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Abstract

Transition Initiatives are a movement started in early 2005 from an Anglo-Saxon Permaculture training centre. The proposed methodology from the successful Transition Network suggests steps and stages, strategies and practical examples of how to generate the transition to a society less dependent on consumption of oil and its derivatives. What is expected of this less dependence on oil is a greater resilience to a future affected by climate change. Another unique feature of this proposal is the projection of an image of low conflict, which converges with the recommendations of use positive speeches fleeing the apocalyptic alarmism. Anyway, the weak link between Environmental Education and the Transition Movement is, in a way, a paradox. Non-confrontational strategy in Transition Movement confronts the fallacy of a neutral educational action, because educational actions are always political.
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 237 ( 2017 ) 925 – 930
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
ScienceDirect
1877-0428 © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of EDUHEM 2016.
doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2017.02.130
7th International Conference on Intercultural Education “Education, Health and ICT for a
Transcultural World”, EDUHEM 2016, 15-17 June 2016, Almeria, Spain
Resilient communities to climate change. Environmental education
and movement in transition connection
Miguel Pardellas Santiago, Lucía Iglesias da Cunha & Pablo Á. Meira Cartea
*
University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, 15782, Spain
Abstract
Transition Initiatives are a movement started in early 2005 from an Anglo-Saxon Permaculture training centre. The proposed
methodology from the successful Transition Network suggests steps and stages, strategies and practical examples of how to
generate the transition to a society less dependent on consumption of oil and its derivatives. What is expected of this less dependence
on oil is a greater resilience to a future affected by climate change.
Another unique feature of this proposal is the projection of an image of low conflict, which converges with the recommendations
of use positive speeches fleeing the apocalyptic alarmism. Anyway, the weak link between Environmental Education and the
Transition Movement is, in a way, a paradox. Non-confrontational strategy in Transition Movement confronts the fallacy of a
neutral educational action, because educational actions are always political.
© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of EDUHEM 2016.
Keywords: Transition Initiatives, resilience, environmental education, peak oil, climate change
1. Introduction
It is true that higher education institutions should assume the task of training into a culture of sustainability. Some
universities have implemented initiatives linked to "Transition Movement" whose characteristics are presented below.
Midway through the seventies there appeared a new conception of what should be the relationship between human
beings and nature; between people and stable agricultural systems. The focus of mode of thought called Permaculture
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +34881813745 (13747)
E-mail address: miguel.pardellas@usc.es; lucia.dacunha@usc.es; pablo.meira@usc.es
© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of EDUHEM 2016.
926 Miguel Pardellas Santiago et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 237 ( 2017 ) 925 – 930
movement is harmonically integrate lifestyle, housing and landscape. The base of its strategy is to save materials,
produce less waste, and conserve natural resources. It is suggested a design of sustainable human habitats and farming
systems that mimic the symbiotic relationships that ecology found in nature. Decades later, the challenges of peak oil
and climate change encourage groups linked to Permaculture to launch a social movement that demands a different
way to organize society, to run the economy on a local scale and build resilient communities before the decreased
availability of fossil fuels.
This new social movement has points in common with ecologists and environmentalists but does not have a
reasoned educational proposal. The movement in transition does not connect with experiences of Environmental
Education. The present study is interested in revealing why it is absent and what aspects can show its effectiveness in
boosting the community.
2. The Communities in Transition. Principles of action
Communities in transition aim to mobilize citizens to address problems of Climate Change and Peak Oil (Suriñach,
2008). The key to achieve this is to enhance the sense of community to increase its resilience . The Transition Model
(Brangwyn & Hopkins, 2009) is a dispersed set of practices and principles that have been built through observation
and experimentation of communities that have succeeded in generating local resilience and have reduced carbon
emissions. This model shares many objectives and practices with other proposals also aimed at finding solutions to
the environmental crisis, such as the movement for degrowth, the Post Carbon Cities, or the Slow Movement. Can
stand out certain features, such as:
x The community is the central element.
