Environmental education is not new, it is to protect heritage and know how to connect with the “spirit of the place”.

Environmental education is not new, it is to protect heritage and know how to connect with the “spirit of the place”.

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.

Environmental education is not new. Yes the concept but not the practice in the management of the territories.

We propose to recover environmental knowledge and identity as a remedy against the "no-space" imposed by capitalism and all forms of current materialism. For this we must understand the environment as natural and cultural heritage, material and intangible, and work from the environmental knowledge that we already have, from the identity and protection of the spirit of the place.

Not all of us think the same when talking about "education"

Environmental education was defined in different ways according to authors, contexts, times, this should not draw attention to people linked to education since the same concept of education occurs.

As we can see in Feldman1, in the educational tradition, two ways of conceiving "teaching" were developed. For some it consists of “putting” things in the minds of children and for others teaching deals with “taking” or allowing what the subject brings to be expressed.

The author maintains that these positions are related to pedagogical traditions that consider the child as a clean sweep or that approach him as a subject with potentialities, which education should promote his development.

In the first sense we find that the term "Education" according to the Greek philosopher Plato is "educate", which is identified with "draw from within". In his work "The Republic", the philosopher Socrates will explain that whoever teaches actually acts as "a midwife of souls."

In the second, the child is considered a table to be shaped and in which any element can be written. This was the conception that prevailed.

We identify ourselves with the first vision about education, since this definition is based on the idea that education should aim to educate what the individual already knows, to awaken their internal potentialities and learning-teaching is a continuous process, of The same way is promoted by UNESCO after centuries: the concept of Lifelong Education, provided by UNESCO (Tokyo, 1972), tries to bring education to all levels of life with the intention that it is received and exercised by all and each of the men. 2

"From Plato (who advocated education throughout the life of man) and Condorcet (according to which instruction should cover all ages), and without forgetting Comenius (" all life is a school for men , from birth to the grave ”) nor the oral and informal transmission of pre-capitalist historical systems - as, for example, in the Aztec, Ottoman, Mongol, Tokugawa, Bantu, Ming empires and that are still a form of education permanent in our days; up to the most recent conceptualization efforts -UNESCO (1960, 1984, I989… I995) ”(…). "There is a consensus that man's learning does not end (or begin) with school, but rather it is a process that lasts a lifetime."

Diverse knowledge, cultures, ways of connecting between communities with their context in the context of homegenizing globalization are a sign of the non-existence of a single recipe: where there is someone who “makes the other aware” without more than being a priest, an idealist, one hero, while the other, the others, are receivers, is an approach that is intended in this writing to question.

Latin American authors such as Eloisa Tréllez have proposed images that we intend to rescue as the “dance of environmental pedagogy” 4.

We also have the different concrete experiences throughout the world of things that are not even called environmental education but that achieve a positive scenario so that the human community can develop and conserve, use without exhausting, develop culturally, spiritually and materially without need to resort to a single didactic model.

Go back to the past to regain a sense of the present

Entering a time machine travel to the official history of environmental education, would take us to the Tbilisi Conference.

However, if in our possibility to go into the past and try to find signs of AD we would find ourselves in a remote past, in very different places, contexts, a grandfather, a grandson, a community, a fabric, a cave, a myth, a story, a fire pit, a dance, a knowledge of how to farm, when to harvest.

As a Mexican study begins5, the origin of Environmental Education (EA) could be understood differently:

“To understand the origin of AD in our country, we must recognize the educational work of pre-Hispanic indigenous cultures, the action and interpretation of the world of different groups such as the Mayan, Nahuatl, Purépecha, etc. The expressions manifested in more than 63 current indigenous languages ​​address the relationship between human communities and their environment (..). ”6

This that is mentioned for Mexico could be considered for other countries around the world.

An older origin than the one mentioned mostly within the history of Environmental Education. Hence a long tradition that is worth recognizing.

This gives value to the environmental knowledge of native cultures.

Knowledge kept in legends, in songs, in stories, in the way of life of these cultures and that we can collaborate in recovering, strengthening and sharing.

Environmental knowledge

“Environmental knowledge seeks to know what the sciences ignore because their fields of knowledge cast shadows on reality and advance subjugating knowledge. In this sense, environmental knowledge leads to the construction of new identities, new rationalities and new realities ”.

This phrase invites us to be humble. Scientific knowledge is not synonymous with environmental knowledge.

When working with people, do not fall as saviors and know-it-all, but above all respectful of the other.

Recovering environmental knowledge, its value, being able to provide global environmental information about what happens with an environment, with biodiversity, etc. It allows to recognize that despite the enslavement of globalization and consumerism. There is knowledge, then: there is hope.

Above all, rescuing environmental knowledge and helping to enhance it is the objective.

The spirit of the place

Educating environmentally for many of us is not “putting” but “taking out”, educating. It is not to put environmental information, but to support identity recovery processes, to revalue knowledge, to organize ourselves for collective action.

We first need to connect with the spirit of the place as the original communities have always taught.

Use the physical senses and those that are immaterial.

Empathize with the various forms of life.

How long has it been since you a reader walk barefoot on earth? Or do you look around silently as life is everywhere?

If it were in your power to decide on a clearing, an illegal dumping of a factory, any form of corruption that is detrimental to nature and quality of life, what would you decide if you were more connected with the spirit of Life?

Let's get off the train of automatism and the mental and physical comfort of unconscious consumerism (overwhelming the natural and human environment), to get on the train that arrives at the “Futuro” station.

This train is called Empathy, connecting, knowing how to be and see, because ...

"Eyes that see, heart that feels".

Let us inhabit this Earth knowing how to live and connect with the “Spirit of the place”.

Bibliographic references:
• PUIG BAGUER, Jordi; ECHARRI IRIBARREN Fernando and JERICÓ, María Casas. "Environmental education, spiritual intelligence and nature." University of Navarra. Science Faculty. Department of Environmental Biology. © Editions University of Salamanca.

• Leff, Enrique. (January 2006) "Complexity, environmental rationality and dialogue of knowledge". Presentation I International Interdisciplinary Congress of participation, animation and socio-educational intervention.

• Tréllez Solís, Eloisa. (2002) “Manual Guide of Communities: environmental education and conservation of biodiversity in community development. "Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of the Salar del Huasco" Project. Patagonian.
• UNESCO Conference on the International Retrospective of Adult Education (1960) Montreal.
• Bravo Mercado, Ma. Teresa. . "Environmental Education in Mexico: current visions and projections" In Environmental Education for sustainability in Mexico: Conceptual, methodological and practical approaches. Coordinators: Felipe Reyes Escutia and Ma. Teresa Bravo Mercado First edition in Spanish: University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas 2008Chiapas, Mexico.
1 Feldman, Daniel. (1999). "Helping to teach", Aique, Buenos Aires.
2 Secretariat for the Environment and Sustainable Development (2007), Marine Patagonian Project Booklet.
3 UNESCO Conference on the International Retrospective of Adult Education (1960) Montreal.
5 Bravo Mercado, Ma. Teresa Bravo Mercado First edition in Spanish: Chiapas University of Sciences and Arts 2008 Chiapas, Mexico.
6 Bravo Mercado, Ma. Teresa In Environmental Education (Op. Cit).
7 Leff, Enrique. (January 2006) "Complexity, environmental rationality and dialogue of knowledge." Presentation I Interdisciplinary International Congress of participation, animation and socio-educational intervention

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