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Revista Lusófona de Educação

versão impressa ISSN 1645-7250


SCHMIDT, Luísa  e  GUERRA, João. From Environment to Sustainable Development: Contexts and Actors of Environmental Education in Portugal. Rev. Lusófona de Educação [online]. 2013, n.25, pp.193-211. ISSN 1645-7250.

As part of the UNESCO Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) 2005-2014, a study was undertaken with the main aim of determining the type of projects, subject areas and participants involved in environmental education (EE) in Portugal. The study was based on two national surveys - one directed at a wide range of non-school state, private and cooperative organisations; the other at primary and secondary schools. The specific objective was to determine the extent to which the promoters and facilitators of EE/ESD have adopted the new trends and concepts emerged in this area, taking into account the fact that on-going initiatives may follow two differing approaches: i) a more naturalist and traditional approach based on natural scientific knowledge, and ii) a newly-developing and more innovative approach that places greater emphasis on the close ties and dynamic relationships between environmental quality, socio-political and socio-economic factors. Notwithstanding controversies arising for differing reasons (inertia/conservatism or complaint/contestation), the aim of this new approach is to achieve a more significant role for sustainable development in the broad social field of citizenship education and mobilising support for sustainable development. By reporting some of the most representative results, our aim is to contribute to a description of EE/ESD based on empirical observation. One finding, for example, refers to the persistent narrowing of the field of action that results from the predominance of ecological over civic issues. The general picture, despite some exceptions, is of initiatives dominated by traditional formats and themes (e.g. urban solid waste, nature conservation) and an underestimation of other areas of equal importance for sustainable development, such as greater coordination between schools and local communities in dealing with problems related to socio-economic, health, urban planning, quality of life, etc. Trend that is also evident in the excessive weight given to younger students, to the detriment of a wider approach that would broaden the scope of EE by including the entire age range of school communities, and a model that involves more effective ties with local communities, as described above.

Palavras-chave : environmental education; sustainable development; schools; Portugal.

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