x Participation is the methodology.
x Vision of the future is positive.
x The context of the action is a local level and the everyday life.
x All together, the transition commitment to integration.
x Emotions have a place, even more if it is to celebrate the achievements.
x Direct action takes precedence over other aspects
Although it is a widely accepted proposal, the model of the Transition Network is subject to some controversy; a
debate in which the collective popular education Trapese through the book Alice Cutler and Paul Chatterton entitled
Rocky Road to real Transition (Hopkins, 2009), has played an important role, encouraging the development of critical
readings Movement in Transition. In an exercise of compilation of the most significant arguments about the limits and
possible weaknesses of the proposed model from the Transition Network, we highlight here the following two:
2.1. Without responsible, without conflict
The Transition Movement emphasizes the need to meet the challenges of Peak Oil and Climate Change from a
Community framework. It also proposes to do so in a way in which the community grows, as if it were an effect of
expansive inclusiveness. The solutions do not focus on finding the causes and confront them, but to act to survive in
adverse circumstances: forming a resilient community. As Del Rio (2007) states, the desire to access the public as
much as possible makes the Transition Movement develop a model based on "build" from what people have in
common; it is a positive response model, a model that is not positioned against the institutions or other projects.
In this regard, the question asked by the collective Trapese is how the community can talk about Climate Change
and Peak Oil and not refer to the agents that cause them structurally?
On the same line, Trainer (2009) states that the identification of the capitalist model of production and consumption,
as ultimately responsible for the environmental crisis requires taking a strong attitude in support of all social struggles
that face this economic model. Not enough to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels; also it needs to identify those
responsible political and economic powers; it is necessary to support the resistance movements linked to oil energy
infrastructure through strategies of national and international solidarity; and, consequently, active people should take
position on those issues that directly or indirectly threaten the future well-being: biofuels, nuclear energy, food crisis,
ecological debt, etc.
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Miguel Pardellas Santiago et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 237 ( 2017 ) 925 – 930
2.2. Between the naivety and green capitalism
The evasiveness of the Transition Movement in pointing out the causes, and not point the capitalist system
responsible, raises other questions, perhaps more incisive: ignore the causes of Peak Oil and Climate Change because
the project is still young and naïve? perhaps it is a social initiative that responds to a commitment to a form of green
capitalism?
The Transition Movement focuses its efforts in local communities. The main argument is that without the power of
collective action and working together are not possible necessary changes on a larger scale (Haxeltine & Seyfang,
2009). On this bet the local community play an important role municipal authorities; however, at all times the
independence of Community initiatives defends its autonomy from the authorities. In this context the Transition
Movement consciously is postulated like "apolitical" staying out of any identification with classical ideological
movements (Trainer, 2009). Its eagerness is pragmatic: penetrate "under the radar" of political conflicts and thus
enhance initiatives agreed in the transition framework (Hopkins, 2008).
This position, which insists overcome the conflict and confrontation, does ask other groups, among which again
highlights Trapese, for change to be promoted within the framework of the transition: This is a change that only seeks
to adapt a new situation? Is it a change from within the system that will not promote significant changes in other areas?
(Social justice, equity, gender, etc.); Or is it more fundamental change that seeks to build a critical mass from which
undertake increasingly relevant changes? Even assuming a decidedly reformist character, to what extent is
contemplating the Transition Movement the resistances of system structures? To what extent they are planned attempts
to "partisan apropriation"? These are elements that will appear if the entity of transiOr is it more fundamental change
that seeks to build a critical mass from which undertake increasingly relevant changes? Even assuming a decidedly
reformist character, to what extent is contemplating the Transition Movement the resistances of system structures? To
what extent they are planned attempts to "partisan appropriation"? These are elements that will appear if the entity of
transition initiatives manages to overcome the anecdotal.
