ERG SES C 08, Parallel Session C 08
Environmental justice explores how some people are disproportionately harmed by environmental hazards while others receive unjust proportions of environmental benefits; these disproportions are based on intersections of race, class, and gender amongst others (Bullard, 1994; Shiva, 1994). The varying relationships with the environment affect individuals and cultures and hence influence how the environment is perceived by different people. When formal education and informal learning draw only from a limited scope of perspectives, environmental injustice is continued through the silencing of the voices which might otherwise call for an end to the injustices. Environmental justice, perception and education are therefore interrelated.
Perceptions are influenced by gendered, raced and classed stories on what is observed as nature (Baldwin, 2004). In order to disrupt these forces and hear a wider range of perspectives, research needs to focus on multiple ways of communicating (Barrett, 2007); to actively support local knowledges (Cruikshank, 2005); and be self reflective about the assumptions held by the researchers themselves (Neilson, 2008).
Deconstruction of knowledge sources and discourses are important for ensuring environmental justice within informal education. Who we listen to and how we listen are important to what narratives inform learning. Indigenous scholars (Battiste, 2005; Smith, 1999) challenge us to acknowledge multiple privileges and to not reproduce these through education and research.
Neves-Graça (2002) in her work exploring the transition from whale hunting to whale watching in the Azores, found that the perspectives of former whalers was similar to that of deep ecology, that whalers had provided much expertise to scientific researchers, but that the expertise of whalers was largely ignored and not considered relevant for tourism, conservation or education.
Rodrigues (2007) found that children from the Azores had complex understandings of the environment, however, the sea and marine life were rarely mentioned in any of the images, stories and discussions with which the children and researcher engaged. Kindergarten teachers of the Azores rarely included local content on their lessons; many of these teachers felt they needed more information concerning the sea (Pacheco, 2008). Howard’s (2007) work with children from Newfoundland found great pain caused by the denial of how deeply immersed they are in the sea and the damage of the collapse of the fisheries ecosystem. While school children seem to have little knowledge of marine life off their shores, they have complex, sometimes contradictory and often times deliberately hidden understandings of connections with their marine home.
Research Objectives -
This study about perceptions of the ocean explores whose perspectives provide the driving force for environmental education. It seeks,
1. To explore and document how Azoreans as well as tourists and people in the marine tourism industry and sciences understand and how they learned about the sea;
2. To understand the educational aspects of whale watching and other marine tourism on both tourist and Azoreans; and,
3. To compare the perspectives of the sea and tourism held by the people in the Azores, Portugal with the perspectives of people in Newfoundland, Canada.
Baldwin, A. (2004). An ethics of connection: Social-nature in Canada's boreal forest. Ethics, Place and Environment 7, 185-194. Barrett, M. J. (2007). Homework and fieldwork: Investigations into the rhetoric-reality gap in environmental education research and pedagogy. Environmental Education Research, 13(2), 209-223. Battiste, M. (2005). Post-colonial remedies for protecting Indigenous knowledge and heritage. In P. Tripp & L. Muzzin. Teaching as activism. Equity meets environmentalism, (pp. 224-232). Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Beilin, R. (2005). Photo-elicitation and the agricultural landscape. Visual Studies 20(1), 56-68. Bullard, R. D. (1994). Overcoming environmental racism. Environment, 36(4), 10 -20, 39-44. Clandinin, D. J. & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Doyle, A. (2001). The colliery aesthetic: Cultural responses at the end of industry. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Durham University, UK. Howard, P. (2007). The pedagogy of place: Reinterpreting ecological education through the language arts. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, 1(2), 109-126. Hurworth, R. (2003). Photo-interviewing for research. Social Research Update, 40. Neilson, A. L. (2008). Disrupting privilege, identity, and meaning: A reflexive dance of environmental education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Neves-Graça, K. (2002). A whale of a thing: Transformations from whale hunting to whale watching in Lajes do Pico. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, York University, Toronto, Canada. Pacheco, C. M. G. (2008). Os educadores de infância e as temáticas ambientais desenvolvidas nos jardins-de- infância dos Açores: Principais abordagens e necessidades. Inédito dissertação de mestrado, Universidade dos Açores, Portugal. Rodrigues, L. C. (2007). Espaços verdes ou contextos de relação: Perspectivas e preocupações das crianças acerca do ambiente. Inédito dissertação de mestrado, Universidade dos Açores, Portugal. Shiva, V. (1994) Close to home: Women reconnect ecology, health and development. London: Earthscan publications Ltd. Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. New York: Zed Books.
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