Speaking of sustainable development and values... a response to Alistair Chadwick’s viewpoint responding to destructive interpersonal interactions : a way forward for school-based environmental educators
The original publication is available at http://www.eeasa.org.za
It may be considered unfair to respond to a paper from the point of view of another discipline, especially if central issues or assumptions in that article are discussed critically. In this paper, comments are made on Alistair Chadwick’s paper from the point of view of philosophy and ethics, but these are offered in the spirit of a constructive dialogue across narrowly conceived disciplinary borders. The general theme of these comments also calls for interdisciplinary dialogue: the language that we use in our debates about environmental education, ethics and action.As such, language is a theme about which every discipline in the social sciences can make a meaningful contribution, and this is what I would like to offer here. In this Viewpoint I will focus on only one issue, namely certain problems that may arise if we accept the language in which Chadwick speaks in his paper about ‘sustainable development’ and ‘values’ respectively. I will raise a number of critical points in this regard, not because there is one and only one appropriate language within which we can discuss our environmental concerns and our (educational) responses to them, but rather because we should be self-consciously aware of the assumptions and implications hidden in the language that we choose to discuss these matters, thus enabling us to disect and evaluate these assumptions and implications with a view to determine to what extent they enhance or undermine our efforts to understand the nature and extent of the environmental challenges that we are faced with.