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Nature vs. nature : an analysis of environmental discourse

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Title:
Nature vs. nature : an analysis of environmental discourse
Creator:
Eastes, Joshua M.
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of science)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Environmental sciences
Committee Chair:
Wee, Bryan
Committee Members:
Simon, Gregory
Kroepsch, Adrianne

Notes

Abstract:
Discourses embedded in children’s perceptions of the environment in Stockholm and more broadly, the national curriculum in Sweden are not aligned. This lends greater perspective on children's visual representations of the environment and provides a window into the ways that education, as a form of governance, influences our connections with people and places. The use of discourse in environmental education implicates not only what children think, but also why they might think the way they do. Discourse, when operationalized, has the power to influence the way we construct, interact with and value N(n)ature. By understanding the embedded discourses in the education governance in Stockholm and children’s drawings of nature, we are empowered to approach responsible paradigms and inclusive modalities. Children’s drawings of the environment from Stockholm were analyzed using emergent discursive themes from the national curriculum of Sweden. This allowed for a contextually specific understanding of how children are perceiving their nature in Stockholm. Perhaps unsurprisingly, children in Stockholm reproduced sentiments of humanity’s negative impacts on nature to a much higher degree than any other nature discourse stemming from their curriculum. This may suggest an emphasis by teachers on specific parts of the intended curriculum. It may also implicate other non-formal educational experiences inherent in Sweden’s form of childhood. This discussion is important due to its implications. Revealing ideas of nature in a given society empowers them to act accordingly if the ideas present cause for concern. Considering the state of environmental health across the world, N(n)ature has yet to be broadly respected; though this can change. This study represents a call to humankind to consider their ideologies, assumptions and operations as one force in the much broader context of Nature.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
Rights Management:
Copyright Joshua Eastes. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Full Text
NATURE VS. NATURE: AN ANALYSIS OF ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOURSE
by
JOSHUA M. EASTES B.S., Butler University, 2016
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Environmental Sciences Program
2019


This thesis for the Master of Science degree by
Joshua Eastes has been approved for the Environmental Sciences Program by
Bryan Wee, Chair Gregory Simon Adrianne Kroepsch
Date: August 3rd, 2019


Eastes, Joshua (M.S., Environmental Sciences)
Nature vs. nature: An Analysis of Environmental Discourse Thesis directed by Associate Professor Bryan Wee
ABSTRACT
Discourses embedded in children’s perceptions of the environment in Stockholm and more broadly, the national curriculum in Sweden are not aligned. This lends greater perspective on children's visual representations of the environment and provides a window into the ways that education, as a form of governance, influences our connections with people and places.
The use of discourse in environmental education implicates not only what children think, but also why they might think the way they do. Discourse, when operationalized, has the power to influence the way we construct, interact with and value N(n)ature. By understanding the embedded discourses in the education governance in Stockholm and children’s drawings of nature, we are empowered to approach responsible paradigms and inclusive modalities. Children’s drawings of the environment from Stockholm were analyzed using emergent discursive themes from the national curriculum of Sweden. This allowed for a contextually specific understanding of how children are perceiving their nature in Stockholm. Perhaps unsurprisingly, children in Stockholm reproduced sentiments of humanity’s negative impacts on nature to a much higher degree than any other nature discourse stemming from their curriculum. This may suggest an emphasis by teachers on specific parts of the intended curriculum. It may also implicate other non-formal educational experiences inherent in Sweden’s form of childhood. This discussion is important due to its implications. Revealing ideas of nature in a given society empowers them to act accordingly if the ideas present cause for concern. Considering the state of environmental health across the world, N(n)ature has yet to be broadly
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respected; though this can change. This study represents a call to humankind to consider their ideologies, assumptions and operations as one force in the much broader context of Nature.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Bryan Wee
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DEDICATION
This work is dedicated to hidden peoples among all times and spaces.
“You are still curled in the future, like seeds biding your time. Even though you are not yet born,
I think of you often. I feel the promise of your coming the way I feel the surge of spring before it rises out of the frozen ground. What marvels await you on this wild Earth! When you do rise into the light of this world, you’ll be glad of your fresh eyes and ears, your noses and tongues, your sensitive fingers, for they will bring you news of a planet more wonderful and mysterious than anything I can tell you about in mere words.” -Scott Russell Sanders, We Bare You in Mind
(Moore and Nelson, 2011, p. 45)
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ACKNOWLEDGEM ENTS
I would like to thank Dr. Bryan Wee for his consistent and invaluable guidance without which this work would not have been accomplished. As I worked through this piece, I began to realize the lessons and wisdom he imparted onto me over the past two years, not only pertaining to my progress as a scholar, but as a human being striving to be better. I would also like to thank Dr. Gregory Simon and Dr. Adrianne Kroepsch for their continued support throughout the research process. Lastly, I would like to thank those close to me who have and will continue to show me why dedication to their craft is so imperative to devoted agents of social change. You know who you are.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION............................................................3
(n)ature..........................................................4
(N)ature..........................................................5
II. LITERATURE REVIEW.........................................................9
Conceptions of nature.............................................9
Human-nature Relationships........................................11
Environmental Perceptions.........................................13
Research on Environmental Perceptions.............................15
III. METHODS..................................................................23
Context and Data Collection.......................................23
Methods: Study Sample/Demographic.................................24
Methods: Data Analysis............................................24
Analyzing Children’s Drawings in Education Research...............24
Analyzing Education Curriculum....................................26
Operationalized Drawing Analysis..................................30
IV. FINDINGS.................................................................32
Local Contexts (Lc)...............................................34
Human Impacts (Im).................................................37
Ambiguity of Position and Operation in nature......................42
Conclusion...............................................................43
REFERENCES.....................................................................45
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APPENDIX
A. Selected Excerpts from the Swedish National Curriculum...........................50
B. Featured Drawings................................................................56
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LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
1. Nature Discourses from the Swedish National Curriculum...............29
2. Coding of Children’s Drawings of the Environment in the Future.......33
IX


LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE
1. Representation of Local Nature (Lc)..........................................35
2. Representative Drawings of Pessimistic Human Impacts “Bad World” (1).........38
3. Representative Drawings of Pessimistic Human Impacts “Bad World” (2).........39
4. Representative Drawing of the Optimistic or “Good World”....................41
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PROLOGUE
As I have progressed through my graduate program in Geography and Environmental Science, I have become irrevocably aware of the complexity of problems facing life on earth at all perceivable scales (e.g. local, regional, global, microbial, human, etc.). There is currently an assault on life specific to this era of humanity. It is loosely alluded to here as “global climate change.” I offer this label only as an acknowledgement that the climate is changing and is changing in part because of our actions now and in the past. My main motivation coming into this program and specifically, this project, was to do something about our indefensible actions.
The more I have learned about the problem of climate change, the more complexity and ineffability is implicated. Before mere economic operations, political fallibilities or any other social structure issue, I have come to understand that the way people perceive their experience with not only themselves, but others and more broadly, nature, is implicated in any social movement or issue. Perception is antecedent to agency. You must perceive to act (or not). Perception is an idea rife with complexity and perhaps ineffability, but I was never one that sought the readily-solvable problems. Consequently, I aimed, under the guidance of mentors, to uncover some small truth behind children’s perceptions of their environment. As our future, children must act if life is to persist.
I for one wish to avoid life persisting how it has. Consequently, I undertook this project to understand in some capacity, how life is persisting, as indicated by one educational governance structure (e.g. national curriculum). By understanding how children are being taught, I may be able to understand in some way how life will become. Using curricular discourses of nature to analyze children’s drawings of the environment allows me to make assertions of how children are reproducing discourses pervasive in their everyday life. This analysis also helps to inform me whether there is a cause for concern based on my personal beliefs vis-a-vis global social-environmental processes.


At the start of this thesis, I thought I had a sound conception of nature. It was a place of rocks and roots; where animals were and I was a visitor, much like the natures exemplified by classics like Lord of the Rings. Only when we returned to the woods would we find our environmental salvation. Writing this now, I come to the realization that the form of Nature is ineffably simple; it is not encapsulated by any nature discourse we have or ever will contrive. Nature is a simple form, one devoid of categorization except itself. Perhaps this is why Wordsworth (1971) referred to spots of time as inconceivably pure, rejuvenating and antediluvian; they are those instances in life where we free ourselves from the world(s) we construct for ourselves and start to live more truly in the places that are and will be. “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul,” (Weil,
1955, p. 43).
So why do nature discourses of dominion and insidious human-environment relationships prevail? Because we let them. We don’t often ponder their existence or defensibility. This work represents my due diligence to explore these embedded discourses so that our future may explore along with me. Like the ineffability of nature, my relationship with the future is one of devotion and love. I can no longer reasonably separate myself from the multitude of future life. Because of this inseparability, it is imperative that I understand discourses now so that I may call them into question.
