chapter  5
17 Pages

The Environment, Climate Change, Ecological Sustainability, and Antiracist Education

ByGEORGE J. SEFA DEI

Climate change is not independent of a body and its politics. The study of climate change is interlinked with questions of power, social difference, equity, and justice. If we do not address the problem of climate change there will be no justice or equity for humanity to speak about. This paper enthuses the possibilities for transformation by applying a critical antiracist lens to education for environmental sustainability. The paper engages both the ‘social’ and ‘physical’ and conceptualizes ‘environment’ broadly to include the sociocultural and the natural physical realms. Such conceptualization is reasonable given that in times of actual and looming climatic change/environmental crisis what is needed is an antiracist interrogation of the image of environment as a ‘management’ issue. For example, as pointed out later, we must trouble the particular conceptions of ‘Earth/planet’s peoples’ as representing different ethnicities and cultures confl ated into a singular humanity. Such representations, however well-intentioned, mask the implications of how we speak of the ‘global’ devoid of power, complicity, and responsibility. Such liberal representations claim notions of the ‘self’ and ‘other’ and the constitutive sociocultural identities as essential to understanding of human communities and our relationships to Earth’s vulnerability, given current human ecological arrangements. We need to show how race/racism informs the production, distribution, and reception of representations of the social and natural environments at particular moments and the concomitant distribution of power and resources. In other words, we must understand what particular power relations and distribution and allocation of material and nonmaterial resources infl uence the way the environment is understood and related to cultures and social groups in society.