A Critical Stand of My Own: Complementarity of Responsible Environmental Sustainability Education and Quality Thinking

  • Carol Scarff Seatter UBC


This paper examines the teaching of education for environmental sustainability-related programs in higher education and puts forward an argument for embedded critical thinking within all courses that promote action competence and pro-environmental behaviour. Mogensen's four paradigms of critical thought - epistemological, transformative, dialectical, holistic - provide a template to expand the notion of critical thinking as one that is not limited to a higher order, analytical process suitable for a select few individuals. Drawing on diverse research literature in educational philosophy and psychology, as well as environmental sustainability educational theory and practice, an argument is put forward that without embedded critical thinking pedagogy there can be no action competence and without action competence environmental sustainability programs are deficient and powerless. Therefore it is the case that teaching environmental sustainability education without embedded critical thinking is in danger of indoctrinating students.