From Relationship to Something More: Environmental and Sustainability Education and a New Ontological Position

  • Chris BeemanEmail author
  • Laura SimsEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the International Explorations in Outdoor and Environmental Education book series (IEOEE)


This chapter begins and ends with practice. The first section is comprised of descriptions of the experience of the two authors in their teaching of Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) and other courses in their respective Manitoba universities. A key connector between both circumstances is the building of relationships. The second section is comprised of some theoretical work around what might be necessary to transform these practices into something that more fully meets the teaching aspirations of the authors. Rooted in the words of some Teme Augama Anishinaabe Elders of the principal author’s acquaintance, the work of some of the new materialists is invoked to make a case for a different kind of relationship with the more-than-human world. The paper ends with a brief approximation of what this might look like in pedagogical practice. The conclusion is pessimistic with respect to the possibility of this enactment in current-day public education.


Environmental and sustainability education Indigenous education New materialism Autochthony Attentive receptivity 


Cet article débute et se termine par la pratique. La première partie décrit les expériences des deux auteurs dans le cadre de leur enseignement en éducation au développement durable et en sciences de l’environnement, ainsi que dans d’autres cours de leurs universités respectives au Manitoba. Un élément clé commun est le développement de relations. La deuxième partie présente certaines stratégies théoriques susceptibles de pouvoir contourner ces pratiques afin de les transformer pour qu’elles reflètent mieux les aspirations pédagogiques des auteurs. Ancrés dans les paroles des aînés Teme-Augama Anishinaabes connus de l’auteur principal, les travaux de certains nouveaux matérialistes sont cités pour préconiser un nouveau type de relations avec le monde au-delà de l’humain. L’article se termine par une brève description générale de la forme que cela pourrait prendre dans les pratiques pédagogiques. La conclusion reste pessimiste quant à la possibilité d’appliquer cette idée dans l’enseignement actuel dans les écoles publiques.

Mots clés

Éducation au développement durable Éducation autochtone Nouveau matérialisme Autochtonie Réceptivité attentive 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brandon UniveristyBrandonCanada
  2. 2.Université de Saint-BonifaceWinnipegCanada

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