Start the week with Vol 1 of Environmental Education, and an extract from the first contribution

Start the week with Vol 1 of Environmental Education, and an extract from the first contribution

James Swan ends his (1969) essay for Phi Delta Kappan on ‘the challenge of environmental education’ with:

Environmental education has been offered as a challenge because it is a new and developing educational concept. As yet little research has been devoted to exploring the multitude of ways of involving citizens in environmental problem solving, and even less research has dealt with developing measures to assess environmental attitudes accurately. I hope, however, that educators across the country will realize the need for developing a better informed, more effective citizenry willing to meet the challenge of our degraded environment.

While research is in much better shape to address these shortcomings, Swan started his essay detailing problems in the USA in those times – concerns that, perhaps unsurprisingly, continue to resonate to this day: “No other society in history has been so materially rich and so environmentally degraded” … “a “policy by crisis” pattern” … “many of our environmental problems are actually problems of human behavior rather than problems of technology” … just some of the nuggets from the first page.

Swan’s penultimate paragraph argues environmental education is relevant to the needs and interests – and lives – of citizens as much as students. If you’ve read the article and would like to share your thoughts on it and such themes, either here or on the journal’s blog, please do so – standard netiquette rules apply.

PS Over the coming year, we will be tweeting and sharing extracts from various entries in the Major Works collection for Routledge on environmental education via @eerjournalEnvironmental Education Research.

We encourage you to order a copy for your library should you be interested in using this reference collection for research, reference or teaching needs – further details on the flyer and link:


Environmental Education Research in 2017

Dear Colleagues

In this start of year message, we provide a few further updates on the journal from 2016, and going into 2017:

About the Journal

Over the last few years, the journal has made good use of social media to keep readers and contributors abreast of the work in this field. If this is your thing too, you can find us via #eerjournal, @eerjournal, and

Please note we also invite authors to submit social media ready material with their manuscripts, e.g. to share via the publisher’s social media and other media tools. Other innovations in this online space include the possibility of video abstracts. Details via the above links, and at

To find out more about the journal’s board structure, reviewer guidance, and the various purposes and formats for manuscripts that can be submitted to the journal, please visit These are reviewed every 3 years; if you have any feedback on the latest versions, please direct that to the editorial office in the first instance.

Journal measures

The Journal’s Impact Factor rose again in 2016, to 1.374, as did the SNIP, to 1.692. This keeps the journal firmly in the top quarter (Q1) of ISI journals in Education and Education Research, and actually, near to the top 10% of the CiteScore ranking in Education. Information about which articles are being read, and those which are cited that lead to such outcomes, can be found at and

As we’ve noted before, perhaps it is little surprise that the highest impacts and rankings in education and education research continue to come from publishing “critical, integrative reviews of research literature bearing on education, including conceptualizations, interpretations, and syntheses of literature and scholarly work in a field broadly relevant to education and educational research.” {}

Issues, special issues, and virtual special issues

2017 will see the journal grow again to 10 issues a year. While online publication following acceptance, copy editing and formatting is usually very rapid, this ‘growth’ will again help us clear the considerable backlog of articles waiting to print in hard copy as well as create more space for special issues. (For the latest standard articles, see, while for general notes about SIs, see

2017 brings the publication of a special issue on examples, trends and challenges for environmental education and its research in Brazil, and we hope, some of those from recent calls for papers, e.g. related to botanic gardens, early childhood education, and studies in the Benelux region. As usual, our thanks go to the guest editors of these special issues for their work and leadership in pulling together these contributions to the field, and those working on the next clutch of SIs.


The editorial office now receives a submission equating to at least one paper every day of the working week. Time from submission to first decision has also dropped, last year it was to around 33 days (i.e. 5-6 weeks) – our particular thanks go to the editorial board and referees for enabling this to happen, as well as to those authors who have responded to the requests for feedback on the ‘quality of experience’ with the journal, which also shows marked improvement.

Regarding submissions, please note we continue to screen submissions so as not to bog down board members and referees with unnecessary or unsatisfying work. At risk of repeating the usual nostrums, problems with (a) addressing the aims and scope of the journal, (b) showing familiarity with both the literature and the trends and issues of the field, and crucially how a paper advances on those (e.g. theoretically, empirically, methodologically, etc.), and (c) the manuscript’s readiness for review (including using journal templates and being carefully proof read prior to submission), are the most typical reasons papers have struggled in the refereeing process.

Please also note that most articles typically requiring 2-3 rounds of reviewing as a minimum, sometimes less if good use is made of feedback from colleagues before submission or re-review, and professional editing services (such as those provided by the publisher, As ever we remain indebted to referees and the editorial board for sustaining such a high level of professional service and collegiality in responding to the requests of the editorial office.

Preparing for 2017

Each year, mindful of the need to reduce the volume of work and service refereeing involves, we strongly encourage authors to submit the best paper they can, consulting the guidance on the website, recently published articles and their critical friends before submitting, while in relation to requests for revisions, we particularly welcome concise and collegial commentaries on changes made to articles when resubmitting. For further advice, see

As 2017 gets underway, we are also always grateful if records are updated as to your usual and evolving areas of interest, alongside any changes in contact details, affiliations and emails, alongside availability to act as a reviewer during the coming twelve months. Please log in via to make these changes. We invite particular attention to the accuracy and scope of keywords indicating your expertise and interests, as these are relied upon in the reviewer selection process.

Should you feel unable to continue as an active member of the refereeing pool, please delete your account or contact the editorial office via In general, Claire Drake is the primary point of contact for the editorial office, via

One final point for the first half of 2017, Alan will be on sabbatical, so some of the chief editing duties will be shared with one of our associate editors, Justin Dillon. Alan and Justin have recently completed editing the Major Works of Environmental Education (, something else you might want to dip into in 2017 …

Finally, we always look forward to receiving submissions in line with the aims and scope of the journal, including in the newer formats. As a reminder, details can be found at and

On behalf of the editorial board, we thank you once again for your continuing support and contributions to the journal, and to end on a personal note, we wish you a very happy and productive New Year.

All good wishes,

Alan & Claire

Editorial Office, Environmental Education Research

Environmental education: critical concepts in the environment

Alan Reid and Justin Dillon, editor and associate editor respectively of the journal, Environmental Education Research, are delighted to announce that Environmental Education, a Major Works collection in the Critical Concepts in the Environment series, is now available (and just in time for Christmas!).

Addressing the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of this rapidly growing subject and its multidisciplinary corpus of scholarly literature, ‘Environmental Education’ is a new title from the acclaimed Routledge series, Critical Concepts in the Environment. Edited by two of the field’s leading scholars, this Major Works collection embraces a wide variety of methodological traditions to bring together in four volumes the foundational and the very best cutting-edge scholarship. The collection enables users to access—and to make sense of—the most important findings and theories that have been developed by environmental education research. It provides a synoptic view of all the key issues, current debates, and controversies.

‘Environmental Education’ is fully indexed and includes comprehensive introductions, newly written by the editors, which place the collected materials in their historical and intellectual context. It is an essential reference collection and is destined to be valued by scholars and students—as well as policy-makers and practitioners—as a vital one-stop research and pedagogic resource.

1,931 pages – © 2017 – Routledge – 9780415520256, pub: 2016-12-16

Source: Environmental Education (Hardback) – Routledge

Nicole Ardoin recognized for contributions to environmental education research

Congrats to one of the journal’s associate editors, Nicole Ardoin!


The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)—a network of more than 20,000 educators, researchers and organizational members in more than 30 countries—has recognized NICOLE ARDOIN, associate professor at the Graduate School of Education [Stanford University], with one of its highest honors for her outstanding contributions to research.

Ardoin, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, has worked for more than two decades to explore the role of education in informal settings as it relates to attitudes, values, knowledge and longer-term practices of sustainability and natural resource conservation. In this work, she has collaborated with parks, museums, aquariums, nature-based tourism programs and philanthropic foundations, among other community-based organizations.

Ardoin’s research emphasizes the importance of learning experiences that are social, place-based, immersive, connected to the natural world and relevant to everyday life for facilitating conservation and sustainability-related outcomes. Among her current projects, Ardoin is collaborating with NatureBridge, a provider of residential environmental learning in national parks, to explore socio-emotional learning in outdoor education programs. This work builds on a six-year partnership during which Ardoin and her team have pursued new approaches to research and evaluation in NatureBridge’s Yosemite and Golden Gate Park settings. Additionally, Ardoin is the social science lead on a National Science Foundation-supported interdisciplinary research study that considers the social and ecological effects of declining fog cover on California’s coastal redwoods.

Visit Stanford’s Graduate School of Education website to read more.

Global Environmental Education Partnership

A few of the board of Environmental Education Research have been involved in developing the GEEP over recent months. Here’s a video about that partnership, ‘a network for networks’, and ‘a network of networks’, for those working to advance environmental education around the world. Find out more at:

Transgressive learning in times of global systemic dysfunction: interview with Arjen Wals

Extracts from a recent open access interview between Michael Peters and board member, Arjen Wals – full article at the link:

Michael Peters (MP): I have been thinking of this interview now for quite a while, maybe when I first met you at the first Sustainability Education Policy Network conference because you are one of the few leaders in education to exercise a responsibility to rethink education and the school in times of global systemic dysfunction and you provide us with a new concept of ‘transgressive education’ as a means to do this. So perhaps before I get you to outline the relevant concepts perhaps you can give us something of your biography leading to your UNESCO chair.

