Education Through Mobilisation: Toward Climate Change Mitigation

William Adlong

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    119 Downloads (Pure)


    This thesis shows that that new interpretations formed in social movements are significant contributions to human understanding and can be crucial in realising social, cultural and economic changes that avoid major environmental impacts. Environmental education, or education related to improving environmental (and social) outcomes, is more than what happens in schools and universities. It is also more than what happens in non-formal educational programs. An important dimension of the learning that leads to beneficial environmental outcomes occurs informally, often in networks, social movements that are mobilising to bring about better policies and conditions. This is an education that is integrated with action and can provide for the immediacy of response needed to influence political developments. Insightful deliberation by members of social movements infuse educational interactions inside and outside of the movements and influence policies, actions and discourses. One historically important issue that is influenced is climate change.The effects of climate change with the current growing emissions trajectory would likely lead to sea level rises of several metres, increased droughts, poverty and disease, major species extinction, and instability within and between nations. Disadvantaged peoples in particular stand to suffer the adverse effects of climate change. I have taken a practical, engaged and transdisciplinary orientation in this project to contribute to the task of abating greenhouse emissions. This thesis tells the story of actions taken and evidence-based interpretations formed with the aim of mitigating climate change. It is structured around a core of publications and submissions with the themes of: social movements in terms of Aristotelian notions of praxis, phronesis and practical philosophy; Habermasian conceptions of communicative spaces and processes of will and norm formation in the public sphere, which influence policy; advocacy and challenges to power and discourse not aligned to the collective good; challenges to objectivist, individualistic and behaviouristic conceptions of humans and environmental literacy; the promotion of renewable energy technologies and recognition of the evidence for the feasibility and health benefits of moving towards 100% renewable energy sources.I provide a rationale for interpreting as a form of research '' ''civic research'' '' some of the civic contributions to the communicative networks of social movements. I propose that civic research has made significant contributions to societal understanding and development for quite some time and that it often does so without something often regarded as fundamental to ''research'', namely methodology. My aim has been to draw on scholarship to act practically, reflect critically, and engage with various kinds of communities, not only to ''make a real difference'' in the world but specifically to put into social practice what science has taught us about anthropogenic climate change and what human beings can do about it. Doing this in a certain way, it turns out, is another form of research, another form of science.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    Award date01 Apr 2014
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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