Matthew Etherington


How can we address the challenges inherent in the role and relationship that humans have with nature? I say ‘we’ because I hold the view that it should take a ‘village’ to resolve the challenges related to nature and the environment. When all community members are heard, included, and supported, everyone has an opportunity to learn from the journeys of lived experiences. The second question is how we should relate to nature in the third and fourth decades of the twenty-first century. Should human beings leave nature entirely alone or should we involve ourselves in nature as never before. This article investigates these questions in juxtaposition with the idea of nature as teacher.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter


environmental education, interpretations perceptions, worldviews

Full Text:



Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1985

Ardoin, Nicole M. & Heimlich, Joe E. Environmental learning in everyday life: foundations of meaning and a context for change. 2021, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2021.1992354

Berger, P. and Zijderveld, A. In praise of doubt: How to have convictions without becoming a fanatic. New York. HarperOne, 2009

Bourdeau, P. H. The man-nature relationship and environmental ethics. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 72(1-2), 9-15, 2004.

Bowers, Chet. A. The False Promises of Constructivist Theories of Learning: A Global and Ecological Critique. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc, 2005.

Bowers, Chet. A. University reform in an era of global warming. Oregon: Eco-Justice Press, 2011.

Caruso, Marcelo., Reh Sabine and Fuchs Eckhardt. Education and nature. Paedagogica Historica, 56:1-2, 1-8, DOI: 10.1080/00309230.2020.1747505, 2020.

Caruso, Marcelo., Reh Sabine., and Fuchs, Eckhardt. Education and nature.

Carvalho, Isabel Cristina de Moura; Steil, Carlos Alberto; Gonzaga, Francisco Abraão. Learning from a more-than-human perspective. Plants as teachers, Journal of Environmental Education. 2020, Vol. 51 Issue 2, p144-155. 12p. 1 Diagram. DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2020.1726266.

Choukas-Bradley, Melanie, Resilience: Connecting with Nature in a Time of Crisis, 2020, Washington: ChangeMaker Books.

Darian, Steven. Understanding the language of science. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2003.

Dewey, John. Democracy and Education. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education (1966 edn.), New York: Free Press, 1916.

Elmore, R. W. Our relationship with the ecosystem and its impact on sustainable agriculture. Journal of Production Agriculture, 9(1), 42–45. https://doi.org/10.2134/jpa1996.0042, 1996.

Fields, Leslie Leyland (Ed). The Spirit of Food. Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2010.

Fletcher, Robert. Connection with nature is an oxymoron: A political ecology of “nature-deficit disorder”, The Journal of Environmental Education, 48:4, 226-233, DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2016.1139534 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00958964.2016.1139534, 2017

Gehlen, A. Man, His Nature and Place in the World. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

Hoffman, Andrew & Sandelands, Lloyd. Getting Right with Nature: Anthropocentrism, Ecocentrism and Theocentrism. Organization & Environment. 18. 10.1177/1086026605276197, 2004.

Hooks, Bell. 2009. Belonging: a culture of place. New York: Routledge, 2009.

Institute for Sustainable Futures. “Reducing new mining for electric vehicle battery metals: responsible sourcing through demand reduction strategies and recycling.” https://www.uts.edu.au/sites/default/files/2021-04/20210423_EW%20report%20final.pdf, 2021.

Jenkinson, Stephen, Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, California: North Atlantic Books, 2018.

Kaza, Stephanie. Conservations with Trees: An Intimate Ecology. Shambhala Publication, Inc, 2019.

Keel, Lukas. “Frenemies: John Muir and Gifford Pinchot.” https://www.neh.gov/article/frenemies-john-muir-and-gifford-pinchot, 2020.

Kesebir, Selin, and Kesebir, Pelin. “How Modern Life Became Disconnected from Nature”, https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_modern_life_became_disconnected_from_nature, 2017.

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass. Milkweed, Minnesota, 2019.

Kohak, Erazim. The Green Halo: A Bird’s Eye View of Ecological Ethics. Chicago: Open Court, 2000.

Lane, C. Belden. Exploring the Desert Solace and of Mountain fierce Spirituality Landscapes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. New York: Oxford University Press, 1949.

