There is nothing at all new about societies collapsing as a result of environmental crises caused by poor choices made under uncertainty. Indeed, such instances have been very well documented by, in particular, Jared Diamond; and some have been further explored from an educational perspective. However, and as Diamond himself points out, it can very well be argued that, because of the globalised nature of contemporary societies, a situation now arises in which it is the human species as a whole, rather than any particular and relatively isolated community, that faces possible collapse. It would seem, therefore, that the scale of the problem has increased; but we still might ask whether its underlying nature has changed all that much and, if not, whether in fact human societies have ever or even, ultimately, could ever be sustainable. The environmental extinction of societies has usually occurred when long, slow and powerful trends in nature have coincided with inappropriate social preoccupations that either ignore or are ignorant of them. The paper identifies education as a common denominator; itself both a long-term characteristic of evolved social behaviour and a short-term social preoccupation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations