Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 373–381 | Cite as

Revitalization of the shared commons: education for sustainability and marginalized cultures

  • George E. Glasson


Education for sustainability provides a vision for revitalizing the environmental commons while preserving cultural traditions and human rights. What happens if the environmental commons is shared by two politically disparate and conflicting cultures? As in many shared common lands, what happens if one culture is dominant and represents a more affluent society with more resources and educational opportunities? In the case of the Tal and Alkaher study (Cult Stud Sci Edu, 2009), asymmetric power differences between the dominant Israeli society and the minority Arab population yielded different environmental narratives and perceptions of students involved in learning about a mediated conflict in national park land. Similarly, marginalized indigenous cultures in Malawi, Africa share common lands with the dominant European landowners but have distinctly different environmental narratives. Although indigenous ways of living with nature contribute to the sustainability of the environment and culture, African funds of knowledge are conspicuously absent from the Eurocentric school science curriculum. In contrast, examples of experiential learning and recent curriculum development efforts in sustainability science in Malawi are inclusive of indigenous knowledge and practices and are essential for revitalizing the shared commons.


Education for sustainability Revitalization of the commons Sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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