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Environmental Education

Author: Tichaona Pesanayi - EEASA

( Article Type: Opinion )

Southern Africa, defined as the region within the southern African Development Community (SADC) is richly endowed with diverse biodiversity and excellent ecosystem services. It is also rich in its diverse people, numbering nearly 300 million, who are held together in communities of practice by the spirit of Ubuntu (‘I am because you are’). Approximately 75% of the people in the SADC Member States live in rural areas, with a yet greater proportion depending directly on natural resources for their daily livelihoods. However, the SADC region is also under present and future threat from HIV/AIDS, over-utilisation of natural resources, limited access to water and adequate food, climate change risk, lack of institutional efficacy and poverty among other constraints. A holistic perception of the environment clearly shows how the interplay between life-support systems, social, economic and political dimensions of our lives (see Figure below) requires inter-sectoral responses to emerging challenges of environmental deterioration

a holistic perception of environment

Responses to environmental risk
Various responses to environmental risk have been developed by humankind since the emergence of creative forces, and include local adaptive practices, national and regional environmental education programmes, and environmentally sound development projects such as sustainable agriculture, integrated water resources management, and more recently green jobs. Some of the best responses to environmental risk have been those that have combined learning from local and indigenous ways of knowing with modern technological solutions.
The importance of environmental education was recognised by SADC when in 1993 the Ministers of Environment established a regional environmental education programme (SADC REEP). Since it started operating in 1997, the SADC REEP has been working to enable environmental education practitioners in the SADC region to strengthen environmental education processes for equitable and sustainable environmental management choices.
This has been achieved through enhanced and strengthened environmental education policy, networking, resource materials, training capacity, research and evaluation. The SADC REEP approach to environmental capacity building has been to focus on people’s practices and learning, through enhancing capabilities to seek alternatives and increase access. The SADC REEP has also partnered with other regional and national environmental education (EE) initiatives, and also aligned with regional EE and education for sustainable development (ESD) processes. Environmental education discourse has been enriched by the declaration by world leaders of a United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD, 2005-2014), which has provided a more holistic approach to environmental issues in socio-economic contexts of risk and vulnerability. In southern Africa, EE and ESD have been strengthened by regional level networking through communities of practice such as the Environmental Education Association of southern Africa (EEASA).
Environmental networking through the EEASA
Community of Practice T
he Environmental Education Association of South Africa (EEASA) has operated in the SADC region since 1982, and has supported environmental education practitioners through its EEASA academic Journal and the EEASA bulletin. EEASA organises an annual conference every year and keeps its individual and corporate members up-to-date with regional and global trends in environment. EEASA’s publications are available on its website

Associated Sustainable Development Articles:

Eco-Logic , Sustainable Development ~ Education

Associated Organisations:

Future Nature Edu , 50/50 SABC , Advantage Audit, Consult and Train , Envirochild / Hout Bay Transition Town , Biophile Environmental Magazine , BirdLife South Africa , Planet Warriors , Bush Pigs Education & Conservation Company , Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership , Cape for Kids , Cape Institute for Agricultural Training: Elsenburg , CapeNature , The Cape Times Caltex Environmental Awards , Cape Town Snake Park , City of Cape Town - Environmental Planning , Centre for Environment, Agriculture and Development (CEAD) , Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA) , Marine Research Institute (Ma-Re) - University of Cape Town , Children's Eco Training , City of Cape Town Nature Reserves , Daveyton Environmental Youth Counsel , Delta Environmental Centre , Department of Environmental Extension and Project Development , Divwatt , DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology , Eagle Encounters , Eco-Access , EcoLink , WESSA Eco-Schools Programme , Ecotraining , Endangered Wildlife Trust - USA , EnviroEds , Environmental Education and Resources Unit - EERU (University of the Western Cape) , Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA) , Environmental Engineering Group (EEG) , Environmental Law Association (ELA) , Environmental Monitoring Group , Enviro Training Africa (Enviro-ED) , Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa , Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at The University of Pretoria , The Good Work Foundation , Get Bushwise , The Green Times , South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) - Biodiversity Education and Empowerment Programmes , Grass Roots Education , Greenprint Communications CC , Heinrich Boell Foundation , Humane Education Trust (Incorporating Compassion in World Farming (SA) and Animal Voice Magazine) , I`can~do , Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa , International Institute for Energy Conservation - Africa , Jungle Theatre Company , Mizpah Jeugkamp (Youth Camp) , Mountain Club of South Africa (Cape Town Section), (The) , The National Association of Conservancies/Stewardships of South Africa (NACSSA) , NCPC - National Cleaner Production Certre , National Research Foundation(NRF)(The) , Natural Step, Southern Africa (The) , Nedbank Group , Smith Ndlovu & Summers Attorneys , NOSA , Old Mutual Foundation: Out of the Box , People for Wildlife , Rand Water , School Environmental Education and Development (SEED) , WESSA Share-Net , Society of South African Geographers , South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) , South African National Parks , Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Environmental Educational Programme (REEP) , Sustainability United (SUN) , Treverton College and Preparatory , Two Oceans Aquarium , Umgeni Water , I am Changing the World Trust , White Rock Communications , Wilderness Action Group , Bergplaas Nature Reserve , Wilderness Foundation SA , Woolworths , Working on Fire , Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment - North West Province , World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park , WSP Environment & Energy , Zandvlei Trust , Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) , ZERI Southern Africa , Endangered Wildlife Trust , South African Association for Marine Biological Research , Eco-Logic Publishing , Biomimicry South Africa , Ezendalo Environmental Solutions , The Jane Goodall Institute South Africa , Steadfast Greening , Green Habit , Environmental Assurance , I am Changing the World Trust , Global Carbon Exchange , Indalo Yethu , Astronomical Society of Southern Africa - Dark Sky Section , Bicycle Cape Town , The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre - DE WILDT , Metamorphosis Environmental Consultants , UWC Nature Reserve , Metal and Paper Recycling , BlueBuck Network , Children's Eco Training , Department of Science and Technology , eWaste Association of South Africa (EWASA) , Generation Earth , Jungle Theatre Company , The Birches Eco-School , SA School Network , Youth Lab , Camdeboo National Park , Golden Gate Highlands National Park , Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park , Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site , Mountain Zebra National Park , |Ai|Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park , GreenMatter , The Healthy Catchment Alliance: an EWT, WESSA and CSA partnership in freshwater ecosystem conservation and the generation of water-linked livelihoods , African Climate Reality Project - Food & Trees for Africa , Blue North Sustainability (Pty) Ltd , Confronting Climate Change Initiative , The Eco-Brick Exchange