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CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
A “life world” is not only the rocks and roots, but also the beings interacting with the rocks and roots, and especially humans (Abram, 2012; Husserl, 2012; Merleau-Ponty, 2013). Environment-creature interactions are produced inseparably by both entities. Specific to humans, the construct of the human is made only by what is not human (Abram, 2012). Apply this notion to all living creatures, and the implication is clear - the environment/nature is inseparable from all that exists on Earth. This philosophical assertion has major implications for our perceptions of and relationship with, nature in the context of governance.
Individual and social perceptions have clear connections to governance. The economy helps govern society members by establishing career trends, promoting material values, and mediating money flow in a given market. The socio-political interface is perhaps the most obvious construct relating to governance as it directly governs the behavior and views of its constituents by drawing from legislation, law enforcement and government bodies at the local, regional and global levels. Importantly for this research, education involves the dissemination and internalization of knowledge which influences the individual and the wider society and contributes to governance by moderating knowledge perception (Amaral et al., 2013; Shepardson et al., 2007a,b). Whether through the economic, the sociopolitical or the educational aspects of governance, perception of the individual and more broadly the collective perception of a society, are mutually influenced through subjective and collective power struggles (Foucault, 1997; Foucault et al., 2008; Lemke 2001).
Perception shapes the operational agency of the individual, that is, how individuals behave, mindset and agency within broader social contexts (Wee, 2012). From a young age, formal education influences how young minds and their perceptions are molded. Classical
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education has failed to develop positive environmental perspectives in students. This has contributed to the sustainability issues we face as a global community today (Stevenson, 2007). Traditional education practices have focused on factual knowledge accumulation and emphasize content but pay less attention to how students’ lives relate to the curriculum (Wee, 2012). A focus on this relationship between education and perceptions can reveal perceptions of nature and empower people to start conversations (dialogue) instead of reverting to monologues that fail to capture the breadth of lived human experiences. These conversations allow for honest scrutiny of our relationship with nature and each other, setting the stage for constructive critique of not only our own perceptions and operations, but collective operations at large (Foucault, 1997; Foucault et al., 2008; Lemke, 2001).
Antecedent to the rest of my thesis, I must clarify what I mean by “Nature” and “nature.” This linguistic and philosophical difference is imperative, as it crucially sets the stage for the rest of my work; it will also be important to read the following constructions of nature while keeping in mind the “biopolitical” (e.g. individual and social relationships inherent in a given vision) assumptions embedded within different conceptions (Foucault et al., 2008).
(n)ature.
Constructivist lenses define nature as a mutually-constituted idea built through connections of ideas that culminate in the object itself (Kahn and Kellert, 2002). Fairclough (1992) explores this definition of nature by explaining the role of text and discourse in the social construction of knowledge. Text is defined as the written or spoken data of a dialogue between entities (Fairclough, 1992). Discourse is defined as the intersection of comprehension, communication and dissemination of ideas that culminate from the interaction and internalization of other discourses and texts (Fairclough, 1992). Together, constructs such as text and discourse govern social behavior (Fairclough, 1992). How, where and when people interact with nature are predominantly determined by major paradigms of a society (Cresswell,
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2012) For example, in some cases children can only interact with the natural world (e.g. a nature walk at the zoo) after school, when their parents are with them and can only walk along a prescribed path (Wee et al., 2018). In this context, therefore, a nature discourse may only be said to exist as a construct agreed upon and built through idealization, authorship and reproduction in a particular place, at a particular time, among a particular group of people.
(N)ature
Nature, and more generally, all abstract “forms,” have been defined as something existent regardless of human experience or construction (Gerson, 2017). Kellert (2002) echoes this definition by depicting nature as something apart from human influences on it and through which beings, in part, come into being. For Kellert (2002), Nature is something that all beings, human and nonhuman, depend on for health and healthy growing/development. In this view, the rocks, air and water serve as infallible evidence that Nature is a form existent and that humans simply add their individual valuations to it. Chawla (2002) parallels this idea, saying, “the material world (Nature) reveals patterns of divinity (p. 201).” These revelations of divinity refer to inherently meaningful yet inexpressible interactions of humanity. For Chawla (2002), the value of things, abstract or material, are intrinsic to themselves and can only refer to the essential meaning of being. This is not to say that nothing is ultimately valuable, but rather, the essential cannot be expressed by one thing (form) alone. (N)ature, then, is the abstract form or the theoretical basis by which we contemplate or attribute characteristics to material or individually contrived (n)atures (Castree, 1995). (n)ature is never an immutable form, rather it is an ever-evolving idea that is continually constructed by the developing individual and does not encapsulate the form of Nature, (n)atures can reflect material objects/places that could include human and non-human visions, but also theoretical/abstract conceptions reified through discourse and social constructs (Castree, 1995; Heynen and Robbins, 2005). For the remainder of this piece, “nature” will refer to individualized perceptions of (n)ature; these perceptions could
5


refer to human or non-human natures that could be entirely conceptual or refer to “nature’s materiality” (Castree, 1995; Heynen and Robbins, 2005).
(n)atures can (and often) reflect anthropocentric mentalities consistent with dominant discourses that are pervasive in contemporary Western ideologies. These dominant discourses are constructed from a human-centric perspective; nature is a place separate from humans where we impact it, rather than impact ourselves as a part of nature. Dominant discourses of nature being operationalized in the global north are predominantly anthropocentric; humankind operates at the center of meaning with complete dominion over the natural world (Wee, 2012). There is definable separation between humankind and the rest of nature in these type discourses. A reinvigoration of nature discourses can help remove the divide between our pillars (social constructs) and the natural unity found outside. This is important because we cannot hope to effectively begin healing the natural world and our position in it if we continue to view ourselves as simply investors in its faculties.
An environmental curriculum can also reveal opposing discourses of nature. A curriculum is constructed with the goal of (re)producing perceptions of the environment. While differing nature discourses may be present in any given curriculum, it is possible that a dominant perspective in a curriculum (as a form of governance) can have a major influence on perceptions. There is currently a disproportionate amount of research regarding the relationships between adult environmental perception, economics, political governance and environmental education, but a dearth of research regarding the relationship between environmental perception in children and education governance. Environmental education research has tended to show that education can change environmental perception, mainly focusing on adults (Crowe, 2013; Eagles and Demare, 1999; Lee et al., 2015; Littledyke, 2004; Newman and Fernandes, 2016). Studying the embedded discourses in student perceptions of
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the environment and their environmental curriculum allows for a conversation of current education governance systems and how they perpetuate nature discourses.
The purpose of this project is to critically analyze the discourses embedded in student perceptions of the environment and the national curriculum of Sweden. Uncovering emergent themes relating to nature in these databases may lend perspective on any divergences between government’s intentions and the public’s perception of these intentions. This analysis could prove useful for future work similar to the present study (e.g. environmental perception and economic governance, political governance, or similar studies conducted in other places around the world). By reorienting irresponsible ideologies of nature reified in dominant discourses to sustainable and morally-defensible ideals, one of the central goals in EE, to produce critical and responsible thinkers, could possibly and probably occur.
Having clarified the concepts integral to my work, my research questions are:
1. What are the nature discourses represented in Sweden’s national curriculum?
2. Are these nature discourses evident in children’s drawings of the environment? If so, how?
3. What do these nature discourses reveal about education as a governance structure, and what are its implications?
By understanding embedded nature discourses and learners’ perceptions of the environment, progress to create responsible paradigms and inclusive modalities can be approached. Further, considering the state of environmental health across the world, nature has yet to be broadly respected within our dominant discourses; this can change. This study represents a call to humankind to consider their ideologies, assumptions and operations as a sole force in the much broader context of Nature. It is time to humble our position as one entity that has, to this point, expressed its dominative hubris to control and create nature. We must
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now come to understand the natures of a variety of perspectives so that we may address the needs and views of the multitude rather than continue to reproduce historically persistent and pervasive visions of nature.
8


CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
The concept of “nature” is approached in many ways. Explaining what researchers and authors mean by the word “nature” is only coherently viable when it is left amorphic. There is no consensus regarding nature in the literature, however there is agreement across disciplines that interaction with nature has measurable effects on the child, and more broadly, the human agent. Before we can understand nature with any depth, we must first explore the different approaches to defining nature.
Conceptions of nature
The literature to date predominantly consists of constructivist conceptions of nature. As presented previously, Fairclough (1992) explain this social construction and valuation by implicating text and discourse. Abstract objects like nature are mutually-constituted ideas built through textual and discursive connections that culminated in the object itself. Text is then implicated in an evolving discourse that ultimately influences social constructs that govern social behavior and action (Fairclough, 1992). Entirely reduced, nature can only be said to exist as a conceptual construct that is idealized and authored on (i.e. nature is only “human nature” wherein the human perception of the material is the only meaningful reality of nature). Cresswell (2012) presents similar ideas by relating the economic mode of a society to their construction of abstract objects. His Marxist Geographies chapter explores how wealth concentration and distribution influences both the individual and the wider society by moderating the production of knowledge, as knowledge itself is discursive in nature. In this lens, how, where and when people interact with non-human nature are co-produced by the major economic paradigm within a society and the physical geography of the region (Cresswell, 2012).
