2017 Volume 26 Issue 4 Pages 4_77-83
In this end-piece to the special issue of the Japanese Journal of Environmental Education: Environmental Education in Asia, we review, compare and synthesize the discussions provided in this issue to reach our aim of going beyond merely describing environmental education (EE) in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, and seek further questions and common issues relevant to the region and possibly the global community. From the first three articles, which overviewed formal EE in each country, three issues emerged for further study: institutionalizing EE in schools, the roles of EE in improving the quality of school education, and marginalization of EE in schools oriented towards college entrance. The next three articles suggested the limited impacts non-formal EE has made on society as a whole in these places and the need to investigate how governmental institutionalization affected the characteristics, contents, and qualities of non-formal EE, to avoid weakening its diversity and autonomy. The next three articles, which overviewed EE research trends, led to the questions: “How can we transform EE practices into EE research?” and “How can we enhance the field of EE as an academic discipline?” The contribution from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia discussed the importance of understanding EE in relation to biogeography, sociocultural and socioecological history, and proposed collaboration in cross-cultural EE exchanges, “posthumanist” EE development, and EE for Asian migrants in Austrasia. Finally, the last paper invited us to envision futures for EE, raising critical questions in relation to the roles of EE to “invite” people to reflect on values, controversies, and dilemmas, to critically face the “post-truth” era, and to take necessary action. Our next step is to invite more people to join our challenge in reflecting critically on our practices as EE professionals in Asia in relation to the ecological, geographical, social, political, economic, and cultural contexts and finding ways for further development and contributions to global EE collaboration.