Hailed as one of the best nonfiction books of the twentieth century, the book not only opened people's eyes to the human imprint on nature, it inspired the development of environmental education, a discipline which today has developed in many different directions and is turning into a research field in itself.
Missing the big picture
In a recently published article in In Factis Pax, centre researcher Cecilia Lundholm puts environmental education under the microscope and highlights aspects that are still missing from this field of study.
Lundholm highlights the need for students to better understand society and the interdependent relations between them as invididuals, government and business and how collaborative and mutual support between these is necessary in order to respond to environmental challanges.
She argues that environmental education is largely missing the interrelated issues of ecosystem services and human-well being. A more a more multidisciplinary approach is needed.
“Environmental education must help students gain societal understanding and the ways society can respond to environmental challenges. Particularly a better understanding of economics is needed, because it allows students to understand the relationship between the private, social well-being and the environment," Lundholm says.
“We are facing problems that are inherently complex and unpredictable. Students should therefore be introduced to systems dynamics thinking and how everything in a social and ecological system is connected."
The price of nature
She goes on to say that a better understanding of financial aspects and economics in general can help students assess and elaborate on means for dealing with environmental problems and sustain resources, because it gives them a better understanding of what costs and benefits are involved in the governance of natural resources.
“Its important to consider nature in terms of the services it provides and develop an understanding of why nature is essential and how we affect ecosystem services in different ways," Lundholm says.
This shift in focus generates another way of understanding how ecosystem services are crucial to human well-being by way of support (e.g. nutrient cycling), provisions (e.g. food, fiber, fuel), regulations (e.g. climate, flood) and culture (recreational, aesthetical).
“As human beings we ultimately depend on the services that ecosystems provide, the current loss of these goods constitute a real threat. Consequently, current times require us to build knowledge that could help understand environmental problems and society's complex ways of responding," Lundholm concludes.
About the author
Cecilia Lundholms' research interest concerns communication and learning about environmental and sustainability issues. In particular, the interest focuses on people's conceptions and learning about nature, society and the individual and the relationship between these.
Research news | 2017-10-19
The starting point for a rethink on how we produce our food
Research news | 2017-10-18
Beatrice Crona awarded fellowship in new leadership programme on global health
Research news | 2017-10-16
How investments in solar energy go beyond access to electricity to positively affect people’s life expectancy and years of schooling
Research news | 2017-10-12
Stockholm Resilience Centre acts as impact partner for their Global Solutions Program
Research news | 2017-10-11
How pro-environmental interest groups were able to push for reforms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy
Educational news | 2017-10-02
Introducing our new executive programme in resilience thinking