philosophical-spiritual intelligence to the bodily one)
    • Hermione and her linguistic intelligence
    • Ron and his intrapersonal intelligence
    • Hagrid and Neville with their naturalistic intelligence.
    • Luna and her interpersonal intelligence
    • Among other characters that escape the author of the article.

I understand that this is a wake-up call to the already developed theory and little taken to the classroom: we are all intelligent in something. And the activities in the classroom have to be superior to sitting and listening.

Final reflection

In reality the division of who is what each Harry Potter thing is like any limited human division. In fact, any of the aspects indicated (and many more not mentioned due to space and mental limitations of the author!) Can be for everyone.

I believe that reading and sharing this story as a family is a journey of initiation.

So at least it happens in my family which is the closest universe that I can tell you about.

We will not be the same after this wonderful story that Joane Rowling left us. History written in a simple way, loaded with symbols and teachings.

We can combine environmental education as we did in the article with emotional intelligence with the theory of multiple intelligences.

Environmental education has to break the rules and get out of the mold of the superficial ones of teaching only to recycle or to turn off the tap.

He has to take the train to Hogwarts and take the adventure of finding new ways to promote that wounded link between nature and human society.

I want that train !!

Bibliographic references:
Bertonatti, Claudio "The nature of the homeland" Series developed within the framework of an agreement between the Ministry of Education of the Nation and the Félix de Azara Natural History Foundation. 2009 Digital:, accessed 8/8/2012
Glover, Vivette. 2011. “Annual research review: prenatal stress and the origins of psychopathology: an evolutionary perspective”. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 52 (4): 356-367. Glover, Vivette. 2014. “Maternal depression, anxiety and stress during pregnancy and child outcome; what needs to be done ”. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology 28 (1): 25-35.
General information about Joane Rowling
Biographical film of the author of Harry Potter:
Kassas, M. Environmental Education: biodiversity. The Environmentalist (Dordrecht: The Netherlands), vol. 22, no. 4
The wonderful stories and legends in environmental education, Bárbara Saulesleja.
Project for the establishment of the Environmental Training Network for Latin America and the Caribbean. Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ORPAL). UNEP. 1982
Rest, Jaime (1978). CEAL, ed. Preliminary study of Anthology of the traditional and modern tale. CEAL. pp. III. Extracted from Wikipedia "Wonderful".

[1] More general information about Joane Rowling

Biographical film of the author of Harry Potter:

[2] The wonderful stories and legends in environmental education, Bárbara Saulesleja.

[3] Rest, Jaime (1978). Extracted from Wikipedia "Wonderful".

[4]. Project for the establishment of the Environmental Training Network for Latin America and the Caribbean. 1982

[5] Bertonatti, Claudio The Nature of the Homeland Series developed within the framework of an agreement between the Ministry of Education of the Nation and the Félix de Azara Natural History Foundation. 2009 Digital:, accessed 8/8/2012

  • Fields of Environmental Education: Formal EE comprises the actions that are carried out through the institutions and study plans that make up the "regulated" educational action from initial level education to higher education, it is characterized by its intentionality, specificity and due to long-term planning, while non-formal EE is generally part of a diagnosis of the educational needs of a specific social group, planning is usually short or medium-term, resulting more flexible and adaptable to the needs of Each specific context and being out of school can be developed in different areas, complementing formal education. On the other hand, informal EE is developed without a curricular structure, does not present programs or evaluation systems and the recipients are not aware that they are part of an educational phenomenon, as an example of this modality, there are messages - with information, opinions or values ​​that are transmitted in the mass media.

[6]. Kassas, M. Environmental Education: biodiversity. 22, no. 4

[7] Glover, Vivette. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology 28 (1): 25-35.

Video: Taking Class Outdoors with Environmental Education (May 2022).