30 SES 02 B, Implementing ESE/ESD on National Level and in Communities
The objective of this research is to solve the problem of climate change in the means of learning.
The purpose is two-fold. The first objective is to gain new knowledge on the role and the meaning of emotions in the process of personal carbon footprint moderation in the context of a learning community. How do emotions effect - enable or prevent - the learning of carbon footprint moderation? The second objective is to create an effective and affective way to strengthen ecosocially educated behavior by means of a learning community model created in the study. Another application based on this model created will be a friendly, encouraging and supportive social networking service open for all to strengthen low-carbon action competence both nationally in Finnish society and internationally around the world. What kind of learning community model and social networking service enables and strengthens a shift from ecosocially educated attitudes into ecosocially educated behaviour in households?
Ecosocial education is a key concept to the study at hand. In short, ecosocial education means the pursue of good life within the limits of one earth. Ecosocial approach to education is based on the idea of a threefold criteria hierarchy for decision-making: 1) the most important criteria is the vitality of nature, more-than-human world, which is eco-ontological basis for all human life, 2) the second criteria is physical, psychological and social human well-being that will ontologically enable together with vital nature 3) the third criteria, this is, robust economy which is ontologically based on nature and human inputs without of which it would never exist.
The theoretical roots of this study are grounded on critical theory and critical ethnography. The knowledge interest is emancipatory: this study pursues to participate in the liberation of symptom carriers in dysfunctional Finnish society and global community from current unsustainable human behaviour and overconsuming way of life today. The intention is to protect planetary life and secure the possibilites of the next and future generations to sustainable well-being by means of learning.
The research at hand is an action study combining quantitative and qualitative research methods. Research participants are elementary school teachers, prospective teachers and teacher educators going through a one year learning process in learning community. The mission of learning communities is to strengthen participants' competence to ecosocially educated behaviour. Research data consists of participants' carbon footprint analyses, recordings of learning group meetings and individual semi-structured interviews. Three learning communities will be established and facilitated during academic year 2018-2019. After learning communities 5-10 participants will be interviewed about their learning experiences in group. Moreover, autoetnographic materials (texts, recordings) will also be utilized: I am case studying my own learning process in moderating my carbon footprint. As researcher, I have personally succeeded in halving my personal carbon footprint during 2006-2016 and promised to achieve sustainable level by the year 2020. Carbon footprint (CF) is used in this research as the development indicator of ecosocially educated behavior. Every participant's carbon footprint is measured and analyzed before, during and after the learning community process. Statistical significance is examined comparing pre- and post-measurements of CF, differences between three learning communities and changes in different main categories of carbon footprint. Climatediet-service by the Finnish Environment Institute is used as carbon footpring calculator in the research.
This study argues that the key challenge for ecosocially educated behavior (EEB) is no longer denial, skepticism or unawareness concerning human-caused climate change but passive behavior and low action competence in relationship to such painful knowing. Processing emotions has so far been mostly unexplored in studies promoting public engagement in solving the problem of climate change. This study claims that emotional processes form a vital dimension to understand and take carefully into account when aiming to strengthen EEB in society with climate communication. Understanding emotional difficulties and experienced inner contradictions concerning on-going climate change is necessary and beneficial to vitalize our abilities and capacity for action competent affection and care for our planetary life. It is expected and assumed in the research that to strengthen our emotional skills and abilities to confront ambivalent inner contradictions strengthens our action competence in solving the wicked problem of climate change with ecosocially educated behaviour. This research creates conditions to urgently strengthen and increase climate action competence and vocational competence to teach sustainable well-being in society. In Finnish basic education, there is, at the moment, no sufficient competence nor extensive model for teaching students sustainable way of living in accordance with national curriculum. This research produces a novel and emotionally intelligent learning community model and solution-focused social networking service to strengthen EEB-competence in Finnish basic education. To strengthen EEB nationally in Finnish basic education and more broadly in Finnish society is imperative in building sustainable future by means of personal and collective climate action today. New knowledge and tangible models are urgently needed to enable, support and strengthen powerful EEB-learning. This research produces new understanding concerning the learning process in which strengthening ecosocially educated behaviour becomes possible for symptom carriers of dysfunctional society.
- Büch, M., Hinton, E. & Smith, G. 2015. ”It Helped Me Sort of Face the End of the World”: The Role of Emotions for Third Sector Climate Change Engagement Activities. Environmental Values 24 (5), 621-640. - Dodds, J. 2011. Psychoanalysis and Ecology at the Edge of Chaos. London: Routledge. - Finnish Environment Institute. 2017. Climate diet. - Finnish National Agency of Education. 2014. Finnish National Curriculum for Basic Education. - Heiskanen, E., Johnson, M., Robinson, S. Vadovics, E. & Saastamoinen, M. 2010. Low-carbon Communities as a Context for Individual Behavioural Change. Energy Policy 38 (12), 7586-7595. - IPCC. 2014. Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Summary for Policy Makers. - Jurin, R., & Fortner, R. 2002. Symbolic Beliefs as Barriers to Responsible Environmental Behavior. Environmental Lifelong Learning Research 8 (4), 373-394. - Kollmuss, A. & Agyeman J. 2002. Mind the Gap: Why Do People Act Environmentally and What Are the Barriers to Pro-Environmental Behavior? Environmental Lifelong learning Research 8 (3), 239-260. - Middlemiss, L.K. 2008. Influencing Individual Sustainability: A Review on the Evidence on the Role of Community-Based Organisations. International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development 7 (1), 78-93. - Norgaard, K.M. 2006. ”People Want to Protect Themselves a Little Bit”: Emotions, Denial, and Social Movement Nonparticipation. Sociological Inquiry 76 (3), 372-396. - O'Neill, S. & Nicholson-Cole, S. 2009. ”Fear Won't Do It” Promoting Positive Engagement with Climate Change through Visual and Iconic Representations. Science Communication 30 (3), 355-379. - Randall, R. 2009. Loss and Climate Change: The Cost of Parallel Narratives. Ecopsychology 1 (3), 118-129. - Randall, R. & Brown, A. 2013. Carbon Conversations. Six Meetings about Climate Change and Carbon Reduction. Stirling: The Surefoot Effect. - Salo, M., Nissinen, A., Mattinen, M. & Manninen, K. 2016. How is the carbon footprint calculated in the Ilmastodieetti tool? - Salonen, A. & Åhlberg, M. 2012. The Path towards Planetary Responsibility – Expanding the Domain of Human Responsibility Is a Fundamental Goal for Life-Long Learning in a High-Consumption Society. Journal of Sustainable Development 5 (8), 13-26. - Staats, H., Harland, P. & Wilke H. 2004. Effecting Durable Change: A Team Approach to Improve Environmental Behavior in the Household. Environment and Behavior 36 (3), 341-367. - Weintrobe, S. 2013. The Difficult Problem of Anxiety in Thinking about Climate Change. In S. Weintrobe (ed.) Engaging with Climate Change. Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 33-47. London: Routledge.
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