Pandemics, capitalism, and an ecosocialist pedagogy

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Abstract

Environmental education has historically been largely silent about the effects of capitalism on the planet, limiting the effectiveness of the transformative pedagogical potential of EE. This article argues that to understand the rise, spread, and consequences of pandemics, we must analyze the role played by capitalism as a world-ecology system through the simultaneous mechanisms of unlimited profit, unlimited growth, and unlimited commodification. Widespread deforestation, unregulated wildlife trade, and the industrial confinement of animals are believed to be at the origin of modern pandemics, and capitalism has exacerbated each one of these problems. As a counteractive measure, this article advocates for an ecosocialist world-ecology, and calls on EE theoreticians and practitioners to embrace a pedagogy grounded in ecosocialism. As a starting point, it imbues expanded meanings to vital words—justice, solidarity, consumption, and technology—to assist the field of EE in its response to the current pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-383
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Education
Volume52
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • anthropocene
  • capitalism
  • capitalocene
  • deforestation
  • ecosocialism
  • pandemics
  • wildlife trade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Environmental Science(all)

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