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Others have constructed nature in similar ways, but instead of entirely attributing discourse to its existence, the construct is created internally rather than externally; the agent assimilates ideas of nature into their own conception of it. Kahn (2002) expresses this modality by outlining a system in which nature is constructed internally by the individual as the individual constructs the world through stages of morality and reasoning development. Structures of reality are shaped and constantly in flux as new information is accrued and development occurs (Kahn, 2002). Kahn (2002) echoes similar ideas of development that are presented in Piaget’s seminal work wherein all human agents pass through discrete stages of development (Wadsworth,
1996). Reducing these theories, nature (i.e. human nature) is never an immutable form, rather a continually-evolving idea that is being constructed within the developing individual.
Rather than defining nature as something essential, nature itself is formed through interaction with people, nonhuman beings, place and the senses to create human nature (Wee, 2018). The “life world” or experienced world is inseparably constituted by the experiencing being’s perception of everything that is “other” to itself (Abram, 2012; Husserl, 2012; Merleau-Ponty, 2013). Similar assertions are made in studies that work to uncover traditional and nuanced conceptions of nature in Sweden. Jonsson et al., (2012) sought to understand the changing Sami (native Swedish culture) relationship with their nature. Children from Sami cultures identified with a living nature; this nature constituted their land (the rocks and roots), their reindeer (farm animals), and most importantly, themselves. The children in this study exist in an evolving local economy that is dependent on global and regional economic structures. They could no longer afford to stay on their land (i.e. non-human nature) and pass it along to future generations, instead, they were forced to question their experience with their land and animals, against their wishes, to be able to support their future families. For these children, nature and their experience with it was no longer perceivably disconnected to wider human structures. The authors concluded that the very nature of Sami experience with nature had
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evolved, indicated by changing landscapes and lived experiences (Jonsson et al., 2012). This study represents the importance of human-nature interactions; humans interact with what is non-human to produce knowledge of their natures (Castree, 1995).
Mels (2009) makes an interesting assertion in line with the nature of Sami children: “The Environment” can no longer afford to exist discursively reduced to one conception. Rather, discourses of the environment must be free of broader Western, capitalistic ideologies, even as pervasive as they are. To Mels (2009), there is no “Nature” to experience directly; there is only nature, and these natures should no longer be analyzed under the assumption that there should be only one experience or reified form.
Nature has also been defined as something that exists whether humans experience it or construct it. Kellert (2002) echoes this definition by depicting nature as something apart from human influences on it and through which beings in part come into being (i.e. non-human nature). For Kellert (2002), nature is something that all beings, human and nonhuman, depend on for health and well-being. In this view, the rocks, air and water (i.e. non-human nature) serve as undeniable evidence that Nature is existent and that humans simply add their individual valuations to it. This is different from previous explanations as Nature is also intrinsically rather than solely extrinsically meaningful. Chawla (2002) parallels this idea, saying, “the material world (nature) reveals patterns of divinity (p. 201).” These revelations of divinity through the material world are encapsulated by her notion of “spots of time,” that refer to inherently meaningful yet inexpressible interactions with nature (reflection of the intelligible world).
Human-Nature Relationships
Wells and Evans (2003) found that interaction with nature improved social, behavioral and physical well-being of both children and adults. Their study concluded that at-risk children showed improvements pertaining to “attention deficit disorder” among other health measurables.
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Interaction with nature also improved health across different landscapes as rural children displayed the same type of benefits that children from urban or city landscapes displayed; consequently, it is the being in nature that affects children rather than the being surrounded by nature (Wells & Evans, 2003). “Self-discipline” in at-risk, inner-city children also improved because of interaction with nature (Taylor et al., 2002). Distance (from normal school premises) mediated their findings; girls responded with greater efficacy when nature was within a closer radius from their homes while boys showed the more improvement when their play spaces (farther away from their home) were more natural (Taylor et al., 2002).
This was further explored by Giusti et al., (2014) as they attempted to relate “biospheric affinity” of preschool students to their proximity to nature. Utilizing observational techniques, they concluded that students whose preschool was closer to natural reserves displayed higher biospheric affinity (cognitive and emotional connection to the natural world), while the more urbanized cohort of students tended to grow in biospheric affinity as they participated in urban-outdoor activities (Giusti, et al., 2014). Giusti et al., (2014) concluded that interaction with local natures can bolster environmental affinity, or affection for the natural world.
Others have framed human-environment relationships differently. For example, Naess (1973) and Drengson (1995) outline the deep ecology movement wherein human and nonhuman entities, their values and operations, are inherently valuable. In this view, the natural world has value outside of its utility to human society; additionally, this framework draws from the work of Muir (2011) and Pinchot (1910) who asserted that humans should exercise minimal agency towards upsetting or altering natural ecosystems/environments. Deep ecology is also very similar in orientation to ecocentrism in which the focus of human operation should be on the overall function of the total ecosystem, not necessarily on human functionality (Hoffman and Sandelands, 2005). The main theses of ecocentrism and deep ecology focus on critiquing the
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human egoism of anthropocentrism wherein valuation of what is not human exclusively stems of its utility to human society (Hoffman and Sandelands, 2005).
While critique of these differing conceptions of human-environment relations is outside the scope of this work, it is necessary to call attention to the different ways in which these relationships are perceived. By understanding these conceptions, we may glean insight into the possible influences on how people may construct their natures (human and non-human) and their interaction with them.
Environmental Perceptions
Environmental education researchers study how people valuate and visualize the environment differently and develop nuanced methods based on various demographics of subjects in a study (Wee et al., 2013; Shepardson et al., 2009). Researching adult environmental perception tends to involve quantifying/qualifying a person’s attitude and behavior towards/within the environment. Environmental education research conventionally utilizes differing processes to quantify and qualify environmental perceptions. Some of these measures were developed in one discipline (e.g. sociology or economics) but were utile for the purposes of others, leading to occasional conservation/use of methods across different disciplines. One of these universal methods for quantifying environmental perception is the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale. The method uses a fifteen-item questionnaire to measure the participant’s affinity to either the Dominant Social Paradigm (DSP) or the NEP. Participants are prompted to reflect their agreement with each of the statements on the questionnaire. Even-numbered statements relate to the DSP that is demonstrably less ecocentric (i.e. places no intrinsic value on natural environments) while odd-numbered statements relate to the NEP. Participants are categorized into dichotomous groups based on their agreement for each of the items in the questionnaire, and since there are more items relating to the NEP, a higher score on the scale relates to a more ecocentric environmental perception (Crowe, 2013; Eagles and
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Demare, 1999; Lee, et. al., 2015; Littledyke, 2004; Newman and Fernandes, 2016). Findings of these type studies tend to show that environmental perception, as measured by the scale, increases from pre- to post-course. It is important to note however that there are clear differences between the type of “perception” gleaned from NEP data and the “perception” gleaned from content analysis or discourse analysis as presented below.
Nuanced methodologies in the field of EE research often utilize drawings/visualizations. These visualizations are then analyzed for emergent themes pertaining to the discourses being studied (Anthamatten et. al., 2013; Barraza, 1999; Shepardson, et. al., 2005; Shepardson, et. al., 2007a; Shepardson, et. al., 2007b; Wee, et. al., 2004; Wee, et. al., 2006; Wee, et. al., 2012; Wee, et. al., 2013; Wee, et. al., 2014). By gathering visual representations by students, researchers can avoid research of children’s environmental perceptions and can conduct research with children to garner their perceptions. Conventional research tended to operate with the former inherent assumptions rather than the latter, leading some researchers to question the authenticity of their findings. Visualization is an important tool for environmental education and an effective methodology in teaching science (e.g. geography). Visualization is an effective means to glean meaning from and teach meaningful concepts to students in science (Wee et al., 2013). The studies representing nuanced methodologies presented here avoid these criticisms by leaving drawing prompts simple so that students respond more authentically than to prompts heavily constructed of the researcher’s dominant assumptions. This type of research tends to yield findings different from those that utilized measures like the NEP; namely, inductive analysis reflects children’s conceptions of the environment from their drawings rather than from previously-determined measures.
As alluded to earlier, it is important to note that the data gathered from the content and discourse analysis present in this section is different from the type of data gathered from NEP testing. They are both useful in gathering subject “perceptions” but the two are different in
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nature. Drawings elicit the freedom (if the prompt is relatively free of guidelines) to depict one’s ideas; NEP testing elicits a response to a series of categorical prompts. The prevalence of selfselection and general researcher selection are implicated as problematic because they might create bias during data gathering and analysis. Multiple studies presented here used pre- and post-interaction survey responses to fixed questions (Wells and Evans, 2003; Taylor et al., 2002; Kahn, 2002). There are major and apparent issues with this methodology; namely, the children are only responding to the researcher’s structure of nature, not actively creating and relaying their own. “The smells, sounds and feeling of being in the environment being evaluated cannot be recreated [by survey responses],” (Wee, 2012; Wee and Anthamatten, 2014).
