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PHD M Phillips

PHD M Phillips

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Published by Christine Ottery
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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Christine Ottery on Aug 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A thesis submitted toThe University of GloucestershireIn accordance with the requirements of the degree of Doctor of PhilosophyIn the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences
April 2008
The root cause of the majority of environmental problems lies not in surfacemanifestations such as carbon dioxide and ozone, but with social and cultural factorsthat encourage people to consume far more than they need. Environmental educationcan be divided into two main kinds: micro approaches, which the majority of currentapproaches fall under, and macro approaches, which are currently emerging. Microenvironmental education considers environmental problems in terms of surfacemanifestations, and proposes micro-changes such as recycling to address them,without questioning the possibility of a cultural shift away from consumerism. Thisform of environmental education typically seeks to change the behaviour of socialactors by building and appealing to their environmental consciousness in theexpectation that they will act rationally. It is argued here that this expectation fails torecognise that social actors are subject to plural rationalities and that their behaviour isdriven by complex interrelationships with other social actors. As a result, microenvironmental education, despite its best intentions, often fails to adequately addressand change the environmentally unsustainable behaviour of the social actors it targets.This thesis firstly aims to uncover why micro approaches to environmental educationexist and persist. Primary qualitative research with environmental educators drawnfrom formal, free-choice and accidental channels of environmental education wasconducted and is presented alongside a review of the historical development of environmental education. The second aim of this thesis is to argue against a relianceon micro approaches to environmental education and environmentalism in general and propose instead that environmental education becomes embedded within a wider macro approach. Macro approaches seek to change behaviour through thedevelopment of a critical understanding of interrelationships among social actors,leading ultimately to environmentally positive changes in them. Findings from the primary research also help reveal the conditions necessary for macro approaches toemerge from the current environmental education infrastructure. The thesis concludesthat macro environmental education is both necessary and possible and calls for further research into its development and practice.
iiiI declare that the work in this thesis was carried out in accordance with the regulationsof the University of Gloucestershire and is original except where indicated by specificreference in the text. No part of this thesis has been submitted as part of any other academic award. The thesis has not been presented to any other education institutionin the United Kingdom or overseasAny views expressed in the thesis are those of the author and in no way representthose of the University.Signed………………………………… Date………………………………

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