Empowering Teachers through Environmental and Sustainability Education draws inspiration from an empirical study exploring early career teachers’ attempts at enacting Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) in their everyday teaching practices. It showcases how a confluence of personal, professional and environmental identities supports implementation of ESE. Additionally, this book discusses key concepts and issues surrounding ESE and the ways in which teachers may claim agency and power to create change in their classroom practices. Drawing from theoretical perspectives, such as Bourdieu’s ‘thinking tools’ habitus and capital, theories of identity, and Foucault’s concept of power and knowledge relations, this book explores how teachers negotiate policies, curriculum and institutional norms to further theoretical and practical understanding of ESE. The use of personal narratives offers new insights into teachers’ agency in creating localised yet powerful change through small and meaningful actions. The purpose of this book, therefore, is to explore ways in which meaningful change can be made in educational settings through these small agentive and yet empowering steps.

This book reveals that teachers can enact agency and navigate the power structures that exist within educational settings in order to make ESE meaningful within their classrooms. 

chapter 1|11 pages


Finding hope amidst future concerns

chapter 2|15 pages

Educational landscapes

ESE curricular initiatives and change

chapter 3|11 pages

Identities matter

Teachers’ identities as a lens into teachers’ everyday practices

chapter 4|11 pages

Enacting agency and negotiating power

A theoretical framework

chapter 5|17 pages

Empowerment through storytelling

A combinational methodology

chapter 6|13 pages

Community partnerships—‘Just sneak it in’

Subversive ways to include ESE

chapter 7|14 pages

The whole-school approach in ESE schools

‘I’m the lucky one here’

chapter 8|21 pages

ESE in early childhood education

‘We do lots of little things … now’

chapter 9|14 pages

ESE in status quo schools

‘It’s just not a priority’

chapter 10|14 pages

The hierarchical school and ESE

‘New teachers cannot do anything’

chapter 11|16 pages

ESE in a rural school

‘We became the grade who does things’

chapter 12|7 pages

Hope for the future

Enacting power and agency in ESE