Environmental education as public policy

Marcos Sorrentino Rachel Trajber Patrícia Mendonça Luiz Antonio Ferraro Junior About the authors

Environmental education emerges as one of the possible strategies to face up to the double-order, cultural and social, civilization crisis. Its critical and emancipative perspective intends to trigger processes in which the individual and collective searches for cultural and social change are dialectically intertwined. The articulation of State and community principles, with the sanction of the community, establishes the State as the latter's partner in the process of transformation of the status quo referred to by Boaventura de Souza Santos as a "brand new social movement". Such State must play the role of strengthening civil society as the mainstay of superstructure. In the environmental field, the State has advanced in terms of regulatory marks without an operational capacity befitting the demand, owing to the reduction of the State (in the 1990s) and to the absence of reforms other than that of the minimal State. Environmental education must, therefore, contribute to a State-civil society dialectical process that allows the definition of public policies based on dialogue. In this sense, the construction of environmental education as a public policy implemented by the Ministry for Education and Culture (MEC) and by the Ministry for the Environment (MMA) includes processes of direct intervention, regulation and contractualism that strengthen the articulation of various social actors (in both formal and non-formal education contexts) and their ability to carry out sustainable and educative territorial management, training of environmental educators, socio-environmental educommunication, and other strategies that promote a critical and emancipative environmental education. The public policies in environmental education will require a growing capacity of the State to respond, even if with minimal direct intervention, to the demands emerging from the articulated set of institutions acting on the critical and emancipative environmental education.

Environmental education; Public policies; Civil society; Environmentalism


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