Exploring the transformative potential of environmental education to change the individual human-nature relationship: A case study of a Costa Rican environmental education program

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2023-07-22
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en
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This thesis investigates to what extent environmental education (EE) can affect individual values, attitudes and behaviour towards nature and address the institutional indirect drivers of transformative change towards nature conservation as described in the IPBES framework. The research conducts a case study of the Mujeres Comprometidas con la Tierra (Women Committed to the Earth) program of the Finca Cántaros Environmental Association (FCEA) in Costa Rica. Amongst other things, the Mujeres Comprometidas con la Tierra (MCT) program includes educational activities about agroecology and environmental art. This study carries out inductive qualitative methods, combining participant observation and semi-structured interviews with 16 research participants, including the FCEA staff and the MCT participants. The case study reveals that EE practices during the MCT program encompass both education for literacy and education for transformation and that this kind of EE is effectively fostering nature-connectedness and influencing participants' values, attitudes and behaviour towards nature. Moreover, the case study also demonstrates the importance of social and empowering aspects in EE practices, as they play an essential role in encouraging participants to actively engage with the program. To deepen the understanding of the role of EE as an anthropogenic asset to foster transformative change, further research is recommended.
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Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen