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Ecological and Social Justice: A Framework for Leading for Sustainability

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Abstract:

It is our belief that we need to develop a holistic view of sustainability, in which environmental, cultural, economic, and social issues are inseparably interlinked. Indeed, this was the tenet of the first principle agreed on at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro; it read: “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature” (U. N. Report, 1992). This argument was furthered by Furman and Gruenewald (2004) in perhaps the first scholarly analysis associating ecological issues with educational leadership for social justice. They viewed:
environmental crises as inseparable from social crises; environmental problems, for example, are often experienced as social injustices when disproportionate amounts of pollution and toxic waste are literally dumped on those with the least racial and economic power. (p. 48)
Other scholars, as well, have pointed to interconnections between social injustices and environmental degradation that threaten planetary survival (Worldwatch Institute, 2005, 2006)—injustices that are too often reinforced and perpetuated by educational assumptions and practices (Bowers, 1997, 2002; Gruenewald, 2003). Moreover, given that many approaches to sustainability have been critiqued for their apparent support of marketization, neo-liberalism, and commodification of the natural world (Sachs, 1995; Polasky & Solow, 1995), it is important that the notion of sustainability be re-examined in light of the interconnections identified above. Indeed, the concept of sustainability must move beyond a managerial and technical approach to redistributing resources to thinking critically about the engines of development and who is advantaged and who disadvantaged by them.
In this paper, we will draw on current trends in sustainability research in order to develop an educative framework for taking a more holistic perspective on sustainability (see also Kose, Shields, & Ibrahim, 2008). We will build on, and extend Furman’s leadership framework to consider both the processes and content of leadership for sustainability and social justice. To accomplish this, we shall show how some of the key questions posed for social justice leadership (Shields, 2003, 2009; Giroux, 1995; Macedo, 1995 ) will advance this work. Questions that might guide such a framework include: What kind of society do we want to create? Who controls decisions about resource distribution and use? How can we read the world, “act upon it, and if necessary, transform it?” (Macedo, 1995); or who or what are marginalized or privileged, advantaged or disadvantaged by this decision (Shields, 2009)? We believe his framework will make a significant contribution to educational leaders’ abilities to understand both social and natural worlds, in ways that are both socially and ecologically just.
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Name: UCEA Annual Convention
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http://www.ucea.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378312_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Shields, Carolyn. and Kose, Brad. "Ecological and Social Justice: A Framework for Leading for Sustainability" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the UCEA Annual Convention, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California, <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378312_index.html>

APA Citation:

Shields, C. M. and Kose, B. W. "Ecological and Social Justice: A Framework for Leading for Sustainability" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the UCEA Annual Convention, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p378312_index.html

Publication Type: Symposium Paper
Abstract: It is our belief that we need to develop a holistic view of sustainability, in which environmental, cultural, economic, and social issues are inseparably interlinked. Indeed, this was the tenet of the first principle agreed on at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro; it read: “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature” (U. N. Report, 1992). This argument was furthered by Furman and Gruenewald (2004) in perhaps the first scholarly analysis associating ecological issues with educational leadership for social justice. They viewed:
environmental crises as inseparable from social crises; environmental problems, for example, are often experienced as social injustices when disproportionate amounts of pollution and toxic waste are literally dumped on those with the least racial and economic power. (p. 48)
Other scholars, as well, have pointed to interconnections between social injustices and environmental degradation that threaten planetary survival (Worldwatch Institute, 2005, 2006)—injustices that are too often reinforced and perpetuated by educational assumptions and practices (Bowers, 1997, 2002; Gruenewald, 2003). Moreover, given that many approaches to sustainability have been critiqued for their apparent support of marketization, neo-liberalism, and commodification of the natural world (Sachs, 1995; Polasky & Solow, 1995), it is important that the notion of sustainability be re-examined in light of the interconnections identified above. Indeed, the concept of sustainability must move beyond a managerial and technical approach to redistributing resources to thinking critically about the engines of development and who is advantaged and who disadvantaged by them.
In this paper, we will draw on current trends in sustainability research in order to develop an educative framework for taking a more holistic perspective on sustainability (see also Kose, Shields, & Ibrahim, 2008). We will build on, and extend Furman’s leadership framework to consider both the processes and content of leadership for sustainability and social justice. To accomplish this, we shall show how some of the key questions posed for social justice leadership (Shields, 2003, 2009; Giroux, 1995; Macedo, 1995 ) will advance this work. Questions that might guide such a framework include: What kind of society do we want to create? Who controls decisions about resource distribution and use? How can we read the world, “act upon it, and if necessary, transform it?” (Macedo, 1995); or who or what are marginalized or privileged, advantaged or disadvantaged by this decision (Shields, 2009)? We believe his framework will make a significant contribution to educational leaders’ abilities to understand both social and natural worlds, in ways that are both socially and ecologically just.


Similar Titles:
Ecologically-Unequal Exchange, Ecological Debt, and Climate Justice: History and Implications of three Linked Ideas for a New Social Movement

ADVOCATE OR EDUCATOR: EXPLORING OUR ROLE WITHIN A SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL JUSTICE FRAMEWORK.


 
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