Lloyd, W. F. Two Lectures on the Checks to Population (Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 1833), reprinted (in part) in Population, Evolution, and Birth Control, G. Hardin, Ed. Freeman, San Francisco, 1964.

Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. New York: Workman Publishing, 2008.

Lukaš, Mirko and Munjiza, Emerik. 2014. Education system of John Amos Comenius and its implications in modern didactics, život i škola br. 31, 1. God. 60, 32–44, 2014.

Luntley, Michael. “On education and initiation.” In, Stefaan Cuypers and Christopher Martin, e.ds, Reading R.S. Peters today: Analysis, ethics and the aims of education. United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

McNeeley, Shannon, and Heather Lazrus. “The Cultural Theory of Risk for Climate Change Adaptation. Weather, Climate, and Society.” 6(4):506-519, 2014.

Mills, Mark. The “new energy economy”: An exercise in magical thinking. https://media4.manhattan-institute.org/sites/default/files/R-0319-MM.pdf, 2019.

Morse, J. W., Gladkikh, T. M., Hackenburg, D. M., Gould, R. K. COVID-19 and human nature relationships: Vermonters’ activities in nature and associated nonmaterial values during the pandemic. PLoS ONE 15(12): e0243697. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0243697: 16-24, 2020.

Morton, T. Ecology without nature: Rethinking environmental aesthetics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.

Murray, Robin L and Joseph K. Heumann. Monstrous Nature: Environment and Horror on the Big Screen. University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

Norton, B. G. Environmental ethics, and weak anthropocentrism. Environmental Ethics, 6(2), 131–148, 1984.

Richardson, M., Hunt, A., Hinds, J., Bragg, R., Fido, D., Petronzi, D. Barbett, L., Clitherow, T. and White, M. “A Measure of Nature Connectedness for Children and Adults: Validation, Performance, and Insights.” Sustainability. 11(12), 3250; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123250, 2019.

Rolston, Holmes III. “Value in Nature and the Nature of Value. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements”, Volume 36, 13 – 30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1358246100006421, 1994.

Sepie, Amba Jessida. Tracing the Motherline: Earth Elders, Decolonising Worldview, and Planetary Futurity. A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Geography. Available from https://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/15916, 2018.

Sokolowski, Robert. Introduction to Phenomenology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Sokolowski, Robert. Phenomenology of the human person. New York: Cambridge, 2008.

Statistica, “Proportion of population in cities worldwide from 1985 to 2050.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/264651/proportion-of-population-in-cities-worldwide/.

Steil, C. A and Carvalho, I. C. M. Epistemologias ecológicas: Delimitando um conceito. 2014, Mana, 20(1), 163–183. doi:10.1590/S0104-93132014000100006.

Styres, Sandra, Celia Haig-Brown and Melissa Blimkie. “Towards a Pedagogy of Land: The Urban Context.” Canadian Journal of Education 36, 34-67, 2013.

Taylor, Affrica and Pacini-Ketchabaw, Veronica. Learning with children, ants, and worms in the Anthropocene: towards a common world pedagogy of multispecies vulnerability, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 23:4, 507-529, DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2015.1039050, 2015.

Thoreau, Henry David, Henry David Thoreau Reflects on Nature, 1854, Walden. New York: 1910.

Thompson Michael, Richard J. Ellis, and Aaron Wildavsky. Cultural Theory. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1990.

White, G. Cultures in collusion: Traditional knowledge and Euro-Canadian governance processes in northern land-claim boards. Artic, 59(4), 401-414, 2006.

Williams, Jerry, and Parkman, Shaun. On Humans and Environment: The Role of Consciousness in Environmental Problems. Human Studies, 26: 449–460, 2003.

Zylstra, M., Knight, A., Esler, K., and Le Grange, L. Connectedness as a core conservation concern: An interdisciplinary review of theory and a call for practice. Springer Science Reviews, 2, 119–143, 2014.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v10i1.4618


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Matthew Etherington

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2015-2023. European Journal of Education Studies (ISSN 2501 - 1111) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All authors who send their manuscripts to this journal and whose articles are published on this journal retain full copyright of their articles. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).