Science Education Futures. Science Education as if the Whole Earth Mattered.

  • Donald Gray University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom


In 1990 a gathering of ecopsychologists took place at the Harvard Centre for Psychology and Social Change to participate in a conference entitled “Psychology as if the Whole Earth Mattered”.  They concluded that “if the self is expanded to include the natural world, behavior leading to destruction of this world will be experienced as self-destruction” (Roszak, Gomes, & Kanner, 1995). I take this idea into the realm of science and science education which I suggest requires a reconfiguration and extension of science into a new inter- and trans-disciplinary realm of sustainability science with implications for renewed pedagogies of science in schools and universities. Such a changing perspective requires greater vision, creativity and imaginative approaches to address the problems currently facing the planet and the future of humanity. This paper provides an overview of a journey in science education over the years covering a range of views around science: starting from what we might consider to be the idea of modern science and how that science has been transformed into “big science” and “techno-science”. Further, in the current era of the Anthropocene (Steffen, Crutzen, & McNeill, 2007) it can be argued that such approaches to science need to be reformed to take account of ideas such as post-normal science (Funtowicz & Ravetz, 1994),  sustainability science (Clark & Dickson, 2003) and holistic science (Bohm, 1980; Goodwin, 1997). Using the concepts of planetary boundaries (Rockström et al., 2009b) and doughnut economics (Raworth, 2012, 2017) as a framework, consideration is given to what this might mean for science education futures.


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