'Not greenies at school': investigating the discourses of environmental activism in regional Australia

Whitehouse, Hilary (2014) 'Not greenies at school': investigating the discourses of environmental activism in regional Australia. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 30 (1). pp. 106-111.

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Implementing environmental activism at school can be socially risky business. This paper explores the narratives of three women who undertook award winning environmental projects in two regional Australian schools. Tara (student, age 15), Anne (student, age 15), and Andrea (principal, age 42) document the complex and courageous social negotiations they were forced to undertake in response to being negatively constituted as "a greenie" at school. Tara and Anne met resistance from their peers and family and Andrea fielded complaints from members of the local school community. This micro-qualitative analysis shows that, despite the heartfelt rhetoric of environmental education, assuming an environmental identity at school can be problematic and difficult to enact. Environmental action is still not seen as a "cool" social practice in some adolescent peer groups. Nor is environmental action positioned as central to the "legitimate" practice of schooling in some communities. Successful projects rely on students and staff who are willing to actively, and persistently, negotiate social opposition to their achieving and ecological vision for school practice.

Item ID: 38414
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2049-775X
Keywords: green teachers, environmentalism, school-based action, discourse
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Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2015 23:41
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9304 School/Institution > 930402 School/Institution Community and Environment @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930299 Teaching and Instruction not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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