Mind, body, heart, spirit and action towards responsible environmental behaviour change: OpEPA case study in Columbia

Cortes Cruz, Carolina (2018) Mind, body, heart, spirit and action towards responsible environmental behaviour change: OpEPA case study in Columbia. Masters dissertation, University of Cumbria. Item availability may be restricted.

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During the 1960s, with concerns about the environment gaining importance, environmental education (EE) and outdoor education (OE) emerged as prominent and possible educational responses to the environmental crisis. In recent years, due to the growing concern over sustainability, protection of nature, and the increase of the disconnection from it, institutions like OpEPA (Organización para la Educación y Protección Ambiental/Organization for Environmental Education and Protection) have been created in Colombia to help people be aware of the importance of the environment. OpEPA was chosen as a case study because it is the pioneer organization of outdoor environmental education in Colombia. This research is based on the analysis of OpEPA’s philosophy and programmes, and four interviews were done to correlate the information found. The research question that guided the thesis was: What is the foundation of environmental education and outdoor education offered by OpEPA? OpEPA’s philosophy of mind, heart, body, spirit and action towards responsible environmental behaviour change is the answer to my research question because it is the foundation of its programmes. Acquiring knowledge (mind), involving emotions in the learning process (heart), being in contact with nature (body), realization of the interconnection between people and environment (spirit) and promoting action (action) are important components to influence people’s behaviours towards the environment. The intention of uniting mind, body, heart, spirit and action is to encourage people to participate and be proactive citizens in activities and causes that work towards transforming their environment in benefit of it.

The purpose of OpEPA is to reconnect people with the environment, to have them fall in love with it and to change their relationship with it. OpEPA wants to reach as many people as possible through different programmes that meet people’s interests, especially those interests of children and youth. Six main areas of environmental action where found: Curriculum Design and Teacher Training, Expeditions and Technical Outdoor Skills Courses, Risk Management and Emergency Response Training, Communication to Preserve the Environment, Public Policy, and Youth and Children Environmental Leadership. OpEPA, through these six areas of environmental concern, works with communities in different parts of Colombia. Despite the lack of literature available about outdoor environmental education (OEE) in Colombia, through OpEPA it was found there are different initiatives taking place today on behalf of OEE that will hopefully result in future changes in the human-environment relationship within the country. Some public and private schools are working together to implement OEE, and children and youth are expressing themselves and communicating their ideas to propose solutions to the current environmental problems. For instance, they are participating in art projects to transmit their feelings and understandings about the environment to people and they are doing projects that impact their local environment. Furthermore, OpEPA and National Parks work together with communities in different parts of Colombia. They are bringing school children and youth to the national parks. They are training people from the community to transmit the message the territory has to tell. One of the biggest limitations to implementing OEE in Colombia is the lack of financial support for these programmes. Organizations like OpEPA are forced to provide their own financing in order for children and youth with scarce financial resources to be able to access this kind of education.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Masters)
Departments: Academic Departments > Science, Natural Resources & Outdoor Studies (SNROS) > Outdoor Studies
Additional Information: Dissertation presented in part fulfilment of the requirements of the Degree of Master of Arts in Transcultural European Outdoor Studies, University of Cumbria, 2018.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2018 11:55
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 19:01
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3973
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