Chapter 8

The Role of the University in a World of Crisis: Environmental Sustainability and the Ecoversity

Julie Matthews and Steve Garlick


Education has provided few resources and conceptual tools through which to interrogate the historically and culturally specific premises constituting our understanding of ourselves and all other beings on the planet. Education, in general and higher education in particular offers no guarantees of understanding, wisdom or even survival; the necessary requirements to contribute to a better world (Orr, 1994/2004). Instead the academy has looked inwards in mass producing unconnected knowledge ‘experts’ rather than engaging outwards so as to enhance our values and capabilities in acquiring knowledge through others by learning relationally. We argue here for an ‘ecoversity’ approach to university education which highlights ways of thinking and acting sustainably and relationally about life and ethics. Through the notion of ‘ecoversity’ we propose a whole of university approach to future survival. The ecoversity approach involves directing the whole university towards a relational education for and about environmental sustainability and survival.

Total Pages: 147-161 (15)

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