Environmental education, ethics and action

In 2005 UNEP launched a pilot project on ‘Environmental Education, Ethics and Action’ at the World Environmental Education Congress in Italy. Through a workshop process participants at the WEEC 2005 contributed many ideas to the development of a workbook for teachers to ‘get started’ with ethics activities in their education programme. Since then the booklet ‘Environmental Education, Ethics and Action’ has been published and is proving to be one of UNEP’s more popular educational resources (see www.unep.org/training). This year, at the 2009 World Environmental Education Congress we aim to submit this booklet to Congress participants for revision and extension. In particular, we need to look at how the booklet should be updated, and how it can be adapted for other applications e.g. environmental ethics activities with youth.

The workshop will be structured around reviewing and developing a set of activities focussed on:

• Being critical: These activities encourage us to look beyond the obvious, and to practice becoming more critical.

• Self-Validating reduction: These activities encourage us to examine what happens when the potential of people, communities, places or landscapes is reduced in damaging ways.

• Complext questions and ethical quandaries: These activities encourage us to reflect on what happens when complex ethical questions are not easy to address.

• Ethics in action: These activities encourage us to explore ethics as an everyday activity.

• Re-imagining possibilities: These activities encourage us to think creatively outside the box and to creatively re-imagine the future with new possibilities.

• Ethics around the world: These activities encourage us to think about how ethical questions are being discussed in different places and cultures around the world.

• New category … This will accommodate new ethics activities that do not ‘fit’ into any of the above categories

We encourage participation from those with an interest in environmental education, ethics and action, and with examples of practice or new concepts that can enrich the existing workbook and contribute to its revision. Results of the workshop will be a set of recommendation on how to revise the booklets, together with updated activities and ideas for wider applications of the booklet for use amongst other groups e.g. youth groups etc.