3. Environmental Education and Transition Initiatives
In the late sixties, the environmental movement appears on the scene claiming alternative models for economic and
social progress of nations. In this context, Environmental Education emerges as a reactive movement to social
development models linked to capitalism that is widespread in the West, with different rates, after World War II (Calvo
& Gutierrez, 2007). In a short period of time, the Environmental Education was able to combine the aspiration to social
change in a part of the population, and the apparent need for reforms by the various administrations and international
organizations to continue the same development model; In other words, it is difficult to explain the complex network
of theoretical, ideological and methodological approaches that has been woven in four decades of history, with its
respective conflicts of interest.
As a result, Environmental Education is a field characterized by diversity; an area with multi-disciplinary
paradigmatic features (Meira, 1991) that is enriching but at the time, has been and is still under constant tension
identity, hindering their characterization. This heterogeneity has been given from the first steps in its definition; it has
led to uncertainty or "calculated ambiguity" at least in the key documents for the institutional development of the
Environmental Education. A permanent process of construction and deconstruction conceptual addition to "set the
pace" in the theoretical sphere, to endorse or criticize pedagogical documents and proposals developed, has left in the
background the specific characteristics of educational activities. One example is the strenuous efforts made by
UNESCO over the past decade to promote Education for Sustainable Development as a substitute (continuing or
annihilating is not clear) of the Environmental Education, and the resistance offered by numerous agents of the
Environmental Education as opposed to a process, at least no transparent and poorly justified from an epistemological,
theoretical and pedagogical, methodological or ideological view (Meira, 2006).
Even valuing positively the richness of approaches, Eduardo García (2004) stresses the need for an explicit teaching
model to guide educational interventions. This is because there may be agreement that aims to promote Environmental
Education a change of thinking in people and behaviours of individuals and social groups. The problem is how this
928 Miguel Pardellas Santiago et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 237 ( 2017 ) 925 – 930
change is characterized: the sense of it, its contents, and the strategies used to facilitate this, the size of the proposed
change, etc. These pedagogical reflections are useful for organizing initiatives of transition as educational activities.
As participatory processes Transition Initiatives in themselves constitute an opportunity for learning; that is, to
defend certain positions, decide on certain aspects or share common interests, provides to participatory processes high
potential in the acquisition, strengthening and optimization of knowledge (Heras, 2003, Bailiff, 2006). It is referring
to an aspect that does not go unnoticed, in fact appears repeatedly in many documents related to the transition that
people should "internalize" the transition; however, the vagueness in their formulation is worrying. In the Transition
Handbook by Rob Hopkins (2008) it is proposed as the second step in the implementation of Initiative in Transition
"take and raise awareness," suggesting the organization of various actions of awareness in order to make understand
the potential effects of Peak Oil and Climate Change through concrete actions such as documentary films, organizing
lectures or writing articles in local newspapers.
The nominal invisibility of the Environmental Education becomes important when it involves the absence of a
pedagogical model in the design and implementation of these actions. The development of initiatives left the
educational work in the hands of improvisation. If this happens, a move away from the objectives and principles of
the Transition Movement may occur, it can generate counterproductive effects.
A study in three pioneering universities in implementing the Transition Movement confirms that the experience is
lived as community and educational. However, experience is not perceived as strong as a "dialogic" mode: on the basis
of dialogue with practices that favour the search for consensus, the discussion of the issues. And finally, one of the
weakest elements is the experience of the Transition Movement as a way of raising issues, questioning the models and
to rebel against the system. It is not perceived as a conflicting experience, it is not perceived as political positioning;
in fact it is one of the characteristics the Transition Movement wants to promote as a hallmark.
The graph 1 shows the modes of twenty-five questionnaire items in which those involved in the Transition
Movement universities investigated. The graph shows the values of the scale from 1 to 5 and a grouping of the items
in four categories: Community, Education, Dialogic and suggestions of problems.
Graph nº 1. Most frequent score of Social Perception of the Transition Movement
4. A final note to claim the Environmental Education in Transition
The commitment to a specific pedagogical-didactic model puts us at a crossroads where necessarily have to
position; equidistance apparent strategy of transition is here confronted with the fallacy of a neutral educational action.
Educational practices are always political because they involve values, projects, utopias..., which reproduce,
legitimize, question and transform prevailing power relationships in society (Freire, 2002).
0
1
2
3
4
5
Experiences in Transition Universities
Community
Educational
Dialogic
Suggest questions
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Miguel Pardellas Santiago et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 237 ( 2017 ) 925 – 930
In view of the work as Caride & Meira (2001), García (2004), Gutiérrez & Calvo (2008) can articulate the principles
of the Environmental Education in connection with the framework of Transition Initiatives. We highlight five main
issues:
4.1. A Political Education.
Reiterating the political nature of any educational activities and to Environmental Education it is presented as a
social practice criticism from an environmental paradigm, train for real transformation in response to the
environmental crisis (Pardellas, 2008). An Environmental Education for changing the glasses with which we see the
world for a thorough review in order to investigate where should change the economic and social processes to be
compatible with the limits imposed by natural cycles (Herrero, Cembranos & Pascual, 2011).
4.2. An open and dialogical education
There are no absolute truths that demand be imposed, but relative truths, to be built and negotiate democratically
(Garcia, 2004). A social learning that will have to contemplate the hyper-complex and multidimensional environmental
character, complementing and combining disciplinary readings that allow develop a holistic picture, holistic and
comprehensive of the problems related to the knowledge of the environment and educational action (Caride & Meira,
2001).
Also, dialogic and constructivists in the plane thought-feeling approaches are needed, reiterating the integrator and
emotional nature of the transition, as key elements in building community resilience.
4.3. A problematizing education.
Environmental realities are complex clusters in acquiring special importance conflicts of interest, contradictions
and power games. The visibility of the contradictions and inconsistencies of the current environmental situation is an
educational resource of the first order, so that, while demonstrates the link between social and environmental, can be
perceived as a modifiable reality to build another viable future (Caride & Meira, 2001).
Instead of avoiding conflict and identifying the causes of social and environmental crisis, it is necessary to use these
elements as educational resources to collectively articulate a systemic vision of today.
4.4. An ethical and moral education
Any solution to the environmental crisis is a profound revision of the anthropocentric assumptions that only value
the human species, considering that their interests are more important than those of any other species (Sosa, 1995).
This anthropocentric ethics governing human behaviour in much of contemporary societies, is also a Eurocentric ethic
which scorns different cultures and worldviews allied so-called "Western world" and a patriarchal ethics, which
ignores the needs and proposals the female half of the world population.
Hence, it is necessary to open a dialogue in which contemplate that all living forms (biocentric ethics) and even
entire communities and ecosystems (a holistic and eco-centric ethics) are holders of intrinsic values, enabling looks in
which gender is integrated as a necessary variable in the interpretation of reality (ecofeminist ethics).
4.5. A community education
Macrosocial, globalists and centralized industrial capitalism, approaches end up causing perverse and
complementary effects; to face, environmental rationality proposes microstructures, articulated in decentralized
networks through which it is possible to provide coverage that is contingent to the needs of each human group,
encouraging people to take ownership of reality and intervene directly in decision-making (Caride & Meira, 2001).
The process of building knowledge must be a community and shared process, based on the interaction of people in
the immediate environment. Environmental Education here becomes an indispensable tool for the training of citizens
930 Miguel Pardellas Santiago et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 237 ( 2017 ) 925 – 930
participating in the transition, promoting, training, expanding and improving the participatory process and providing
training on specific issues related to actions to be taken (Pardellas, 2007).
Coinciding with Rob Hopkins in the absence of magic recipes, there is no doubt that the pursuit of sustainability,
either through the transition or any other initiative, is a counter current process in which we must be able to anticipate
the difficulties on the way. Perhaps Environmental Education, for his career, his practical experience and theoretical
knowledge may provide some clues to facilitate travel.
