The role of environmental education in reconciling economy and economy

This paper examines whether environmental education can work towards bridging together economy and ecology, allowing participants to realise that sustainable products can be attractive to consumers and economically interesting for producers.

The theoretical part starts by criticizing the ‘a priori’ views of a ‘bad’ economy and ’good’ ecology (or vice versa). Replacing this perception by one in which both serve welfare, it is assumed that consumers can increase sustainable consumption and producers can turn to sustainable production, provided that our ‘oikos’ supports the market of sustainable goods. On this basis, the following assumptions an questions emerge:

1. In any economic sector there exists a sustainable part. Is there no hope that this part can grow?

2. Producers are willing to produce sustainable goods, if there is no profit sacrifice. Is there no hope of adequate profit in such production?

3. Consumers are willing to turn to sustainable goods if these satisfy their needs. Is there no hope of adequate satisfaction from such goods?

These are investigated empirically, addressing to primary schoolchildren an environmental education project including action research activities on the availability of options for sustainable production and consumption. The target is for the children to:

 Become able to distinguish sustainable options and

 Develop preferences for such products, contributing in the creation of a ‘culture’ for sustainable goods in both consumption and production side.

The course is evaluated by means of a questionnaire before and after implementation and the results support the effectiveness of environmental education.