Earth-based Spirituality in Australian Outdoor and Environmental Studies

By Kathryn Riley.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Australian Outdoor and Environmental Studies, under the curriculum framework of Health and Physical Education, is subjected to dominant discourses of androcentric perspectives of nature. As such, inherent adventure hegemonies influence the type and depth of relationship that can emerge within nature experiences. Assuming an eco-feminist lens, as a means to expand values of nature towards deep ecology, this paper will illuminate the stories from three adolescents as they encounter spiritual pedagogy, namely meditation practices, within Australian outdoor education. To understand the relationship between spiritual wellbeing and environmental conservation ethics, I will explore ontologies of pantheism as a remedy for the cultural split between humans and nature; drawing conclusions regarding the integration of Masculine and Feminine sensibilities to be the foundation of a renewed reunion with our wholeness that seeks a greater balance with nature. In answering the question, ‘How do adolescent stories of earth-based spirituality provide insight into their outdoor and environmental studies experience?’, I will provide an exploration of how outdoor and environmental studies can effectively harness the power of spiritual pedagogy to arrest androcentric values of nature, within the context of contemporary environmental challenges.

Keywords: Deep Ecology, Eco-feminism, Outdoor and Environmental Studies

International Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 10, Issue 1, February 2015, pp.17-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 715.446KB).

Kathryn Riley

Instructor, Faculty of Arts/Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia