Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/121119
Type: Thesis
Title: Roots and Shoots: Assisting young people to envision and act upon sustainable futures
Author: Kinsey-West, Victoria Louise
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: Short-term thinking is a dominant Western worldview and is reflected in many educational practices, many of which concentrate on the assessment of certain kinds of knowledges. Despite the assumption that education prepares students for their future, it often lacks a long-term vision of what that future may be. Furthermore, conventional education has overlooked fundamental questions of sustainability facing future generations. The future cannot be predicted with certainty; however, it can be said that the current and looming ecological crises will predicate a troubling uncertain future for all human and non-human beings. In recognising that the conventional education system has not made a great deal of contribution to sustainability, this study examines an alternative youth education program that is used within, and alongside, conventional curricular programs. Roots and Shoots (R&S) is an environmental and humanitarian youth education program of the Jane Goodall Institute, which is present in almost 100 countries worldwide. The program encourages young people to take action to make the world a better place for animals, people and the environment, underpinned by the value of holistic compassion. However, due to its philosophical and global approach, it can be dismissed as lacking structure and value. This is unfortunate since its flexible structure enables it to be adapted across the globe in different social and cultural contexts, and it offers a means to enable youth to envision and act upon a sustainable future. However, traditional approaches to education often require numerically measurable outcomes, which can perpetuate short-term visions. The R&S aim to develop compassionate youth is problematic in this sense. With this in mind, this study sought to identify a foundational theoretical approach that may assist the program’s development and future direction. The link between young people’s abilities to envision alternative, sustainable futures and their agency to act upon creating them can be connected using futures studies. However, futures studies lacks a precise analytical tool. This study has adapted futures theories and methods to develop a tool, consisting of four core concepts. These I argue have the capacity to orient a futures perspective for youth. Due to the limited scope of this study the R&S Formula Toolkit was chosen to orient the development of a futures perspective for the program. The R&S program enables members to envision a positive long-term future with a narrative where youth act as compassionate leaders, and make decisions based on holistic compassion. When demonstrated equally towards animals, people and the environment, holistic compassion exemplifies an interrelational and integral approach, which is required for sustainable futures for all. R&S encourages agency and action through engaging youth in local projects that provide relevance to their lives and have an impact. Youth feel more optimistic about global futures when their local projects are viewed under the global umbrella of R&S, and the narrative of young people bringing about change across the globe. I argue that it is this narrative, rather than the actions undertaken as part of R&S, that enables youth to envision and act upon sustainable futures.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MTeach) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2019
Description: This item is only available electronically.
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the author of this thesis and do not wish it to be made publicly available, or you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/legals
Appears in Collections:School of Education

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