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ERIC Number: EJ1118825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
How to Save the World and Other Lessons from Children's Environmental Literature
Echterling, Clare
Children's Literature in Education, v47 n4 p283-299 Dec 2016
This article argues that most contemporary children's environmental picture books and easy readers published in the United States focus overwhelmingly on individual environmentalist acts and lifestyle changes, overlook the connections between environmental degradation and systemic social problems such as class disparities, and ultimately over-simplify environmental crisis. They typically encourage children to adopt environmentalist behaviors such as recycling that can be performed by individuals or families in the home, school, and local community, but do little to encourage civic engagement that would call into attention the intertwined ideological, economic, and political factors preventing profound environmental change. The analysis then examines several books that notably do inform readers about the larger political and economic issues and place a strong emphasis on environmental justice, a type of environmentalism deeply concerned with issues of race, class, gender, and economic inequality. Such texts are more likely to encourage an environmentalism that combines lifestyle and consumer choices with political activism. We need more books like this, as children's texts that resign environmental action almost completely to individual choices and behaviors and disassociate environmental crises from their larger constitutive contexts do little to prepare young people for the socio-environmental challenges we face now and in the future.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A