Research on Environmental Perceptions
Environmental education (EE) research has tended to show that education can change environmental perception. Environmental perception (e.g. NEP scores or drawings) before and after environmental educational experiences change (Eagles and Demare, 1999; Littledyke, 2004; Wee, et. al., 2004; Shepardson, et. al., 2007a; Shepardson, et. al., 2007b; Crowe, 2013; Lee, et. al., 2015; Newman and Fernandes, 2016). An exemplary study by Crowe (2013) found that environmental perception was significantly impacted by an introductory environmental science course for both a control class (without eco-spirituality components) and an experimental class (with eco-spiritual components) although larger changes were observed in terms of NEP scores for the experimental group. The instructor for the experimental course related personally to the class participants with “real-life” experiences stemming from her spirituality. A 6.2% increase in NEP score between the pre- and post-class experience regarding the experimental group in comparison to a 2.8% increase in NEP score regarding the control group establishes that introducing spiritual components in environmental education may prove useful for bolstering pro-environmental attitudes and perceptions (Crowe, 2013). Two other studies corroborated the findings by concluding that environmental education related to
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global or local environmental issues proved to the strongest predictor for environmental awareness, concern, and activism in Latin America, Africa, and smaller European and Asian communities (Lee, et. al., 2015; Newman and Fernandes, 2016).
Bogner (2002) further elucidated the ideas presented here by showing that outdoor residential environmental education experience significantly affected pre- and post-survey responses. Students between the ages of 11 and 16 were exposed to out-of-the-classroom learning experiences on several occasions. Before the experience occurred, students were given a pre survey accompanied by a post survey one month later. Resulting from the educational experience, minimalization of human impacts on the environmental arose while utilitarian environmental perceptions remained the same (Bogner, 2002). While these results are positive, reorienting perceptions to be more sustainable is the goal, and conventional education curriculum may not be suitable for achieving such goals (Bogner, 2002). It is here that we can note the difference between traditional educational practices and those represented in more nuanced environmental educational settings. EE tends to be represented by learning opportunities oriented toward understanding the inseparability of environmental entities/factors (e.g. humans and ecosystems) to bolster environmentally aware pupils. Education more generally applied to other disciplines, and especially in primary school settings where most children operate, tends to fall under lower levels of cognitive demands (e.g. remember and understand) as outlined in Bloom’s Taxonomy (Sosniak, 1994). Although this idea is far from a rule, it is noteworthy that environmental education’s more nuanced goals are inherently different from those of more tradition educational goals. This notion will be implicated later in this review to explain in part the nuances and development of Sweden’s national curriculum.
Another study of importance is Howell (2013) who found that altruism and concern for the vulnerable (e.g. poor, underprivileged members) of society were significant indicators of activism and action of people leading low-carbon lives. Participants displayed less biocentric
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motivations and more sociocentric motivations which implicates the need for a more holistic marketing approaches of low-carbon lifestyles (Howell, 2013). Howell and Allen (2017) also concluded that biocentric and moralistic values were of equal importance according to 344 environmental activists. Activists reported more moral reasons for engaging in environmental activism than biocentric motivations. This study shows that cultivating biocentric or anthropocentric values may not be as effective in bolstering environmental activism as promoting moral imperatives regarding the duty of stewardship (Howell and Allen, 2017).
Palmer et al., (1998) corroborated these trends by concluding that moral imperatives for teaching the young responsibility and stewardship were more influential than biocentric concern among environmental educators. These ideas will later be revisited as the national curriculum of Sweden is rife with moral imperatives stemming from embedded environmental education discourses.
Whether by NEP scoring or by measuring eco-centrism, researchers studying environmental perception in adults avoided the methodology by which children’s geographers and other environmental educators have gathered perception data (e.g. drawings and content/discourse analysis). This may lend insight into the discourse of what adults perceive the “child” to be, even from our research methods; the child is something that necessitates different approaches methodologically than adults. Perhaps studying adult perception via similar methods as we have studied children may lend deeper insight into the discourse embedded within adult environmental perception and nature. As curriculum are produced by adults, it is important to understand how adult perception has historically been uncovered. For my purposes however, I will focus the rest of my efforts on perceptions that necessitate different methods than NEP or other environmental perception scales. The following section will work to uncover discourses embedded within the child’s mind which may also work to give us insight into the discourses present in education governance.
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Now that I have introduced perception and governance generally, I will now focus on previous work that directly pertains to the research questions of my work; primarily, pervious work related to children’s environmental perception. Shepardson, et. al. (2007a) is one work closely tied to the present study. They concluded that student images of the environment tended to be a place where the animals and plants live, apart from themselves and mankind (i.e. nonhuman nature). Urban students tended to think of the environment as a place impacted by mankind (i.e. human nature). The study also concluded that the traditional learning and experiencing of the natural world through the physical sciences is too narrow and doesn’t teach students the moral dimensions that influence their [children’s] environmental perceptions. This view, if bolstered from an evolving environmental education, could impact the level of social change and environmental awareness/concern that is necessary to alleviate the moral-environmental issues both now and in the future.
Shepardson et al., (2007b) also concluded in a separate study that students viewed watersheds as something that stored water, promoted the hydrological cycling, and were high in elevation, away from them, with limited transferring of water between each other. An aim of a developing environmental education is to improve student perception by connecting watersheds to themselves and more broadly, the global ecosystem. They are not just high elevation bodies away from themselves that interact with the atmosphere but are life-sustaining bodies that have the capacity of influencing other watersheds both close and far in proximity. If watersheds are perceived as something personal and imminently influential on the individual, pollution and watershed maintenance would improve in line with the goals of environmental education (Shepardson et al., 2007b). These studies suggest that anthropocentric motivations for environmentalism limit the development of holistic, systems-oriented perspectives in students. These findings are corroborated by other works. Shepardson et al., (2005) also elucidated the implications of students’ visualizations of the environment for education governance. If students
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were to view water sheds more accurately (i.e. scientifically, ideologically, etc.), actions among our future adults can prove more sustainable and elicit ideas of nature worth modeling. As education influences environmental perception, adding valuable knowledge can significantly alter perception, affecting action.
Other studies offer insight on how pedagogical technique, in addition to content, can affect student perception of the environment (Farmer et. al., 2007; Wee, et. al., 2004; Wee, et. al., 2006; Wee, et. al., 2012). Farmer et. al. (2007) showed that 4th graders who were taken on a field trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park displayed pro-environmental attitudes and knowledge directly linked to their experiences on the trip, even one year after the trip. Wee, et. al. (2004) showed similar results but from a classroom-based learning experience. This study found that students who answered a pre-test and post-test after non-traditional environmental education tended to answer the questions differently, indicating that nontraditional education could prove useful for reinforcing pro-environmental attitudes and action (Wee et al., 2004).
Wee et al., (2006) further studied environmental perceptions of environmental science students across cultures. They concluded that while there were conserved standards among nations (e.g. Singapore and the United States), students came to know the content and knowledge of environmental studies differently. Differing “ways of knowing” implicated local environments, changing social structures, and non-formal education which all were embedded with discourses of human-environment interactions specific to their particular contexts. Social issues, like climate change, should and cannot be address by international science standards but rather demand context-specific understandings and operations (Wee et al., 2006). These conclusions were reached based on analysis of “draw-and-explain” exercises designed to elicit “what the children were thinking when they were visualizing the environment, not directly what they drew (p. 210),” (Alerby, 2000).
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Perhaps the seminal resource for this piece is Wee (2012). Building from and furthering their previous work, Wee (2012) amalgamated work done across different nations (Singapore, United States, and China) and derived findings rooted in contextually-specific linguistics and environmental perceptions. Building from Wee et al., (2006), this study concluded that while there are common environmental perceptions among children from different nations, there are ways of knowing specific to children in China, Singapore and the United States. All nations had contextually-specific interactions and ways of talking about their natures. Corroborating Wee et al., (2006), these elucidations communicated the need for less international environmental science standards and more contextual understandings of the natural world rooted in localized knowledge. It is hard for a student in Singapore to relate to the natural world if the dominant discourse of the environment is predominantly Western (Wee, 2012). In line with previous work, these conclusions were based on analysis of draw-and-explain exercises. Bryan Wee has also done extensive work in Stockholm, Sweden; this work is the foundational database for this work. In addition to this database, I wish to draw from Swedish studies of children’s environmental perception to contextualize the rest of this work.
Important to my understanding of Swedish children’s environmental perception is Alerby (2000) which used draw-and-explain methodology to derive meanings and valuations of nature and the environment. Thoughts pertaining to the environment reflected wider Western ideologies and lacked localized contextualization. There were “optimistic” (pristine/harmonic human-environment relations) and “pessimistic” (negative human impacts on the natural world) worlds. There were also references/conceptions of environmental stewardship and protection that created dialogue between the optimistic and the pessimistic world (Alerby, 2000). Mostly notably however, there were minimal contextually-specific influences on the visualizations; this led the author to conclude that teaching-and-learning experiences of student in Sweden seemingly did not include significant attention to student experience in how they come to know
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(Alerby, 2000). The lack of culturally-specific components in the student drawings is concerning, especially in light of Wee et al., (2006) which noted the importance of such components.
