Special Issue "Environmental and Sustainability Education: Building Bridges in Times of Climate Urgency"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 July 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jan Činčera
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, Masaryk University (MU), Faculty of Social Studies, The Czech Republic
Researcher, Technical University of Liberec, The Czech Republic
Interests: environmental and sustainability education; evaluation research, environmental literacy
Dr. Roman Kroufek
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Jan Evangelista Purkyne University; The Czech Republic
Researcher, Department of Environmental Studies, Masaryk University (MU), The Czech Republic
Interests: environmental education, environmental literacy, research methodology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to announce the Special Issue “Environmental and Sustainability Education: Building Bridges in Times of Climate Urgency”.

This Special Issue welcomes papers illustrating the need for cooperation among different stakeholders in the field of environmental and sustainability education (ESE). The topic is connected to the theme of the 11th World Environmental Education Congress “Building Bridges in Times of Climate Urgency”, to be held on 14–18 March 2022 in Prague, allowing synergy of our Special Issue with this event.

Closing the gaps between various stakeholders of ESE is a crucial challenge of our time, shaped by the urgency of existential threats to humankind. This Special Issue opens an opportunity for a broad range of manuscripts, including evaluation research, case studies, literature analyses, review studies, and essays.

The manuscripts are expected to discuss the metaphorical concept of a bridge between different facets in the field of environmental and sustainability education, like the practice–theory gap, the policy–practice gap, and the gap between various ESE-relevant discourses, different stakeholders, etc. For this Special Issue, we welcome manuscripts analyzing

  • how theory shapes ESE practice or how ESE practice leads to theory’s reshaping
  • how different ESE approaches influence each other to establish a new synergy,
  • what impact ESE research has on educational policy or how well-designed educational policy supports both research and practice
  • how formal and non-formal ESE initiatives support each other
  • how different stakeholders are inspired and can learn from each other in various ESE programs
  • how schools connected with their communities or schoolteachers of different specializations can learn to cooperate in ESE programs

Besides empirically oriented manuscripts, this Special Issue is open to meta-studies, literate reviews, or well-argued theoretical essays reacting to its theme.

Dr. Jan Činčera
Dr. Roman Kroufek
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • environmental and sustainability education
  • program evaluation
  • theory–research gap
  • policy– research gap

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Roots and Shoots: Building Bridges between Schools and Their Communities
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12543; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212543 - 12 Nov 2021
Viewed by 494
Abstract
The study analyses the benefits and challenges emerging from students’ interactions with community, teachers, and other students in the place-based education program Roots and Shoots, in the Slovak Republic. The study is based on qualitative analyses of data obtained from eight teachers and [...] Read more.
The study analyses the benefits and challenges emerging from students’ interactions with community, teachers, and other students in the place-based education program Roots and Shoots, in the Slovak Republic. The study is based on qualitative analyses of data obtained from eight teachers and 56 students interviewed in eight focus groups, and on quantitative data obtained from 53 students. Both the students and the teachers perceived the Roots and Shoots program as highly successful. The implementation of the program was challenged by the necessity of dealing with different levels of the students’ participation in decision-making, tensions between the involved and uninvolved students, and the complex nature of local sustainability issues. This study discusses the importance of engaging students in the participative process of solving real-world issues, reflecting the challenges of this educational approach. Full article
Article
Czech Preschool Children’s Conceptions about Nature
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10962; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910962 - 02 Oct 2021
Viewed by 430
Abstract
This study focused on young children’s understanding of nature, an issue observed to be a research gap in the scientific community. The question “What nature?” is central to this research. Answers to this question were obtained from 342 children from 21 Czech kindergartens, [...] Read more.
This study focused on young children’s understanding of nature, an issue observed to be a research gap in the scientific community. The question “What nature?” is central to this research. Answers to this question were obtained from 342 children from 21 Czech kindergartens, and results showed 302 preschool and children (aged from 3 to 6.5 years) from the sample displayed a conceptual understanding of nature and expressed their ideas verbally. Qualitative content analysis and comparative analysis (nouns and verbs separately) were performed on the results. Most children interpreted nature through lists of objects or as a space or a concrete place, and most of the objects mentioned related to living nature. Children used verbs describing natural events more often than verbs describing their own or human activities in nature. The comparison between children’s, adults’, and pupils’ concepts of nature shows that children expressed their concepts in a similar, albeit not identical, manner to adults. They expressed the utilitarian and aesthetic value of nature, showed a scientific interest and an emotional connection to nature, and showed their joy in interacting with nature. Children understood nature more positively (no fear, aversion, or efforts to control nature) than adults. Czech children noticed more plants and mushrooms than Norwegian children. A similar percentage of Czech and Australian children included people on their lists of nature. Although certain similarities in children’s answers were noted, each child understands nature individually. Teachers should respect this fact and consider this in environmental and global education. Full article
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Article
Children’s Pictorial Expression of Plant Life and Its Connection with School-Based Greenness
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4999; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094999 - 29 Apr 2021
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Previous research highlights the positive influence that experiences in nature have on children’s physical, emotional and conceptual development. There is also evidence that indicates that the availability of green areas on school grounds is associated with pupils’ better academic performance as well as [...] Read more.
Previous research highlights the positive influence that experiences in nature have on children’s physical, emotional and conceptual development. There is also evidence that indicates that the availability of green areas on school grounds is associated with pupils’ better academic performance as well as with their comprehension of wildlife. This study examines the drawings that 152 children completed with the objective of expressing their understanding of the plant world. Approximately half of the drawings were depicted by children that attend a school with green areas within the school site as well as in the surrounding area. The remaining half of the sample includes the illustrations that children attending an educational centre with, virtually, no green areas within the school premises or in the immediate vicinity. Notwithstanding the fact that the two schools involved in the study belong to a similar social context and they are relatively close to each other, the results show relevant differences between the drawings by the two groups compared, in terms of the pictorial content and the utilisation of colour. The results are discussed in light of the growing number of studies that emphasise the positive impact that close contact with nature has on children’s everyday life at school. Full article
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