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Quick Chat: Environmental Citizenship and Spirituality

June 03,2015

Werklund Prof's SSHRC research considers our relationship with the world around us

In this Quick Chat, Groen discusses our relationship with the world around us

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June 2, 2015 - It’s the first week of June, and as people start to get out and enjoy the more pleasant weather a Calgary spring brings, thoughts might turn to the environment.  There are a range of events taking place during the next several days, including the Mayor’s Environment Expo and Canada-wide Commuter Challenge.

Despite activities such as these, and constant reminders of the urgent ecological issues with which the planet is faced, Janet Groen says our daily lives haven't really changed. 

The professor in the Werklund School of Education says we’re more aware of the world around us and what we’re doing (or not doing) that has an impact, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re making changes in our daily lives.

Groen says that scholars across many fields of study come to the conclusion that this is fundamentally a spiritual problem that requires the changing of hearts and minds about our relationship to the earth so we begin to live differently.

She’s begun a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded grant to study the role of religion and spirituality in cultivating environmental citizenship, specifically through spiritual retreat centres.

In this Quick Chat, Groen discusses the nexus of spirituality, adult learning, and environmental adult education and how each of these has the potential to impact an increased responsibility towards environmental citizenship.