Environment and Culture: Developing Alternative Perspectives in Environmental Discourse

Kumi Kato

Abstract


This paper suggests that many aspects of environmental discourse that have been assumed to be universal need to be challenged to further develop environmental ideologies in today's increasingly diverse social contexts. It argues that cultural myths and misunderstandings often obscure truth, distort reality and lead to unnecessary conflicts and antagonism, which are also seen in environmental management issues. Referring to the cases of Japan’s whaling and the assumed lack of interest in environmental issues among Asian communities, the paper argues that incorporating social and cultural aspects specific to a local context is critical for effective environmental management and education as well as for further development of environmental ideologies; and that sound cross-cultural understanding is an essential skill for all environmental educators and practioners.

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