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Title: Bonding with the land : outdoor environmental education programmes and their cultural contexts
Author: Takano, Takako
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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While there is now general acceptance of the importance of sustainable living, only recently have educators or researchers paid much attention to people’s relationships with the environment. ‘Western’ advocates of education for sustainable living generally present as models the traditional approaches of indigenous peoples. However, contemporary attempts by indigenous people seeking to help young people ‘bond’ with the land have not been extensively investigated. Following a careful selection process a total of seven educational programmes in the UK and North America were chosen to explore participants’ core values and concerns regarding the environment. The research design was ‘mixed’ and based primarily on participant observation, supported by interviews and written surveys. For the indigenous groups in North America, being ‘on the land’ was ‘life’ itself, and was tied strongly to their identity and well-being. Aspects of their culture and history were inseparable from the programmes, whereas for the groups in the UK, people visited ‘wild places’ primarily for personal enjoyment. The UK programmes studied aimed to cultivate a caring attitude towards the environment chiefly through conservation work. However, in contrast to the North American cases the experience was largely divorced from daily life and paid little attention to cultural and historical heritage. The present study has made three significant contributions to the education literature concerning people’s relationships with the environment. First, the nature of these relationships varies depending on cultural and social settings and the local context plays a vital role in developing the relationships. Second, a fundamental change in people’s relationships with nature requires ontological transformation. Third, while it may be beneficial to adopt certain elements from North American programmes in the UK or vice versa, educators cannot simply duplicate cultural models as education needs to be culturally and locally appropriate. These programmes were experimental and evolving. Further research is required to investigate models of education for sustainability that are culturally and locally appropriate to each place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available