Jonsson et al., (2012) is another example of Swedish research that sought to understand the Swedish child’s relationship with nature. Draw-and-explain analysis revealed that children from Sami cultures identified with a living nature; this nature constituted their land (the rocks and roots), their reindeer (farm animals), and most importantly, themselves; said another way, Sami illustrations reflected sentiments of the important interaction between human and non-human natures (Jonsson et al., 2012). The children in this study heir from a more traditional and local discursive lineage; they also are existent in an evolving local economy that is dependent on global and regional economic structures. They could no longer afford to stay on their land and pass it along to future generations, instead, they were forced to question their experience with their land and animals, against their wishes, to be able to support their future families. For these children, presumably different from their parents, nature and their experience with it was no longer perceivably disconnected to wider human structures (Jonsson et al., 2012). By the end of the study, the authors concluded that the very nature of Sami experience with nature had evolved, indicated by the lived experiences and changing landscapes of the children under review (Jonsson et al., 2012). These conclusions reveal that even if environment perception of children include cultural ties, these ties are imperiled by a globalizing culture and economy.
Mels (2009), another Swedish researcher specializing in discourse, makes an interesting assertion in line with the nature of Sami children: “The Environment” (i.e. nature) can no longer afford to exist discursively reduced to one conception. Rather, discourses of the environment must be allowed to localize, free of broader discourses of Western, capitalistic ideologies, even as pervasive as they are. To Mels (2009), there is no “Nature” to experience directly; there is only nature, and these natures should no longer be analyzed under the assumption that there
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should be only one to experience or form of it. This allowance for various natures was further explored by Giusti et al., (2014) as they attempted to relate “biospheric affinity” of preschool students to their proximity to nature. Utilizing observational techniques and by avoiding preset self-reporting (surveys), they concluded that while preschool students whose preschool was closer to natural reserves displayed higher biospheric affinity (cognitive and emotional connection to the natural world), the more urbanized cohort of students tended to grow in biospheric affinity as they participated in urban-outdoor activities (Giusti, et al., 2014). In combination, these Swedish studies assert that localized ideologies and nature interactions should be allowed to prevail over more globalized reproductions of a Western Nature.
Between Swedish research, Bryan Wee’s multicultural analysis, and the broader literature base, environmental perceptions and relations of children are starkly absent of their cultural contexts, and even when they are not, perceptions are becoming globalized. This imperils local culture and endangers the success of pro-environmental social movements. If we cannot address local environmental issues, how can we hope to alleviate the global crises built from additive local issues? One part of a solution could come from nuanced environmental education wherein students learn with their teachers in a contextually-relevant manner as to avoid missing locally-relevant ties to their culture and their nature. Because of the important role that environmental education plays in the formation of environmental perception, and due to the lack of locally-specific components embedded in children’s nature conceptions, the following section will outline how I sought to offer new insight of these emerging social crises.
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CHAPTER III
METHODS
Context and Data Collection
I chose Stockholm, Sweden as my area of interest because the governance structures present there are far different from those found here in the United States. I wanted to gain insight on what can be changed here by studying what the U.S. seemingly is not (i.e. what insight into environmental perception do more socially-governed societies offer that the U.S. does not). Additionally, a robust dataset of children’s drawings of the environment in Stockholm was available for analysis and had previously been analyzed by the chair of my thesis committee; albeit Dr. Bryan Wee had analyzed this database differently from how I chose to, having previous experience with the dataset lent additional insight to this project. In the context of a more socialistic educational governance structure, perhaps future work can be devoted to understanding how the U.S. can change its educational system to reflect the optimistic discourses of human-environment relationships form the Swedish national curriculum that will be elucidated later.
Sweden faced severe economic crisis during the 1990s that led to major reform of its national economy. By implementing policy centered around limiting debt, redefining supply chains and setting reasonable economic growth goals (that limit accumulation of debt), Sweden has consistently placed itself at the top of the world’s most sustainable economies (Sweden.se/business). Sweden’s economic sustainability is also seen in its social welfare programs, its educational funding allocations, renewable energy use and many other economic venues. Sweden’s social welfare programs and educational funding allocations suggest that education remains a priority for the nation and as such, plays an instrumental role in sustainability. How students’ view the environment, therefore, is not only a signifier of what they
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think/know (or do not think/know) but also a representation of governance outcomes, intended or otherwise. Although sustainability and harmony with the natural world does elicit confidence that Sweden’s discourses of nature are particularly interesting and perhaps even worth modeling, sustainability does not equate to a healthy and harmonious view of nature.
Methods: Study Sample/Demographic
Children’s day-to-day experiences and ideas, including formal and informal experiences, create the foundation of their educational learning (Wee, 2012). Children’s drawings of the environment will be the focus of this study because the methodologies utilized here align with a progressive educational movement of research with children rather than on children. Children represent the future to come. If we wish to positively affect our world, we should look to lasting solutions to usher in a promising era of human-environmental interactions. Research with children is one example of a potentially lasting solution to the vast complexity of co-produced issues facing the world today.
Methods: Data Analysis
There are two main methods that need reviewed: analyzing children’s drawings and analyzing curriculum. These two methods are pertinent to my work because by revealing embedded nature discourses in the Swedish National Curriculum, I can ascertain if these discourses are represented in the drawings. These analytical methods are not entirely new (e.g. inductive content analysis is used to analyze the curriculum of Sweden), but they represent applications of existing methodologies in a novel research context.
Analyzing Children’s Drawings in Education Research
There are six main texts that are generally referenced in studies evaluating children’s drawings for education research purposes. These texts outlined various methodologies for analyzing images and drawings, but given my research question/s, the appropriate method for
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further review is inductive content analysis. The main objective in inductive content analysis, as the name suggests, is to derive categories to analyze a given database based on emergent themes from the database itself (i.e. categories emerge from the samples rather than preconceived categories from other literature). Using methods inductive in nature allows me to create a dialogue between myself, the researcher, and the students’ whose drawings are present here. This represents an inherent goal of the present work: to create meaningful dialogue between those who have garnered nearly all of the agency in traditional environmental education research (the researcher) and those who have not (the children).
There are two research groups I wish to highlight here as examples of what has been done in education research pertaining to children’s drawings of the environment.
The first type of prominent research in children’s drawings of the environment involve methods as outlined in Shepardson, et al. (2005; 2007a; 2007b; 2009) and Finson, et al. (1995). These studies represent work in uncovering children’s perceptions of watersheds and other specific forms of nature (i.e. the studies wish to uncover perceptions of specific forms of nature, like watersheds, as opposed to uncovering individualized idealizations of natures, that might include watersheds, forests, fields, etc.). In these studies, the authors used coding schemes that were first coded by the first author, were allowed to pass through a second round of coding for refinement, and then were then placed into further categories based on geographic location of where the drawings were collected, the community settings of where the drawings were collected and the grade levels of the students that produced the images (Shepardson, 2005; Shepardson, et al., 2007a; Shepardson, et al. 2007b; Shepardson, et al., 2009). These methods were validated by similar studies and research texts (Patton, 1980; Patton 1987; Patton 1990; Quinn, 2002).
The other set of work with children’s drawings of the environment involved uncovering individual, idealized perceptions of nature (i.e. instead of studying how children perceive
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watersheds, these studies sought to uncover how children perceive nature generally). Examples of these types of studies are Anthamatten, et al. (2013), Kalvaitis and Monhardt (2012), Ulker (2012), Wee, et al. (2006; 2012; 2013; 2014), and Yilmaz, et al. (2012). These studies utilized methodologies of multi-round analyses like those described above, but instead of further categorization based on different demographics, triangulation was achieved by using multiple authors to verify and validate emergent themes. In the first round of analysis, preliminary codes were developed; in the ensuing rounds of analysis, coders met and discussed coding differences to validate categories developed from inductive content analysis. The methods described here were validated by similar studies and research texts (Rose, 2007; Miles, et al., 1994).
Both types of analyses presented here are similar in that they both allowed for inductively-derived analyses and code development to study children’s perception of the environment. My thesis will employ an inductive, analytical approach similar to these two types.
I will allow patterns to emerge from children’s drawings, however, the codes used to organize similarities/differences in the drawings and to develop broader themes will be drawn from my analysis of the Swedish National Curriculum. This is explained in the following section.
Analyzing Education Curriculum
There is currently little to no research pertaining curriculum analysis like the specific type proposed here. Past research in curriculum analysis has focused on content analysis of curricular goals, content analysis of the influences on curricular goals, curricular development and curricular alignment with educational instruction, student evaluation and educational standards. The following sections will outline studies conducted with the intentions mentioned above (e.g. alignment, content analysis of goals, etc.) and some noteworthy methodological variations of curriculum analysis.
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One of the major differences in study methodologies pertaining to curriculum analysis is represented in Johannesson, et al. (2011). This study group used the expertise and previous experience of their authors with the curriculum under review to help construct the categories by which they analyzed their material (i.e. the authors in this study were involved during the development process of the curriculum under review). This varies significantly from other studies that rely on inductive theme formation or code development based on other literature.
