Searching for a crack to let environment light in: ecological biopolitics and education for sustainable development discourses
This article traces the shifts in environmental education discourses from the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, to the 2012 UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, and beyond through a biopolitical lens. Each of the earlier shifts is reflected in environmental, sustainability and science education policies and curricula—but what of the most recent shifts at Rio+20 and in UNESCO’s (2014) Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development? The article examines how the ecological version of politics emerged and then became integrated into technocentric biopolitics and how this shift affected the shaping of environmental, sustainability and science education policies and curricula. In particular, the article analyzes the shifting biopolitical interfaces that have occurred between “natural environment” and “society”—from a goal of preserving the natural foundations of life to a focus on exploiting these foundations, modifying and transforming the environment through scientific and technological means—and the manifestations of this in Australian curriculum documents.
KeywordsBiopolitics Environment Environmental education Sustainability Science education
- Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (ACARA). (2015). Australian curriculum: Endorsed and approved. Media Release 18 September. Retrieved from www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/20150918_AC_endorsed_media_release.pdf.
- Australian Curriculum and Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014a). The Australian Curriculum. 7.0. Retrieved from www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/.
- Australian Curriculum and Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014b). The Australian Curriculum. 7.0. Retrieved from www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/CrossCurriculumPriorities/Sustainability.
- Australian Curriculum and Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014c). The australian curriculum. 7.0. F-10 Curriculum humanities and social sciences: History. Retrieved from www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanities-and-social-sciences/history/curriculum/f-10?layout=1.
- Australian Curriculum and Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014d). The Australian Curriculum. 7.0. F-10 Curriculum Science. Retrieved from www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/science/curriculum/f-10?layout=1.
- Australian Education Council (AEC). (1994). A statement on science for australian schools. Carlton, Victoria: Curriculum Corporation.Google Scholar
- Bita, N. (2015). Phonics, coding and faith as nation’s schools go back to basics. In The Weekend Australian, 19–20 September, pp. 1–10.Google Scholar
- Cohen, L. (1992a). Anthem. On the future. New York: Columbia/Sony Music.Google Scholar
- Cohen, L. (1992b). Anthem (1992–1993). Interview 1992. Retrieved from http://www.leonardcohen-prologues.com/.
- Cooper, M. (2008). Life as surplus: Biotechnology and capitalism in the neoliberal era. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
- Environment Australia. (2000). Environmental education for a sustainable future: National action plan. Canberra: Environment Australia.Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality, volume one, an introduction. (Robert Hurley, Trans.). New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
- Gough, A. (1997). Education and the environment: Policy, trends and the problems of marginalisation. Australian Education Review Series No. 39. Melbourne, Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research.Google Scholar
- Greenall, Annette. (1980). Environmental education for schools: Or how to catch environmental education. Canberra: Curriculum Development Centre.Google Scholar
- Lemke, Thomas. (2011). Biopolitics: An advanced introduction. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Liesen, L. T., & Walsh, M. B. (2011). The competing meanings of “Biopolitics” in political science: Biological and post-modern approaches to politics. Paper presented at the American Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, 1 September.Google Scholar
- Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W. (1972). The limits to growth. A report for the Club of Rome’s project on the predicament of mankind. New York: Universe Books.Google Scholar
- Ministerial Council on Education Employment Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (1999). The Adelaide declaration on national goals for schooling in the twenty-first century. Retrieved from www.mceecdya.edu.au/mceecdya/adelaide_declaration_1999_text,28298.html.
- Ministerial Council on Education Employment Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Retrieved 24 from www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf.
- Nancy, J-L. (2007). The creation of the world or globalization (Francois Raffoul; David Pettigrew, Trans.). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Shiva, V. (1995). Biotechnological development and the conservation of biodiversity. In V. Shiva & I. Moser (Eds.), Biopolitics: A feminist and ecological reader in biotechnology (pp. 193–213). London: Zed Books/Third World Network.Google Scholar
- Shiva, V. (1997). Biopiracy: The plunder of nature and knowledge. Boston, MA: South End Press.Google Scholar
- Thorson, T. L. (1970). Biopolitics. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
- United Nations. (1972). Declaration of the United Nations conference on the human environment. Retrieved from www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?documentid=97&articleid=1503.
- United Nations. (1993). Agenda 21: Earth summit: The United Nations programme of action from Rio. New York: United Nations. Retrieved from http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf.
- United Nations. (2002). Report of the world summit on sustainable development: Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August-4 September 2002. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/jsummit/html/documents/summit_docs/131302_wssd_report_reissued.pdf.
- United Nations. (2012) The future we want: Outcomes document adopted at Rio+20. Rio de Janeiro: United Nations. Retrieved from http://www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/727The%20Future%20We%20Want%2019%20June%201230pm.pdf.
- UNESCO (1975). The Belgrade charter: A global framework for environmental education. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0001/000177/017772eb.pdf.
- UNESCO. (1978). Intergovernmental conference on environmental education: Tbilisi (USSR), 14–26 October 1977. Final Report. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
- UNESCO (2004). United Nations decade of education for sustainable development 2005–2014. Draft international implementation scheme. October 2004. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/file_download.php/03f375b07798a2a55dcdc39db7aa8211Final+IIS.pdf.
- UNESCO. (2005). United nations decade of education for sustainable development (2005–2014): International implementation scheme. ED/DESD/2005/PI/01. Retrieved October 7, 2013, from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001486/148654e.pdf.
- UNESCO. (2013). Proposal for a global action programme on education for sustainable development as follow-up to the United Nations decade of education for sustainable development (DESD) After 2014. Executive board 192 EX/6. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002223/222324e.pdf.
- UNESCO. (2014). Roadmap for implementing the global action programme on education for sustainable development. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002305/230514e.pdf.