Learning to survive amidst nested crises: can the coronavirus pandemic help US change educational practices to prepare for the impending eco-crisis?

Mervi Kaukko, Stephen Kemmis, Hannu L.T. Heikkinen, Tomi Kiilakoski, Nick Haswell

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The ongoing ecological crisis and the more recent Coronavirus crisis challenge the grand narrative of Enlightenment that human beings are ‘masters of nature’. For millennia, human social learning has allowed Homo sapiens to outpace most of our competitor creatures and live a comfortable life, but this competitive success has resulted in cataclysmic failure for the ecosystem. However, people’s unique ability to learn gives us hope that we can overcome the nested crises, or learn to live with them. What is required is not more knowledge, but instead, collective learning to change practices, institutionalized in educational processes. Drawing on the theory of practice architectures, this paper discusses how education can help to form a new generation of children, young people, and adults equipped for the new post-Corona world, and equipped to respond appropriately to the eco-crisis. This requires significant changes to existing arrangements of education systems. What is needed is new practice architectures–new conditions of possibility–under which human beings can learn to live sustainably within the community of life on Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-1573
Number of pages15
JournalENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION RESEARCH
Volume27
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Ecological crisis
  • practice architectures
  • social learning

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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