EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF MINOR RESEARCH PROJECT ON
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION THROUGH LITERATURE: ECO POETICS AND GREEN CULTURAL STUDIES OF SELECTED LITERARY AND CULTURAL PRODUCTION
By Shahina Mol, Asst: Professor of English
Contemporary world is in a global environmental crisis. It is slowly enveloping life on our planet. Literature must play a vital role for a cultural re awakening and should promote the idea of integral place of human beings within earth’s life. The educational process in a country has immense duties to be performed in this aspect. The lack of proper plan and a holistic approach to ecology can be traced in whole mainstream formal education system of India and other countries. Curricular statements must address these issues and brainstorm possible situations to deal with the environmental issues.
The best hope for learning to live sustainably lies in education which is ‘smart by nature’. ‘Eco education’ or ‘education for environmental awareness’ through ‘literature’ is identified as an effective way to weave the basics of eco- literacy through the curriculum at every grade level. Unfortunately we could not succeed in exploring the multifaceted outcome of these interdisciplinary studies to green our syllabi. This project focuses on the scope of integrating environmental education and literature to instill the values of sustainable environment among students and thereby proposing a plan for global environmental education through literature. In order to establish a plan of action , the project undertakes the eco critical exploration of selected literary/cultural productions so that to find out the eco consciousness in these works and thereby to understand and explore the effectiveness of these eco texts in greening the syllabi and there by inculcating ecological values among students through this interdisciplinary approach.
Many countries have made plans to meet the environmental crisis through promoting discussions and dialogues. Environmental education has been executed through various governmental and non governmental bodies and organizations. Studies in the area of eco criticism are also progressing. But the active integration of ecology and eco literature is still for away. Such a study concentrates on possibilities for thinking freshly about environmental challenges. Though studies in theoretical approaches are progressing abundantly in this field, not many researches were held in the area of environmental justice through pedagogy and literature.
In India, there were some genuine efforts to promote and sensitize the prevailing curricula regarding the need to incorporate pro- nature inclinations. But a systematic plan or approach to the serious engagement of students with nature is missing in the present system of education in our country.
When the environmental education is properly blended with literature with the suitable selection of eco texts from various genres including visual literatures, along with the sensitization of local /regional /national issues, the global significance can also be properly triggered. The proper introduction of selected eco texts can be an alternative strategy/ effective strategy for global environmental education, giving enough space for the selection of literatures with regional / national / global significance and importance.
The project is divided into six chapters including introduction and conclusion. The introductory chapter titled “Eco Education – Ecology through Literature: A Green Project explores the theoretical and practical possibilities of ecocriticism in this global scenario, examines the need for environmental education , and investigates on the scope of integration of ecology through English literature in all curricula in general and in the Under Graduate level in particular. The second chapter “Ecocriticism: Theory, Issues, Concerns and Practice” is giving insight to the literary and theoretical aspect of ecocriticism and its diverse rhetoric and verifies it as a base for this study. The ecocritical exploration of selected literary and cultural productions is made in the third chapter titled “Eco poetics and Green Cultural Studies: Ecocritical Exploration of Selected Literary and Cultural Productions”. The fourth chapter “Need for Revisiting Curriculum: Ecopedagogy through Green Literary and Cultural Texts” ensures the scope of integrating environmental education and literature through greening the syllabi by scientific selection of eco texts at the UG level. The fifth chapter “How far Green Our Syllabi are? A Survey Study among Faculties of English with Special Reference to UG English Common Course Curricula/ Syllabi”, is a study based on the survey conducted among faculties of English at colleges and universities regarding the evaluation of current syllabi at UG level and checks the need for reworking the syllabi at the content and strategic level. The concluding Chapter titled “Green Voices: Teaching for Eco Justice- A Goal of Twenty first Century” provides an analytical output of the study of environmental education through literature and insists the immediate need of a plan for eco education for the eco justice and its global significance in this 21st century.
The role of various literary and cultural productions in sensitizing ecological consciousness and thereby ensuring environmental activism for the planet is explored in this project. It proposes that the nation itself should develop a thorough scientific plan for the eco education by the active integration of green component in the syllabi. The need and scope of greening the syllabi is also studied here by evaluating the curricula and by conducting a survey among faculties giving focus to the curricula / syllabi of English common course at the undergraduate level in the University of Calicut.
The project states that Global Environmental Education’ requires such a critical reawakening from the part of educators. Education is the key site of opportunity to cultivate such methods of critical examination and re invention. Eco education for sustainability should be core purpose of education. To quote Martusewicz et.al. “The purpose of public schools ought to be to help develop citizens who are prepared to support and achieve diverse, democratic and sustainable societies because these are keys to our very survival” (2011, 8). Literatures/cultural productions, if wisely selected according to grade level, would be the best platform to instill such a positive attitude among learners.
The higher education system should view and implement it with most concern and care implementing compulsory component of eco education through literature for all graduation courses as part of common course. Wilderness education seeks, as Jonathon Fairbanks suggests, “A blend of reading, study and experience that create a sense that learning is part of greater whole that academic experiences contribute to life than nearly seeing as a formal prelude to it” (Turner 22). A proper eco education should blend experiential learning along with the theoretical, for better results.