Pedagogies of Change: Rethinking the Role of the University During the Climate Emergency

Humphreys, David (2019). Pedagogies of Change: Rethinking the Role of the University During the Climate Emergency. The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability: Annual Review, 15(1) pp. 53–70.



This article presents some examples of teaching on environmental studies from recent Open University modules that encourage students to evaluate their role in responding to what should be seen as the greatest public welfare challenge of our age; global environmental degradation. This calls for a public education endeavour in its broadest sense, one involving not just the academy and students but the global public. Some universities in the UK have recognized that there is a now a climate emergency, raising the prospect of substantive changes to education governance, research and curriculum. Ecopedagogy offers the prospect of a new curriculum, a radical approach to education that resists the political and economic structures that generate environmental problems while working with social movements to generate an alternative environmental politics. It challenges those engaged in environmental education to rethink how they teach agency to students and what the role of the educator should be in equipping society to respond to environmental degradation. The article concludes that the recognition of a climate emergency suggests that universities should shift towards a more proactive ecopedagogical role as a matter of urgency.

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