The other noteworthy difference in methodology is presented in Rasinen (2003). This study utilized an alternate form of content analysis; specifically, systematic analysis was used which involves uncovering the influences on the content as a means of contextualizing the emergent themes. Other literature has used and validates this approach (Jussila, et al., 1992; Scriven, 1988).
A larger portion of the educational research of curriculum utilize inductive or deductive development of coding schemes through which texts are analyzed (Ary, et al., 2002; Ary, et al., 2018; Miles, et al., 1994). These typical methodologies of textual content analysis have been applied in various studies that had various research goals (alignment, evaluation, etc.). Curriculum alignment in relation to, for example science standards, and curriculum evaluation in relation to for example, student achievement scores, explain the dominance of these forms of curricular analysis in the field of education research and specifically, schooling.
These studies do not, however, share common research goals with this thesis. Rather than deriving intentions of curricular goals, student evaluation measures or curriculum development, the present aim is to uncover ideologies of nature present in the curriculum. By uncovering these natures in the content of the curriculum, the present study aims to understand the influences (or not) of education as a form of governance on children’s perceptions of nature. The latter is evident in children’s drawings that will be analyzed using codes derived from the curriculum.
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The following section outline how previous methods influence and were operationalized. Analyzing the Swedish national curriculum occurred in three main phases: keyword identification, inductive classification or thematization and theme refinement. In my initial pass through the Swedish Curriculum, I read through the entire 308-page document, noting any keywords that would help me answer my research questions. Keywords included, but were not limited to: “nature,” “environment,” “human impacts,” etc. Based on my keywords, a second, focused reading yielded specific selections of curriculum excerpts that contained the keywords. I highlighted key texts that relayed nature discourses and thematic codes were developed. I then read through the curriculum a third time to refine my categories (themes). Table 1 below shows the categories that represent nature discourses after these three rounds of analysis. Included in the table are my operational definitions for the categories. Sample representative text (drawn from the Swedish national curriculum) that align with each category is available in the Appendices. For the nature discourses embedded in the Swedish national curriculum, I chose not to include quantitative measures (counts) of texts that led to the categories presented in Table 1. I did so, in part to appreciate the broad strokes by which Swedish educational officials paint their nature contexts. Additionally, operationalized pedagogy is separate from the textual guidelines of a curriculum. Teachers choose, how and what from the curriculum, they will disseminate to their students.
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Code for Nature Discourses Mt Su Im Gb Lc An Ss Ns Wd
Definition Depiction of school disciplines being enacted in nature (e.g. outside photography/s dentist collecting samples/physi cal activity) Depiction of sustainable action within or for the sake of nature Depiction of natural resource management or human impacts on natural resources and nature Explicit depiction of global nature/environme nt Explicit depiction of local nature/environ ment “nature” contains nonhuman animals “nature” as society and wilderness inhabiting the same space “nature” as separate from “society” (e.g. draw both human society and wilderness, but the two are separate) “nature” as wilderness (e.g. where animals and plants exist, apart from humans)
Sample Text “Through teaching, pupils should develop the ability to spend time in outdoor settings and nature during different seasons of the year, and acquire an understanding of the value of an active outdoor life.” “...Man’s use and development of different materials during the course of history. The different materials used to manufacture daily objects and how they can be recycled.” “Knowledge of biology is of great importance for society in such diverse areas as health, natural resource use and the environment. Knowledge of nature and people provides people with tools to shape their own wellbeing, and also contribute to sustainable development.” “Furthermore, the educational programme should contribute to the development of the pupils’ interest in and knowledge of nature, technology and society, by giving them the opportunity to explore and pose questions on and discuss phenomena and relationships in the world at large.” “...Local ecosystems and how they can be studied from an ecological perspective. Relationships between populations and resources available in ecosystems. The local ecosystems in comparison with regional or global ecosystems.” “...Life of animals, plants and other organisms. Photosynthesi s, combustion and ecological relationships, and the importance of knowledge with regard to agriculture and fishery.” Based on references to the “interdepen dence of humans and non-human animals, and plants on the nonliving environment Based on numerous references to the “interaction between nature, technology and society.” Based on references to “studying the natural world made of animals, plants and the nonliving world.”
Appendix A-1 A- H A-G LL < > m > D > o CO < < <
Table 1: Nature Discourses from the Swedish National Curriculum


Operationalized Drawing Analysis
Children’s drawings were analyzed using the thematic codes that arose from the Swedish National Curriculum. Drawing analysis comprised of two main phases: thematic coding and coding refinement (explain this process). A total of 44 drawings were analyzed. Each drawing had the following prompt: In the space below, please draw and color a picture of what you think the environment looks like in the future. You may use labels if you think that will help us understand your drawing.
Data was collected from a middle school (equivalent) in Stockholm, in a suburban community that included a mixture of established residents as well as newly-arrived immigrants. Suburban in this context refers to a landscape dominated by affordable housing in the form of older, multi-story apartments rather than single-family homes, with a nearby ‘town center’ providing services such as banking, groceries, library, and so on. Unlike the United States, there was no data on socio-economic status via free/reduced lunch statistics, however, many of the families living there could be classified as lower to middle income (personal communication with principal and participating teachers). Most of the students either walked, bicycled or took public transportation to/from school.
The Wd category represented, and was coded for, when a child’s drawing elicited ideas of nature as a place constituted by natural spaces that lacked representations of human societies (Appendix B-C). The Ns category (Appendix B-B) was similarly coded for in the drawings but instead of isolated representations of natural spaces, there were also human societies in the drawings with delineated separations of the two entities (e.g. wilderness spaces and human society demarcated by a solid line). The Ss code (Appendix B-D) was counted when manifestations of natural and social spaces were intertwined and were spatially inseparable (e.g. houses and factories surrounded by trees and birds).
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Other categories that need some clarity are the “local” and “global” categories. The Lc code was counted only when an explicit and clear labeling (e.g. Stockholm) was present in the drawing (Appendix B-E). The Gb code was counted with similar rigor as only drawings that displayed the globe or clear labeling of other nations were counted (Appendix B-A). The last category that may need a brief explanation is the Mt code (school disciplines being enacted in nature); based on the biology and physical education sections of the curriculum, this category represented the strong emphasis of the curriculum that education is often done in nature. This code was only to be counted if there were clear indications of pupils hiking (as emphasized by the physical education sections) or taking samples in nature (as emphasized by the hard sciences).
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CHAPTER IV
FINDINGS
Based on the analysis described above, Sweden’s National Curriculum is diverse in its conceptions of nature. There were discourses of nature as wilderness, as separate from human society and nature as mutually constituted by wilderness and human society. There were embedded ideas of nature including animals, plants, society, all of which should exist in harmony, inseparable from each other; yet there were also embedded notions of humanity’s negative effect on global, regional and local natures. Perhaps the largest emphasis in the curriculum was the intersection of human existence with the wider “environment” for the sake of “sustainable development,” (for a complete list of all nature discourses that fell out of my analysis, please refer to Table 1). While tabulation of coding points that might provide a sense of code “weightedness” was outside the scope of my content analysis of the curriculum, “sustainable development,” was by far the most referred-to code in the document; the rest of the codes were perceivably evenly distributed throughout the document. Because of this perceivable even distribution of code weightedness, emphasis in the document on certain nature discourses, perhaps besides sustainability, should not influence what was represented in the drawings (i.e. the drawings were intended to be influenced by all discourses without emphasis on certain ideals).
Students’ representations of nature in their drawings were not discursively aligned, and in some cases not aligned at all, with the nature discourses of the curriculum. There was one indication of strong alignment though; representations of pessimistic human impacts on nature were often reproduced in the drawings. The rest of the nature discourses in the curriculum were as broadly and diversely represented in the students’ drawings as they were in the curriculum itself (refer to Table 2). Refer to Appendix B for an example of representative drawings for each coding theme.
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Table 2: Coding of Children’s Drawings of the Environment in the Future
Curricular Code representing nature discourses Code Definition Count (number of times the category appeared in drawings. Multiple categories may have appeared in one drawing, hence the total count exceeds the total number of drawings) Percentage of Total Drawings (n=44) represented by each category
Wd “nature” as wilderness (e.g. where animals and plants exist, apart from humans) 6 14%
Ns “nature” as separate from “society” (e.g. draw both human society and wilderness, but the two are separate) 17 39%
Ss “nature” as society and wilderness inhabiting the same space 18 41%
An “nature” contains nonhuman animals 19 43%
Lc Explicit depiction of local nature/environment 4 9%
Gb Explicit depiction of global nature/environment 6 14%
Im Depiction of natural resource management or human impacts on natural resources and nature 31 70%
Su Depiction of sustainable action within or for the sake of nature 5 11%
Mt Depiction of school disciplines being enacted in nature (e.g. outside photography/scientist collecting samples/physical activity) 0 0%
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The role that curriculum plays as a discursive mediator to children’s environmental perceptions remains elusive. A central tenet in the field of environmental education is that education (formal or non-formal) is one moderating variable of environmental identity or perception (Williams and Chawla, 2016). This work corroborates this assertion. From a discourse perspective, there were clear indications of nature discourse reproduction in children’s drawings. This was somewhat expected as the literature base on discourse leaves its influence as incontrovertible yet essentially ineffable (Abram, 2012; Fairclough, 1992), and the findings demonstrate discursive ties between the national curriculum and children’s environmental perceptions. In the following sections, I focus on the major findings of my analysis of these two databases.
Local Contexts (LcJ
One major finding is the lack of “local” natures represented in Swedish children’s drawings of the environment in the future. In line with Wee et al., (2006) and Wee (2012), there was a lack of culturally-specific components in this cohort of drawings. In combination with Jonsson, et al., (2012), who concluded that children from indigenous Sami cultures in Sweden were beginning to adapt their environmental perception to a globalizing economy, cultural connections and identities with nature are changing, even disappearing. Only 4/44 (9%) of the children’s drawings elicited explicit references to local forms of nature. Figure 1 below depicts an example of a child’s representation of local (Swedish) nature.
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Instruktioner: Artvand utrymmet nedan for att rita och farglagga en teckning som forestaller hur du tror att miljon kommer att se ut i framtiden. Du kan lagga till ord om du tror att det hjatper oss att forsta vad din teckning forestaller
Figure 1: Representation of Local Nature (Lc)
Globalization is not only indicated by how children view their nature; it is also inherent in the global education structure as well. As governance itself becomes globalized, education must follow to disseminate globally-oriented knowledge. Inseparable from changing perceptions of local natures is standardized testing across cultures. Rather than examining contextual knowledge of cultural experiences, students are schooled to “know” factual evidence bereft of subjective understanding (Wee et al., 2006). As educational standards globalize, children’s
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subjective understandings of these standards become disallowed in the classroom. Teachers, pressured by globalizing educational structures built upon rigorous fact-based curricula, may not have time to allow students to critically think or subjectively relate to the knowledge being disseminated. This produces students full of factual knowledge but who struggle to critically analyze new scenarios or synthesize positions from accrued knowledge.
It is also possible that the West (e.g. United States) plays a crucial role in cultural and educational change around the world. One elements of Western nature discourse is dominion [over the environment]. Dominion implicates separation, externalization of costs, and ownership. Western dominion discourses vis-a-vis nature can be attributed to interpretations of Judeo-Christian ecclesiastical texts (White, 1967). According to Sweden’s governmental website (Sutherland, 2019), over half of its citizens belong to the Church of Sweden (58%). This is vastly different from traditional Norse spirituality upon which the nation’s indigenous population was built (Sutherland, 2019). In addition to changing spiritual influences on environmental perception is the changing of human-nonhuman animal relationship and perceptions. Children did include representations of animals (“An” theme) in their nature drawings (19/44, 43%), but of the drawings that did, 15 of the depicted animals were fish. This is additive to my overall concern as the ecosystems of Sweden, and especially Stockholm cannot be singularly attribute to fisheries; this is another example of how children’s perceptions of local nature are changing, even when local nature are explicitly present.
This is inherently problematic for positive climate change agency because without connection to local natures, how are future leaders supposed to value saving local environments? In a globalizing world, children are forced to adapt their valuations to the demands of global economic, educational and political forces. This may not be inherently dangerous, but it is dangerous if children only know of the whole, without conceiving that the whole is mutually constituted by the parts. There are real environmental crises facing the global
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environment, but these crises must be addressed at the local level as the global crisis was borne of local processes. Without local agents of change, local crises may go unsolved and consequently, global crises as well. As cultures become more vaguely unique, so do the solutions to culturally-specific environmental problems.
Human Impacts (Im)
In line with Western nature discourses of dominion, my results corroborate Alerby’s (2000) research in Sweden that worked to uncover nature visualizations of children. An emphasis on this domineering relationship to the environment was seen and was referred to as “the Bad World.” The Bad World was constituted by pessimistic outcomes of human domination of the natural world. In the Bad World, humans cut down trees, polluted water sources, directly or indirectly killed local flora and fauna, and generally changed the form of the natural world (Alerby, 2000). This Bad World, which implicates dominant Western nature discourses, was the most frequently coded category in my study as well (70%).
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Instruktioner. Anvartd utrymmet nedan for att rita och farglagga en teckning som forestaller hur du tror att miljon kommer att se ut i framtiden. Du kan lagga till ord om du tror att det hjalper oss att forsta vad din teckning forestaller.
oidr
{orsorcije. r

Figure 2: Representative Drawings of Pessimistic Human Impacts “Bad World” (1)
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Figure 3: Representative Drawings of Pessimistic Human Impacts “Bad World” (2)
The Bad World is definitely a part of the Swedish National Curriculum but is only referred to directly a few times. One example of a reference to the “bad world” in the Swedish curriculum is from the geography section, “Teaching should give pupils the opportunity to develop knowledge about different human activities and processes produced by nature that have an impact on the forms and patterns of the Earth’s surface. It should also contribute to pupils gaining experience of interpreting and assessing the consequences of different changes taking place in geographical space (p. 198),” (Skolverket, 2018). Another example is “Teaching should contribute to pupils developing familiarity with how it is possible to switch between different temporal and spatial perspectives. Through teaching, pupils should develop knowledge about
39


how people, society and nature interact and the consequences of this on nature and people’s living conditions (p. 198),” (Skolverket, 2018).
If the above examples of nature discourses vis-a-vis human impacts are present, but not overly emphasized, why is this particular discourse represented so frequently in the students’ drawings? One answer may be teaching methods. As the enactors of the curriculum, teachers exercise the content in their own manner. This, in combination with Western-influenced standards may explain why this particular version of nature is emphasized so abundantly in the drawings - because it is emphasized in the classroom by teachers. Another reason could be that nonformal education (e.g. interaction with family members, the media, etc.) is playing a significant role in their formation of environmental perception. As mentioned at the beginning of this thesis, education is only one form of governance; perhaps in Sweden, socio-political and economic governance is embedded with Western nature discourses.
Taken further, even if other forms of governance are now minimally influenced of Western nature discourses, perhaps they weren’t always (remember economic shifts after the financial crisis in the 1990s). Teachers, among other enactors of governance in Stockholm are themselves influenced by the governance structures in Stockholm; this is true of not only those present now, but governance structures of the past. One explanation of my findings could be that remnants of nature discourses from the past are being diffused by social actors who influence children’s perceptions of the environment. Again, this could be true regarding any agent of governance relative to the children whose drawings comprised my dataset (e.g. their parents, political officials, media they’re exposed to, their teachers, etc.).
The argument here is not that the bad world is unfitting of attention, but rather it is the underrepresentation of other nature discourses stemming from locally cultural knowledge, contextual understanding, and perhaps more benevolent human-environment interactions. By “benevolent” I mean similar to a “Good World” whereby there is more diverse depictions of
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human kind’s relationship in and to nature (e.g. including optimistic relationships) that the complex nature of this relationship becomes less vague (Figure 4).
Instruktioner Anvand utrymmet nedan fdr att rtta och farglagga en teckning som forestaller hur du tror att miljon kommer att se ut i framtiden. Du kan lagga till ord om du tror att det hjdlper oss att fbrsti vad din teckning forestailef.
Figure 4: Representative Drawing of the Optimistic or “Good World”
It is this optimistic or Good World that I would prefer to see dominant; one that draws from local understandings and knowledge of nature and that sees negative human impacts on non-human nature as an opportunity rather than certain failure/death. Rather than resort to defeatism or rampant pessimism, perhaps we should use our historic failings as motivation to usher in a new era of human-nature interactions.
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Ambiguity of Position and Operation in Nature
The final two points of discussion I wish to give attention to are the ambiguity of human presence in the children’s drawing of nature and the lack of education-based methods being enacted in the visualizations. There was reasonably equal representation of “Wd” (14% of drawings, “Ns” (39%), and “Ss” (41%) in the children’s drawings. This may mean that the role human society plays in the natural world is somewhat ambiguous to children in Stockholm. This is worth noting in the context of a growing “new urban” movement wherein human society and the natural world become more closely intertwined. While “Ss” represents nature and society inhabiting the same space and was the most-frequently coded positionality measure, it was still present in less than half of the database. What could this mean for future Swedish communities, and more broadly, an increasingly globalized human community? If new urbanism is one way humans can curb our ecological footprint, is it necessarily feasible if people of the future don’t see human society as part of the natural world?
The other significant point to call attention to is the total absence of humans enacting methods that the children, as participants in the national curriculum, learn throughout their academic career. Nowhere in the drawings was any human denoted as hiking, collecting samples for scientific purposes or engineering (unless we count bulldozing trees as enacting engineering practices). This is again troublesome and implicates a changing local environmental identity as outdoor lifestyles have traditionally been touted as part of a typical Swedish identity (Skolverket, 2018, p. 48). As they were representing “future environments,” do they not see themselves enacting what they’ve learned in the future or at least in part fulfilling a traditional Swedish outdoor lifestyle?
