Congress Activities

Congress activities will center on one of the three cross-cutting questions.

Political Forum : 5 panels

1. Major international organizations to support environmental education

Wednesday May 13th, 10:30 – 12:00
Room 517CD

President : Claude Villeneuve, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada
Panelists :

In the years following the Stockholm Conference, international organizations played a key role in the promotion of environmental education (EE). Not only were these organizations in a position to rally their members to the cause of developing and promoting EE initiatives through their statements of principle, they were also able to play an important part in building content, disseminating information, supporting local initiatives and linking stakeholders and researchers from the field together through networks. A case in point is the significant contribution UNESCO’s International Environmental Education Programme made in the two decades following the Stockholm Conference. Other organizations also furthered the development of EE in a variety of ways, often as an adjunct to their main mission.

 But as the concept of sustainable development arose sharply in the aftermath of the Brundtland Report and Rio Summit, that dynamic began to change. Many came to see the environment and sustainable development as one and the same, shifting the focus away from environmental education and moving it to the backburner. One could almost say that placing EE within the global quest to find a happy medium between economic growth and environmental protection stripped it of its holistic and critical dimensions. From that moment on, many NGOs and researchers seemed to favour promoting EE as a form of education separate and distinct from the idea of sustainable development. This is naturally not the case with the UN’s system of instrumentalizing EE within broader education to ensure a viable future and sustainable development.

 As international organizations are increasingly called upon to promote sustainable development, are we to assume that they have abandoned EE or that, conversely, education on sustainable development can only be achieved through a strong and distinct EE system? What do international organizations see as their EE role today? What are the barriers preventing these two concepts from evolving in unison?

2. The national government agencies as levers of environmental education

Tuesday May 12 th, 8:30 - 10:00
Room 517CD

President : Patrick Charland, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Panelists :

Since the 1960s, societies the world over have been gradually becoming more conscious of the magnitude, severity and complexity of the environmental problems facing our planet. Despite the many commitments on education made by political decision-makers over the years, little concrete action seems to have been taken with regard to incorporating environmental education into school curricula. Environmental education has thus far largely been carried out — and institutionalized — outside of the classroom. More recently, however, many of the educational reforms that are being instituted around the world appear to be placing greater emphasis on environmental concerns and environmental education components. In this forum, panellists and participants will be invited to discuss:

3. City’s leadership in environmental education

Tuesday May 12 th, 13:30 - 15:00
Room 517CD

Presidents : Normand Brunet, associate professor at the Institut des sciences de l’environnement de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada  and Jacques Tremblay, Ville de Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Panelists :

Rising to the EE urban challenge means creating conditions that enable citizens to grow awareness about the complex and fragile nature of their environment and thereby act in an eco-responsible manner. EE is a set of practices (activities–programs–policies) that together help arm every individual and community with the tools they need and make them accountable for their actions. This Political Forum appeals to municipal governments (or local authorities) by inviting their representatives from various continents to address the following questions: What can EE stakeholders do to mobilize urbanites and encourage development of eco-citizenship awareness? How can EE players foster and stimulate development of eco-citizenship skills among urbanites to encourage greater responsibility and increased social and political action? How can local authorities create conditions conducive to the emergence of eco-citizenship awareness among their constituents?

4. Universities, more specifically departments of education science

Tuesday May 12 th, 10:30 -12:00
Room 517CD

President : Patrick Charland, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Panelists :

Concerns about the state of the planet we all share have grown considerably since the second half of the 20th century. Our focus on the ecological aspects of this situation has sharpened, as has our concern for addressing these matters through education. Many university departments and faculties have now incorporated an environmental component into their research activities and training programs. In universities, as elsewhere, the environment has thus become the quintessential cross-cutting, cross-disciplinary issue. This has brought about the emergence of environmental education and its deployment in a diversity of social contexts where educators learn and apply this fundamental dimension of education. How have universities succeeded in training teachers in environmental education? Where do things stand today? What does the future hold?

In this forum, panelists and participants will be invited to discuss:

1. some of the local, national or international university initiatives aimed at training teachers in environmental education;

2.   their thoughts and observations on changes and trends in teacher training on environmental education;

3.   the issues raised by the above thoughts and observations;

4.   statements on actual or pending action plans;

5.    the elements of an agenda for environmental education in teacher training.  

5. Youth organization action in mobilizing and environmentally educating

Tuesday May 12 th, 15:30 - 17:00
Room 517CD

Presidente : Jérôme Normand, Environnement Jeunesse, Quebec, Canada
Panelists :