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ERIC Number: ED538894
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 500
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-6050-8
Adult Education in Local Environmental Initiatives for Ecological and Cultural Sustainability
Woodhouse, Janice Lynn
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northern Illinois University
This dissertation examines the phenomenon of how communities can effect change in policy and practice to support greater ecological and cultural sustainability. The general purpose of this research is to examine selected local initiatives for ecological and cultural sustainability to better understand the role of adult education in those efforts. Three Midwestern communities were selected for community-based initiatives for ecological and cultural sustainability. These sites and their initiatives are Champaign/Urbana, Illinois: Imagine a Sustainable Champaign County; Waterloo, Iowa: The Rath Neighborhood Brownfields Redevelopment Project; and Racine, Wisconsin: Sustainable Racine. This research study is based on a multiple-case study approach. The major research question asks where adult education (including training and public awareness) is located, and how it is defined as a means to implementing local initiatives for ecological and cultural sustainability. Subquestions that support this overall inquiry are the following: What is the content and process of the education that is taking place in each case study? Where does this education fit in the greater context of education for sustainability? And does this research inform a model for the interaction of social movements, environmental education, and participatory process? The conceptual foundations of this research are found in the discourses on social movements, environmental education, environmental adult education, and participatory process. The relationship among these discourses is one of interaction and interdependence. Because the research looks at local initiatives, and because these initiatives are part of, or at least influenced by, the environmental movement, social movement history and theory also inform this study. The communities in this study demonstrate how civil society, government, and the private sector at the local level are working to restore the ecological, cultural, and thus economic landscapes of their communities. These community activities are examples of the pervasiveness of local efforts, described here as the lichens phenomenon. The attributes of the lichen colony is used as metaphor for the pervasive community-based efforts contributing to restoration and stability of the place where they are geographically located. Findings confirm that the work of these initiatives establishes or reestablishes a sense of place. A healthier, more stable sense of place then contributes to a healthier more stable sense of self. The processes bring diverse members of the community together on common ground, increasing an understanding, appreciation, and respect of the needs and values of others. Adult education functions as an agent of change. The interface of environmental education, social movements, and participatory process provides the conceptual foundation for this education, specifically contributing to a content focus of ecological literacy, cultural literacy, and participatory process, the key elements of education for sustainability. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois; Iowa; Wisconsin