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Trading Zones in Environmental Education

Creating Transdisciplinary Dialogue


Edited By Marianne E. Krasny and Justin Dillon

Environmental educators often adhere to a relatively narrow theoretical paradigm focusing on changing attitudes and knowledge, which are assumed to foster pro-environmental behaviors, which, in turn, leads to better environmental quality. This book takes a different approach to trying to understand how environmental education might influence people, their communities, and the environment. The authors view changing environmental behaviors as a «wicked» problem, that is, a problem that does not readily lend itself to solutions using existing disciplinary approaches. The book as a whole opens up new avenues for pursuing environmental education research and practice and thus expands the conversation around environmental education, behaviors, and quality. Through developing transdisciplinary research questions and conceptual paradigms, this book also suggests new practices beyond those currently used in environmental education, natural resources management, and other environmental fields.
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Chapter 3. Building Capacity for Community-Based Natural Resource Management with Environmental Education: Martha C. Monroe and Shorna Broussard Allred



Chapter 3

Building Capacity for Community-Based Natural Resource Management with Environmental Education

Martha C. Monroe and Shorna Broussard Allred

A variety of programs around the world seek to engage local people in the management of their natural resources; we call these programs collectively community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Environmental education (EE) programs can enhance the success of these CBNRM programs by engaging participants, building capacity, and evaluating processes and outcomes. In some communities, EE programs are embedded into the CBNRM design; in other communities, EE activities are developed by organizations or agencies outside the CBNRM framework, but nevertheless effectively enhance the community’s ability to manage resources through the above avenues. Because the process of learning involves gaining information, understanding, and skills in such a way that individuals become more competent to act, the two fields complement each other well. CBNRM programs provide the opportunities to participate; EE programs offer strategies to prepare individuals to do so. As researchers who focus on CBNRM address the human dimensions of capacity and community change, and as environmental education researchers explore the community-level impacts of EE programs, both fields begin to ask similar questions and develop complementary findings. We suggest the intriguing work on social capital, social learning, and power has rich areas of overlap. As more people ← 45 | 46 → participate in resource management decisions, differences of perspective and conflicts are more likely to occur. A strong EE program can assist by providing a common framework for collecting...

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