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Archipelagos of learning: environmental education on islands


This article appreciatively reviews environmental education practice on islands through the lens of four key strands of environmental education discourse: biodiversity, conservation and science-framed education; place-based, indigenized and bioregional education; climate change and disaster risk reduction education; and education for sustainable development. Arising from these strands and their interface, six questions are asked of the examples of island practice reviewed. A final section asks what is distinctive about environmental education on islands and comes up with five principal findings. First, it is observed that environmental education initiatives on islands are markedly eclectic in their rich blending of practice from within the different strands. Second, it is noted that environmental education practice on different islands, especially in the Pacific, is marked by a return to indigenous, community-based learning. Third, the emergence of a distinctive pedagogy is remarked upon, especially the greater weighting given to relational, socio-affective and action-orientated learning. Fourth, the paucity of inter-island cosmopolitan dialogue is noted and questions are asked about how to ensure island learners steeped in learning about place can be brought to connect with the global environmental problematic. Fifth, the frequency of cross-curricular, interdisciplinary, even trans-disciplinary framing of environmental education initiatives is identified as bringing distinctiveness to island practice.

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*Correspondence: Dr David Selby email:
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Environmental Conservation
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