Teaching and learning for spiritual relations with Nature
Modern Western Culture (MWC) is based in a materialist and mechanistic ontology that has marginalized spiritual relationality with the natural world. Awe of the Earth once maintained respectful relations between humans and Nature, where shared community existence was a primary concern. Through the rise of the MWC, reverence for the spirit of the Earth has gradually been lost and has altered the way humans situate themselves in the world. Many claim that as the divide between humans and Nature grows, significant barriers to thoughtful and sustainable ways of living have emerged, and reconnecting, or healing this divide is essential in the movement toward environmental sustainability. To address this divide, this research uses the reflective and iterative processes of action research together with feminist post-structural analysis to examine barriers to human-Nature relations at a spiritual level. It explores dominant discourses that act on middle years students and determine what is possible for student-Nature relations in a public school setting. The dominant discourses are embedded in three main themes: role of the city, social acceptance, and technology. Discourses within each theme have been deconstructed, identifying how they are reproduced or disrupted, the implications of adopting the discourses, and how alternatives may be encouraged in school to support spiritual relations with Nature. This research takes a small step toward broadening the possibilities of how people relate with Nature by including spiritual relations with Nature, and begins to erode a clearly identified barrier to achieving sustainability.
DegreeMaster of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)
DepartmentSchool of Environment and Sustainability
ProgramEnvironment and Sustainability
CommitteeMcVittie, Janet; Kricsfalusy, Vladimir
Copyright DateSeptember 2014
spiritual, human-Nature relationships, environmental education, Nature connection, relationality.