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Nos proponemos adentrarnos en los siguientesobjetivos:1. Elaborar un documento divulgativo de mirada amplia sobre el “Transition Movement” en castellano y adaptado a nuestro contexto particular1, haciendo un breve repaso a algunas de las ya muchas iniciativas existentes en todo el mundo.2. Reflexionar sobre los puntos débiles y fuertes de las Transition Towns y como los primeros pueden ser solventados, analizando las críticas que desde otras ópticas se le están haciendo, viendo la diversidad de opiniones que existen sobre este movimiento.3. Ayudar, con la divulgación de este trabajo, a que este movimiento se conozcaen el contexto catalán y español, aportando su visión práctica en la solución delos problemas cotidianos y promoviendo la cooperación entre los movimientos sociales ya existentes aquí y el movimiento en transición. 4. Analizar el papel que pueden jugar las iniciativas en transición en la promociónde una Barcelona “sostenible”. El caos sistémico que estamos provocando en nuestro planeta está acelerando la desaparición de la diversidad, tanto biológica como cultural, afectando seriamente a la resiliencia de ecosistemas y comunidades y, por tanto, debilitando nuestra capacidad de respuesta frente a los choques que ya estamos empezando a recibir. La recuperación de un equilibrio global pasa por el decrecimiento consciente de las conomías, la relocalización de nuestros modos de vida y la reconexión con el medionatural que nos sustenta. Vivimos en momentos de cambio obligado, ¿sabremosaprovechar las oportunidades que se nos presentan para recobrar un nuevo equilibrio?Partiendo de la necesidad de buscar nuevas herramientas que permitan afrontar lascrisis de sostenibilidad presentes y futuras surge este acercamiento al reciente y novedoso movimiento Transition Towns.Se trata una iniciativa propositiva y de enfoque holístico, basada en las problemáticas interrelacionadas del peak oil y el cambio climático y que enfoca su respuesta en la reconstrucción de resiliencia comunitaria mediante proyectos de relocalización adaptados a cada contexto particular.El movimiento de transición, basado en la inclusión y no en la confrontación, como enlos movimientos activistas o antisistema, supone una bocanada de aire fresco y puedeaportar grandes enseñanzas a nuestro contexto particular. Entre ellas destacan laincorporación de una visión eminentemente práctica y positiva, y la aportación de unametodología sencilla y abierta. Sin embargo, es importante añadir que existen aspectos del movimiento Transition Towns que deberían mejorarse entre los que destaca la inclusión de la problemática de la gobernabilidad en su discurso.En la actualidad existe un confrontamiento dialéctico que carece de sentido entre losmovimientos de carácter más revolucionario, como por ejemplo los movimientosantiglobalización o el Decreixement en Catalunya, y las iniciativas en transición, de carácter reformista. Ambas son herramientas diferentes e imprescindibles, por lo tanto los esfuerzos deben dirigirse hacia la colaboración mutua entre los actores que buscan un fin común.La Tierra, con sus recursos naturales finitos, nos obliga a repensar nuestra manera de actuar, individualmente, entre nosotros y para con ella, y en ese camino deoportunidades ha llegado el momento de empezar a trabajar conjuntamente por unfuturo más justo y sostenible. Es el momento de pasar de la idea a la acción.
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Conjunto de artículos sobre educación ambiental con un enfoque teórico y conceptual. Trata de esclarecer el concepto mismo de educación ambiental desde un perspectiva interdisciplinar, ya que los puntos de vista proceden de distintas áreas. Contiene seis artículos: Bases ecológicas de la educación ambiental, la ciencia económica y el nuevo paradigma ecológico, la lectura pedagógica de la educación ambiental, educación y ambiente. El espacio educativo, sujeto, identidad y medio ambiente, la ética en la educación ambiental y educación ambiental y participación ciudadana, Bibliografía al final de cada capítulo