May 8th, 2010

Sustainability Education in Practice: Appropriation of Rurality by the Globalized Migrants of Costa Rica

By Brandilyn Gordon, Fausto Sarmiento, Ricardo Russo and Jeffrey Jones


An innovative framework for sustainability helps investigate the impacts of real estate development and educational attainment of newcomers; more specifically, landscape transformation due to ‘amenity migration’ into the Global South.  We argue that sustainability research requires a de-categorization from mutually exclusive ‘human’ and ‘nature’ divisions, to refocus on intersections of multiple and complex socio-environmental processes, including the convergence of power relations inherent to development in the cultural landscapes of tropical mountains.  Further, due to the explicit impact of amenity migration on the mountain environment, the ecological modernity of Costa Rica becomes less neatly categorical, requiring new educational frameworks linked with ecologically-minded social actors, which could be obtained by developing an educational pipeline for the humid tropics.  Due to the normative nature of sustainability, we suggest that sustainability education is an essential component in influencing those value-laden choices central to environmental decision making, which are determined by well informed citizens and professionals trained with sustainability education approaches.

Full PDF:  GordonEtAl2010

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