30 ONLINE 26 B, Inclusion and Social Justice in ESE
MeetingID: 960 2594 1643 Code: p1iVuR
Education plays a key role in the global response to climate change. It helps young people to understand and address the consequences of global warming while fostering a shift in attitudes and behaviours (UNESCO 2019). In this paper, climate and sustainable development education are understood as a form of inclusive education that is relevant for everyone and is not limited by social, geographical or national borders since it requires the participation of the whole world. The Pixar film, WALL-E (Stanton, 2008), is an example of what Pat Brereton (2014) calls eco-animation films, which are films that aim to encourage respect for the environment and wild life. Dealing with the environment as a major theme, WALL-E can be seen as an adequate tool to tackle this issue inside the school. The film represents a futuristic dystopia that raises awareness about the detrimental effects of contemporary lifestyles, such as excessive consumerism, overproduction, disrespect for the environment, and overdependence on technology. Moreover, it depicts the consequences of these negative practices through a devastated and uninhabitable Earth. WALL-E, the only inhabitant on Earth, is a robot that is more human than the real humans. In this regard, WALL-E reflects some of the anxieties of contemporary world in which technology already exerts increasing control over people’s lives. Climate change is a reality that cannot be solved with the technology that has been developed to date. In fact, technology and industrial processes tend to exacerbate the problem as they are usually powered by non-renewable energies and produce a lot of waste. The film portrays this phenomenon by combining a devastated vision of Earth with the image of dehumanised people living in outer space, who do not regain their human skills until WALL-E disconnects them from technology and nature comes back to their lives. Ultimately, WALL-E transmits the message that the survival of the human race is dependent on the preservation of the natural world. Environmental education aims to make the world a better place in terms of habitat and inhabitants, which can be explored and promoted in the classroom with a film like WALL-E.
Climate change is a reality of the outside world that has a direct impact on the inside world of the classroom. Likewise, sustainable development is a widely discussed issue that should be included in the educational field. The Index for Inclusion: A Guide to School Development Led by Inclusive Values (Booth and Ainscow, 2016) considers environmental issues as a useful starting point for promoting inclusive education. WALL-E aligns with one of the seventeen inclusive values proposed by the Index, namely, the environmental “sustainability”. Booth and Ainscow have claimed that this is the most fundamental aim for education today, as in the contemporary world, climate change is threatening our quality of life and has already damaged the way of life of many people around the world (2016, 27). This paper highlights several questions proposed in the Index that aim to educate children to be more eco-friendly and conscious consumers. Combining the use of WALL-E and the Index for Inclusion, this paper proposes a study guide that can encourage children, teachers, and adults to reflect on their position in the world in relation to the environment, and with a final aim of promoting climate and sustainable development education.
Both film studies and cultural studies have stressed the relationship between films and ideology. Studies such as those conducted by Bordwell (1989), Shaw (2013) and Deleyto (2017), among others, consider cinema as an ideological vehicle that both reflects and constructs the society that creates it. As will be argued, looking at an animation film through an inclusion and ecological lens highlights issues that are closely related to contemporary reality, such as climate change, border dynamics, consumerism and the technological abuse. In order to arrive at such a reading of the films, one needs to start with the formal analysis of the movies, which means looking at each feature in detail, taking into account not only the narrative development of the story (i.e., the plot of the film), but also the audiovisual strategies used to tell the story, including mise-en-scene, framing, editing, and sound. The case study has been chosen according to Booth and Ainscow’s Index for Inclusion: A Guide to School Development Led by Inclusive Values (2016), a 194 page-long document that aims to provide a new form of curriculum adapted to 21st-century social needs. The Index contains a list of 17 inclusive values, which help to determine the inclusive potential of the film. In particular, there is one inclusive value explicitly named in the Index that is explored in WALL-E: “sustainability”, as the film connects with current environmental problems from the beginning. Moreover, the selection process involved a careful reflection on the extent to which the selected film deals with some of the inclusion issues and questions listed in the 21st-century outline curriculum provided by this text. Booth and Ainscow dedicate an entire section to environmental issues with questions such as: “Do adults and children explore the meaning of environmental sustainability, in terms of the continuity and lack of disturbance of species, ecosystems and landscapes?”, “Do adults and children consider how dependent they are on the well-being of the planet?”, and “Do adults and children consider that if everyone consumed at the rate of the richest nations then humans would require several earths to survive?”. Through the combination of an inclusive education approach and the formal analysis of the film, this study will highlight the potential of WALL-E to help teachers deal with and promote environmental education in schools.
WALL-E represents the idea of humans rekindling their relationship with the natural world and the importance of taking care of the environment. The analysis of it shows the potential of using this film in a classroom to promote awareness about the environment and climate change as part of inclusive education. WALL-E offers a dystopian depiction of the Earth where human life is non-existent. The film creates awareness of the need to promote the “sustainability” inclusive value from the Index for Inclusion. Our actions will have consequences in a near future, so schools need to make a serious commitment to the well-being of future generations in terms of becoming more inclusive and respectful with the environment. Climate and sustainable development education should be understood as a must for our society, and cinema can be seen as an innovative and a suitable resource to include it inside the classroom with a fixed purpose. The topics proposed in the film, such as climate change, sustainability, overconsumption, and technology, are global issues that need to be approached in a collaborative manner. WALL-E portrays moments of openness and collaboration in which different human beings and robots work together regardless of their differences to save the planet, which is an outstanding message in inclusive and environmental terms. One of the aims of inclusive education is to teach children about the need to preserve the natural world and to teach them about the reality of ecological risks, which can be promoted with WALL-E. In fact, this film transmits the message that humanity depends upon the preservation of nature. This vision can be explored in the classroom with the help of WALL-E as this film seeks to open the spectator’s eyes and mind to the risks of contemporary actions and ways of life.
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