Diminishing footprints: exploring the local and global challenges to place-based environmental education

Diminishing footprints: exploring the local and global challenges to place-based environmental education

  • paper in current issue

David Chang

Pages: 722-732 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1249458


An efficacious response to the ecological crisis requires a thorough examination of our material entitlements and a willingness to reduce our ecological impact by diminishing current levels of consumption. Drawing on the example of air pollution in China, I present a case for the reduction of consumption and impact as a worthy outcome of place-based environmental education. I consider the challenges that place-based educators face in initiating a reduction in collective impact among its constituents, which stem from theoretical assumptions about the link between the local and the global, and the influence of non-local socio-economic forces. Because the current planetary situation complicates the task of the place-based educator, and one’s investment in place may be assailed by trans-national forces, I forward ecological virtue ethics as a complementary form of environmental education, which in conjunction with place-based education, can serve to promote a reduction in consumption and impact among local communities.

Keywords: Environmental education, place-based education, local, global, virtue ethics, ecological footprint




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