Researchers meet the Practitioners


School Culture and Sustainable Development

The culmination of the year 2017 for SIRENE was a seminar held at Think Corner in the University of Helsinki in December entitled “Researchers Meet the Practitioners” where the discussion revolved around the present condition and future of environmental education. The keynote of the day was given by Doctor of Education Seppo Saloranta who presented the results of his doctoral research. According to him, changing the school culture to be more sustainable requires a systematic approach, resources and especially the strong support of the school management.

In the workshops, the change in the school culture was discussed from the perspectives of e.g. early childhood education and comprehensive school and through an eco-social approach to education. The workshop entitled “The 2030 Agenda and the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development” discussed the teaching of the sustainable development goals and the role of the society’s commitment as an instrument of change. Learning should be based on a hierarchy with a strong sustainability approach where ecological sustainability serves as the foundation for the achievement of all goals.

From Eco-anxiety to Climate Education

In addition to school culture, the second main theme of the seminar was climate education, which was discussed in two workshops and a panel discussion. In the panel discussion moderated by Adjunct Professor Hannele Cantell, Dr. Panu Pihkala (theology), Dr. Laura Riuttanen (climate research) and film director John Webster discussed climate change, eco-anxiety and climate education. The panellists were also personally familiar with eco-anxiety. The effort to keep up hope was seen as an integral part of climate education. The afternoon closed with a documentary related to the theme: “Little Yellow Boots” directed by John Webster.

Photo: Sirpa Tani

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