Arjen Wals (AW): Both my parents were environmental educators. My mother worked with primary schools and developed tool kits and resources that engaged pupils in water quality issues in connection to the Rhine River. She linked cultural and environmental sensitivity by linking schools from Germany and The Netherlands that were connected by the river. My father, Harry Wals, was a key figure in the Dutch environmental education scene but also worked internationally. He was the Director of a Department of the city of The Hague that was responsible for school gardens, community gardens, educational city farms and environmental education programmes for schools and neighbourhoods. He also co-founded the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE), which is known for the Blue Flag and the Ecoschools.

Although I grew up being concerned about environmental issues, I did not think environmental education would be the solution – basically thinking that by the time society would be aware and care, it would be too late, if we ever would get to that point. So I opted for environmental engineering and more technical solutions to environmental problems. However, already in year two I realized that technological solutions tended to be end-of-pipe solutions that ignore the root causes of environmental issues, which are grounded in what I now call ‘global systemic dysfunction’. I became aware that environmental problems are not just about ecology and environment but also about social justice, inter-generational equity and the values we live by or are forced to live by as a result of the structures of which we are part. So, I suppose to the delight of my parents, I shifted to environmental education, which over time has become transformative learning for socio-ecological sustainability.

I have always worked internationally – indeed taking advantage of some of my father’s connections: he represented The Netherlands internationally at landmark conferences such as the 1970 IUCN conference in Nevada (where the Commission on Education and Conservation was established) and the 1977 Intergovernmental UNESCO–UNEP conference on EE in Tbilisi (which is still seen as defining moment in the history of EE). Thanks to him, I got in touch with one of the founding fathers of Environmental Education, Bill Stapp, a professor at the University of Michigan, who started the first research journal in the field, the Journal of Environmental Education in 1969 and became UNESCO’s first Director of EE in the mid-1970s. I ended up doing my PhD with him at University of Michigan, and in a modest way followed his footsteps when being appointed UNESCO Chair in Social Learning and Sustainable Development in 2008. Bill Stapp, my parents and the affordances of my upbringing, have played a key role in getting to the point where I am today.

MP: Thanks for that brief history. It does indicate how relatively recent EE is – roughly 50 years. What a fantastic legacy your parents left and now second generation that spans the first ecological era. A few quick questions: What was the topic of your PhD? Can you tell us a little about Bill Stapp – what were the influences upon you and what was his conception of EE?

Read on at:


MP: Looking to the future what are the main issues for education in the Anthropocene? And what you like to establish as your legacy?

AW: Well we need nothing less than a radical re-orientation of education. The one single species that has been able to alter the Earth’s ecosystems, climates, ocean levels, biodiversity in detrimental ways, must now find a way to do better. Indeed positivistic, reductionist, empirical analytical science and a neo-liberal economic system that demands continuous growth and innovation has broad us loads of possibilities and has made live for many very comfortable – although certainly not for all, but we now are beginning to understand that the ‘side-effects’ of this way of thinking are accelerating and limiting the futures for humanity and the other species we are dragging into our mess.

In a recent inaugural address at Wageningen University (Wals, 2015Wals, A. E. J. (2015). Beyond unreasonable doubt. Education and learning for socio-ecological sustainability in the Anthropocene. Second Inaugural address held on December 17th, 2015 upon accepting Personal Professorship in Transformative Learning for Socio-Ecological Sustainability. Wageningen:Wageningen University.), I stated that young people are disproportionately affected by global sustainability challenges in that they will have to live longer with the socio-ecological consequences of lifestyle and development choices made by the generation of their parents and grandparents, particularly in the wealthier parts of the planet. Fortunately, they will also have more time to work on them. It’s important that being aware of the nature and seriousness of sustainability issues is in itself insufficient for resolving or even improving them. In fact, raising awareness about sustainability issues without developing people’s capacity to meaningfully and adequately address them may lead to powerlessness, apathy and withdrawal and as such could potentially do more harm than good.

So here’s a task for education: engaging young people meaningfully in the key challenges of our time by creating spaces for integrative thinking, the consideration of values and ethics, the possibility to critique, act and transform, to find our common humanity and to explore ways – new, old, indigenous – to connect with those near and far in both time (past–present–future) and space (local–regional–global), with the human and the non-human and more-than-human. This will require a consideration of multiple ontologies and epistemologies, the transcending of disciplines: connecting the arts, humanities and the sciences, but also a deepening of democratic processes and what we might call the search for meaning as opposed to materiality. Perhaps we need to add another T to T-learning: transcendental learning. Disrupting the commodification of education and the hijacking of education for the single purpose of creating lifelong flexible workers, who need instant gratification by quick access to consumer gimmicks with short lifespans that feed into ever-shrinking attention spans, will be critical. Perhaps this is a rather bleak and somewhat exaggerated representation of modern education but I think the point I am trying to make is clear.

