Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 389

Review

The quest for a relevant environmental pedagogy in the African context: Insights from unhu/ubuntu philosophy

Godfrey Museka* and Manasa Munashe Madondo
Department of Curriculum and Arts Education, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 20 June 2012
  •  Published: 31 July 2012

Abstract

The quest for environmental sustainability and sustainable use of natural resources has become mandatory if humanity is to successfully manage the environmental fall-out consequent upon industrialisation and modernisation. Educational responses to the environmental crisis involve introducing environmental education or education for sustainable development and of late Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development in formal and non-formal educational contexts. Teaching and learning in these educational offerings is informed by international discourses encapsulated by Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 of 1992 Earth Summit and the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, among others. These initiatives advocate incorporating indigenous ways of learning about environmental issues. The challenge, in post-colonial states like Zimbabwe, is that curricula still have ‘alien’ epistemological and pedagogical practices vitiating effective teaching and learning of environmental issues. There is need to ground environmental pedagogy in philosophies on indigenous cosmology and eco-wisdom so as to ‘green’ curricula. This article advocates a religio-cultural approach, embedded in the philosophy of unhu/ubuntu, for sustainable use of the environment. A phenomenological perspective is used in this study to explore indigenous beliefs and practices that could be used to reduce the wanton abuse of the natural environment.

 

Key words: Unhu/ubuntu, environmental pedagogy, eco-wisdom, animate, inanimate, cosmology.