Rethinking Environmental Education Under Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is the current way of thinking about the economic state of the world. It’s the thinking that has led to the financialization of nearly everything in the world – think about how we justify our thinking in economic terms and not other terms.

The critiques of the mind-numbing neoliberal approach to thinking are growing and the most recent issue Environmental Education Research examines how neoliberalism is changing how we teach. This is good because we need to move our way of thinking beyond an economics-only framework, the more we critique neoliberalism the better the world we can create.

“Environmental education is political,” said Hursh. “People do not fully comprehend the meaning of neoliberalism, but often overuse it to blame or explain current environmental conditions and issues. We need to talk about the nature of environmental education within the context of the dominant economic and political system of neoliberalism.”

The 13 articles in the new special issue of Environmental Education Research challenge readers to consider the many ways that environmental education has been shaped by and interacts with the logic of neoliberalism.

Hursh focuses his research and writing on educational policy, neoliberalism, and teaching environmental sustainability and social studies, as well as public dimensions of environmental education, with a particular emphasis on how it applies to the energy system and climate change dynamics. In his most recent writing, Hursh describes how neoliberalism undermines education and democracy. His next book, The End of Public Schools: The Corporate Reform Agenda to Privatize Education, is scheduled to release summer 2015 by Routledge

Read Environmental Education Research.

Read the press release.

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Happily Find Where You’re Going

This TED talk is all about modifying maps so that you can find the most joyous route to your destination!

Mapping apps help us find the fastest route to where we’re going. But what if we’d rather wander? Researcher Daniele Quercia demos “happy maps” that take into account not only the route you want to take, but how you want to feel along the way.

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Buy Experiences, Not Things

If you have surplus cash it’s better to spend that money on experiences than buying objects. That is, if you want to live a happy life. Researchers who have looked into what makes us happy over our lifetime have concluded that experiences contribute more to happiness than objects. You might nor remember buying that neat computer, but you do remember that crazy time at that place somewhere.

Personally, I’ve been putting of buying furniture for the last six months because I prefer travelling. So even hearing that this research backs up my thinking makes me happy.

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

So rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, Gilovich suggests you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling.

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A Competition and Journal Looking Into Philosophy and Games

Game Praxis

Games are a very popular cultural medium with a reputation for not being very “deep”. Game Praxis is a new project I’ve co-founded to encourage game makers and players to ask big questions through gameplay. It’s a game competition and a journal focused on philosophy and games.

The goal is simple: generate more interesting content about how games can be used to explore bigger questions. For the first run of Game Praxis pre-existing games can be submitted so if you’ve already made a game that you think should be considered you can do so.

The Game Praxis mission:

Should you choose to accept it? Marx observed philosophers have interpreted the world when the point is to change it. Much the same could be said for the game industry. We need to build more than better worlds, we need to build a better world. We see crunch, the precarious careers of late capital, and a troubled and troubling apprehension of gender in game and the game industry as symptoms of an underlying pathology of the spirit. In the game industry, the measure of success is money. With all due respect to our invocation of Marx, we aren’t against the production of surplus value but we believe there are more creative ways to evaluate games, game industries and our lives in game.

Check out Game Praxis!

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Turning Trash Into Health Care in Indonesia

Indonesia has a rather large number of people on reactively small landmass and as a result solid waste has become a problem. Enter Garbage Clinical Insurance which is a company focussed on turning trash collection into health care. It’s a simple solution insofar that people who can’t afford to see a doctor can bring in found trash in exchange for health care. It cleans the streets while keeping people healthy!

For patients, it’s like getting health care for free. “They think they don’t pay anything for the insurance—they just give garbage,” Albinsaid says. “So it persuades the community. And we’re encouraging poor people to pay with their own resources.”

Albinsaid, now 26, has been running his startup, Garbage Clinical Insurance, for two years, after a few earlier variations on the idea failed to take off. The company now runs a health clinic of its own, and also works with four others. So far, it has helped 3,500 uninsured people get health care.

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