Environmental crisis and scientific thinking: which science education for sustainability?

Laura Colucci-Gray, Elena Camino


Global environmental problems are on the rise and more than ever before they are presenting humanitywith the challenge of dealing with increasing levels of complexity and ignorance with regard to their natureand manifestations. To deal with such issues, a change of both culture and epistemology is required. Theframework of sustainability science calls for a dialogical approach to knowledge production, valuingepistemic and reflexive knowledge that is produced in the course of cooperative exchanges betweendisciplines, people and groups, each one bringing different sets of experiences, values and methodologicalframeworks. It is argued that this approach to knowledge production is ethically relevant – bringing forththe values of co-existence and legitimization of the other- and it is at the basis of peaceful and sustainableco-existence of humanity on the Earth. Hence dealing with complex problems such as climate change ineducation is no longer and simply a matter of content but it involves the redefinition of the process of‘knowing’, which is both and at the same time cognitive and relational, emotional and ethical. In this view,learning in science will involve a multiplicity of knowledge competences – linguistic, social, logical, practicaland creative – to value mutual and collective engagements with personal actions in a global context.

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