As far as my legacy is concerned … that sounds big. You know, I do sometimes wonder: does my academic writing and my travelling across the globe to speak at conferences about these concerns and ideas make any difference? Or worse, does it amplify unsustainability by enlarging my carbon footprint? Who reads nowadays? Who is able to listen for more than a few minutes uninterrupted by a WhatsApp sound, a text message, a news alert, a weather update? And those who do read and do listen or, better, engage in dialogue and conversation about these issues, what do they do with it? Do the stories and conversations travel further? My most optimistic answer is that over the years I have taught and mentored hundreds of students, I have ‘reached’ thousands of people attending events where I have spoken, and may-be I have reached some people who read my blog or my tweets. If only a small percentage of all of them have been triggered or disrupted or have been made slightly uncomfortable or perhaps been inspired … if only a small percentage has taken up some of what I am trying to advocate in their professional and personal life, then my ecological handprint might be bigger than my ecological footprint. Maybe in the end I will have had as much impact as my parents, and maybe my children in one way or another will take up some of this and carry it further. That would be quite something.


Arjen Wals is Professor of Transformative Learning for Socio-Ecological Sustainability at Wageningen University. He also holds the UNESCO Chair of Social Learning and Sustainable Development. Furthermore he is the Carl Bennet Guest Professor in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at Gothenburg University in Sweden. He obtained his PhD in 1991 with a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His dissertation tackled the interface of environmental psychology and environmental and sustainability education. His recent work focuses on transformative social learning in vital coalitions of multiple stakeholders at the interface of science and society. His teaching and research focus on designing learning processes and learning spaces that enable people to contribute meaningfully sustainability. A central question in his work is: how to create conditions that support (new) forms of learning which take full advantage of the diversity, creativity and resourcefulness that is all around us, but so far remain largely untapped in our search for a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect? In 2014 he was the lead author of an article published in Science Magazine on the role of citizen science in bridging science education, environmental education and sustainability. He is editor and co-editor of a number of popular books including: Higher Education and the Challenge of Sustainability (Kluwer Academic, 2004), Creating Sustainable Environments in our Schools (Trentham, 2006), Social Learning towards a Sustainable World with foreword by Fritjof Capra and an afterword by Michael Apple (Wageningen Academic, 2007), Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change (2012), and of Routledge’sInternational Handbook on Environmental Education Research (2013). He has (co)authored over 250 publications in multiple languages. Wals is a co-founder of Caretakers of the Environment/International and a recipient of the environmental education research award of the North American Association for Environmental Education, and former president of the Special Interest Group on Environmental & Ecological Education of the AERA. He writes a regular research blog that signals developments in the emerging field of sustainability

A brief and popular video of him arguing for the importance of the engagement of education with sustainability challenges can be viewed

Start the week by considering the convergence between science and environmental education

This new Routledge collection on the above theme is based on the selected works from one of the Journal’s Associate Editors, Professor Justin Dillon.

Justin writes:

“The invitation to put together this collection arrived while I was working at King’s College London where I expected to see out my academic career. However, some months later, during the extended period when I was gathering the permissions to reproduce the various chapters and papers in this volume, I moved to take up a new post at the University of Bristol. While for some people, moving institutions is normal if not the norm, for me it was very unusual. I started working at King’s in 1989 and left in 2014 – almost 25 years in one institution, and my standard response to questions about ‘moving on’ was ‘But where would I go?’ I have since wondered whether the process of going through my academic life’s work, deciding what stories I wanted to highlight and what I thought I had to say that’s worth reading now, made me more susceptible when Bristol approached me.

“The move from King’s to Bristol has impacted on my research and writing time. Leading a university department is immensely challenging and the learning curve is steep. At this stage in my career I am more likely to be asked to edit individual books or book series, handbooks and encyclopedia. I also find myself being asked to write forewords and editorials. The temptation to say ‘yes’ to opportunities is almost irresistible and I find myself working on a new project – the Routledge Science Education Series, with two good friends, Steve Alsop from York University in Canada and Marianne Achiam from Copenhagen University. While this series is embryonic, another series, with Peter Lang, [Re]thinking Environmental Education is going from strength to strength with contributions from new scholars as well as experienced ones.

“I feel very privileged to have worked with some of the brightest and best science and environmental educators over a number of years. I could not have written most of the contributions in this volume without their influence and ideas. And for that I am truly thankful.”

Find out more at: or