Education, Cultural Myths, and the Ecological Crisis

Toward Deep Changes

By C. A. Bowers

Subjects: Social Studies Education
Series: SUNY series, The Philosophy of Education
Paperback : 9780791412565, 238 pages, December 1992
Hardcover : 9780791412558, 238 pages, December 1992

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Table of contents


1. The Cultural Aspects of the Ecological Crisis

2. The Conservative Misinterpretation of the Educational Crisis

3. The Liberal Impasse: Technocrats and Emancipators

4. Anthropocentrism in Textbooks

5. Toward Deep Changes in the Educational Process

6. The Political and Spiritual Dimensions of the Ecological Crisis: Toward a New Sense of Balance




This book is an examination of how the educational process perpetuates cultural myths contributing to the ecological crisis. In addressing the cultural and educational dimensions of the ecological crisis, the book illuminates educational issues associated with the hidden nature of culture, particularly how thought patterns formed in the past are reproduced through the metaphorical language used in the classroom. It examines why both conservative and liberal educational critics ignore the ecological crisis, and suggests that a more ecologically sustainable ideology is being formulated by such thinkers as Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, and Gregory Bateson.

C. A. Bowers teaches in the School of Education at Portland State University, and has written widely on education, modernity, and the ecological crisis. His most recent books include, Elements of a Post Liberal Theory of Education; The Cultural Dimensions of Education Computing: Understanding the Non-Neutrality of Technology; and (co-authored with David Flinders) Responsive Teaching: An Ecological Approach to Classroom Patterns of Language, Culture, and Thought.


"A light where there has been none! This daring, timely book addresses an urgent topic: the connections between formal education and the way we treat the relationship between ourselves and the earth's natural systems and resources. " — Lester R. Brown, President, Worldwatch Institute

"While most educationists are running about telling us the sky is falling, Bowers points to our feet and tells us that it is the earth which needs our attention most urgently. He shows that if we are to sustain life on this planet, everyone who has been educated will have to re-examine the beliefs that have been the foundation of modern education, whether liberal or conservative. " — Ron Scollon and Suzie Wong Scollon, authors of Narrative, Literacy, and Face in Interethnic Communication

"This is one of those rare books that is no less relevant for the kindergarten teacher than for the university professor. Anyone who in any way seeks to educate young people about our environment and ecology must read this truly seminal book. " — Seymour B. Sarason, Emeritus Professor, Yale University

"So much research and publication devoted to the ecological crisis fails to address the most critical dimension of this crisis. As Wendell Berry has remarked, this crisis is one of culture and character. In his latest book, C. A. Bowers undertakes the formidable task of addressing the cultural and educational dimensions of the ecological crisis. As with all of Bowers' work, this book is masterful in its execution, competent in its scholarship, and broad in its vision. I hope it will be read by all who would undertake responsibility for helping to transform our individual and cultural lives so that they will be in harmony with each other and with the Earth's diverse ecological communities. " — Alan R. Drengson, University of Victoria; editor of The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy; author of Beyond Environmental Crisis: From Technocrat to Planetary Vision