The Ecological Citizen

A free-to-access publication confronting human supremacy in defence of the Earth


Long article

Learning for biosphere security in a crowded, warming world

Alexander Lautensach

The Ecological Citizen Vol 1 No 2 2018: 171–8

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First published: 1 January 2018  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


Among all the pressing needs for educational innovations that humanity faces today, arguably the most imperative is the need to elicit the learner's active involvement in a 'Great Transition' that addresses the global ecological overshoot and the unraveling ecological situation within the biosphere. An effective Transition curriculum must transcend the conventional discourse about 'security', 'sustainability', 'progress' and 'growth' and counteract the anthropocentric conditioning that pervades mainstream educational practice. This paper outlines some major learning outcomes that such an ecocentric curriculum would entail. Political expediency demands that this difficult course change be accomplished with a minimum of friction and confrontation and a maximum of pedagogical efficacy. Strategies include: paying explicit attention to ethics by starting with widely shared values; encouraging critical questioning; proactively extending a scientific worldview that embraces empathy and beauty in nature; and openly and critically engaging with the hidden curriculum – the implicit messages that learners receive through discourse, media and social environments inside and outside of school. Thus, the anthropocentric notions of property, entitlement and superiority can be subverted and displaced thorough a gradual process of questioning and extending of ideas by the learner. Learning environments that are becoming increasingly multicultural offer challenges and opportunities in this endeavour.



Anthropocentrism, Climate change, Education, Overpopulation