Environmental learning as a formal discourse has its roots in the mid 20th Century with the development of International conservation efforts and the birth of academic programs aimed at bringing to bear the multiple disciplines that inform environmental learning such as geography, geology, biology, and mathematics. Now, in the early 21st Century, we have the opportunity to draw on even older discourses, such as the land based knowing of Indigenous peoples around the planet, to reimagine how we conceive of our relationship to and responsibility towards the interconnected network of eco-systems that make up our home.
As the Institute for Environmental Learning moves into its next decade, we seek to build relationships with Indigenous community members and Knowledge Keepers to renew our vision of land-as-teacher, to move away from ideas of land as commodity, as recreational, and consumable. We seek to build relationships with land through environmental learning that is relevant, relational, reciprocal and respectful (Kirkness, 1991). Through our work we aim to co-construct new understandings of our relationship to land and place rooted in holistic and sustainable practices that honour not only human life, but all life.
David Zandvliet (SFU) and Shannon Leddy (UBC)