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Conclusion
Individuals from differing background may not call discourse by its technical name, or understand its pervasiveness in human society, but everyone is socially linked to one another, especially vis-a-vis climate change and nature. Not only are we linked to one another, but to the rocks and roots, to the open air, to the cormorants on the surface, to the living, breathing creatures abound; we cannot hope to know the complexity of this intermingling and inseparability if we choose to view nature as simply a “global” entity or as something “out there.” Nature is all around, taking endless form, and relatable to all. The point was not to shed negative light on Western conceptions of Nature, although some may argue that its worthy of scrutiny, but rather to explore how Western Nature does not encapsulate what Nature is or can be. We all have natures that we belong to, different from everyone else’s. It is only when we come to understand that the experiencing being is inseparable from what they’re experiencing (e.g. nature) and that an individual’s experience is the foundation of what that individual can know, that we begin to draw attention to the inclusion of different perspectives. This isn’t to say that Truth ends with the individual (e.g. relativism), but rather that the Truth cannot be attained by one experience, rather it is reflected by the experiencing being. If we truly aim at sustainable, just relationships with each other and our natural world, we should first aim at honest, critical conversations of our perspectives. Only through these dialogues will we find real solutions to real problems. Natural issues aren’t inherently Western, their pedigree is Eastern, local, Swedish, Italian, and the vast array of forms that life takes place. It is the time now to allow for inclusion and to look inward before out.
It is also concerning that there is currently a lack of conversation (at least in some capacity) between students and educators in Stockholm. Exemplified by the overrepresented fish, the lack of local nature, and the absence of traditional Swedish outdoor lifestyles, students may be merely representing ideas of nature that they think we (researchers/educators) want to
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see. This is no conversation; rather, it is an example of one outcome of schooling wherein factual knowledge is emphasized (e.g. globalization) and local and experience-based knowledge is disallowed. This study draws attention, not only to changing local knowledge and individual perceptions of nature, but also to our relationships and influence on the conception of “child.” As the future adults, we must nurture them as conversationalists oriented towards including local knowledge of local environmental issues; we must avoid monologues like those of Western conception where the local is removed inappropriately from the global.
Finally, I wish to come full-circle and end this piece where it began: with perception and governance. In his seminal work, Michel Foucault explored the relationships between individual perception, collective understanding, individual “government” and social government; through this exploration, he concluded that the collective and the individual mutually (and sometimes in an unbalanced manner) influence the production of knowledge (Foucault, 1997; Foucault et al., 2008). What we now know as “discourse” is one example of “collective” understandings that influence the individual (and of course discourses are at one point individual); it is important for our understanding that we do not see the drawings presented in this piece as mere representations of collective discourses, but rather individuals’ perceptions of (n)ature (as opposed to (N)ature). As entities with varying levels of autonomy, we can discern ideas or visions of the artists’ relationship with their lifeworlds and natures therein; dimensions of “biopower,” “human natures,” and many other discourses/power structures can (and I hope have been) teased out of the cohort under review in this study. As alluded to at various points in this piece, the implications for avoiding or ignoring concerning and pervasive visions of nature are, as Foucault himself might say, life and death.
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APPENDIX A
Selected Excerpts of Swedish National Curriculum
C|urriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and school-age educare
REVISED 2018
A. “...Outdoor excursions during the different seasons, as well as the opportunities for nature excursions, in the local environment and elsewhere, for physical activities and nature experience.
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’’...Safety and consideration of the environment and other people during excursions to different natural environments.” ~Listed under Games, physical activities, and outdoor excursions section under Core Content
“Teaching in physical education and health should aim at pupils developing all-round movement capacity and an interest in being physically active and spending time outdoors in nature.” ~ Written under Aim of the discipline
“Through teaching, pupils should develop the ability to spend time in outdoor settings and nature during different seasons of the year, and acquire an understanding of the value of an active outdoor life.” ~ Written under Aim of the discipline
“Words and concepts for and discussions about experiences derived from games, health, time in nature and outdoor activities.” ~Listed under Core Content of the discipline
B. “Furthermore, the educational programme should contribute to the development of the pupils’ interest in and knowledge of nature, technology and society, by giving them the opportunity to explore and pose questions on and discuss phenomena and relationships in the world at large.”
“Our habits at home influence not only the well-being of the individual and the family, but also society and nature.” ~ Written under introduction to the discipline
“...Pupils can also explain and show patterns between people’s dependence on and their impact on nature, and draw parallels to the life and ecological relationships of organisms. In addition, pupils talk about the development of life and show patterns in the adaptation of organisms to different living environments. Pupils can also talk about some
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scientific discoveries and their importance for people’s living conditions.” ~ Written under Requirements for an A by the end of Grade 6
C. “People’s dependence on and the impact on nature and what this means for sustainable development. Ecosystem services, such as decomposition, pollination, and purification of water and air.
“...Life of animals, plants and other organisms. Photosynthesis, combustion and ecological relationships, and the importance of knowledge with regard to agriculture and fishery.
“....Ecosystems in the local environment, relationships between different organisms and the names of common species. Relationships between organisms and the non-living environment.
“...Nature as a resource for recreation and experiences and what responsibilities we have when using it.” ~Listed under Core Content of the discipline
“...Some historical and contemporary discoveries in the area of biology and their importance for people’s living conditions and views on nature.
D. “...people’s dependence on and the impact on nature and what this means for sustainable development. Ecosystem services, such as decomposition, pollination, and purification of water and air.”
“Life of animals, plants and other organisms. Photosynthesis, combustion and ecological relationships, and the importance of knowledge with regard to agriculture and fishery.”
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“Ecosystems in the local environment, relationships between different organisms and the names of common species. Relationships between organisms and the non-living environment.”
E. “Local ecosystems and how they can be studied from an ecological perspective. Relationships between populations and resources available in ecosystems. The local ecosystems in comparison with regional or global ecosystems.”
“...Impact of people on nature, locally and globally. Opportunities for consumers and citizens of society to contribute to sustainable development.”
“Pupils can describe and give examples of simple relationships in nature based on their experiences and exploration of the local environment. In discussions about seasons of the year, pupils talk about changes in nature, and give some examples of the life cycles of some animals and plants. Pupils also talk about some of the parts of the human body and the senses, and discuss some factors affecting people’s health. Pupils can talk about gravity, friction and equilibrium in relation to play and movement. Pupils describe the materials used in manufacturing some different objects and how they can be classified. Pupils can talk about light and sound and give examples of the properties of water and air, and connect this to their own observations. In addition, pupils can talk about fiction, myths and art dealing with nature and human beings.”
“...Field studies to examine the natural and cultural landscapes, such as how land is used in the local environment.”
F. “Furthermore, the educational programme should contribute to the development of the pupils’ interest in and knowledge of nature, technology and society, by giving them the opportunity to explore and pose questions on and discuss phenomena and relationships
53


in the world at large. Additionally, education should provide pupils with the opportunity to develop knowledge of how the different choices people make can contribute to sustainable development. Education should also challenge and stimulate the pupils’ interest in different times, places and cultures.” ~Written in “The aim and core content of the preschool class"
G. “The sciences have their origins in man’s curiosity and the need to know more about ourselves and the surrounding world. Knowledge of biology is of great importance for society in such diverse areas as health, natural resource use and the environment. Knowledge of nature and people provides people with tools to shape their own wellbeing, and also contribute to sustainable development.” ~ Written under the introduction to the discipline
“...use knowledge of biology to examine information, communicate and take a view on questions concerning health, natural resource use and ecological sustainability
“...use concepts of biology, its models and theories to describe and explain biological relationships in the human body, nature and society.” ~Listed under the Aim of the discipline
“...Impact of people on nature, locally and globally. Opportunities for consumers and citizens of society to contribute to sustainable development.”
“...Common chemicals in the home and in society, such as cleaning products, cosmetics, paints and fuels, and how they affect health and the environment.”
H. “Man’s use and development of different materials during the course of history. The different materials used to manufacture daily objects and how they can be recycled.”
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“Pupils have very good knowledge of the structure and properties of matter, and other chemical contexts, and show this by explaining and showing simple relationships between them and some general characteristics with good use of the concepts of chemistry. Pupils can also apply well developed reasoning about the structure and properties of air and water, and relate this to the natural processes of photosynthesis and combustion. In simple and to some extent well informed reasoning about food, fuel, chemicals and other products, pupils can connect these to some chemical relationships and questions about sustainable development. Furthermore, pupils can also talk about some scientific discoveries and their importance for people’s living conditions.” ~ Written under requirements for an A by the end of Grade 6
I. “Teaching in physical education and health should aim at pupils developing all-round movement capacity and an interest in being physically active and spending time outdoors in nature.” ~ Written under Aim of the discipline
“Through teaching, pupils should develop the ability to spend time in outdoor settings and nature during different seasons of the year, and acquire an understanding of the value of an active outdoor life.” ~ Written under Aim of the discipline
“Words and concepts for and discussions about experiences derived from games, health, time in nature and outdoor activities.” ~Listed under Core Content of the discipline
Note: the full database of analyzed text (includes all excerpts from the Swedish National Curriculum) is available upon request.
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APPENDIX B
Featured Drawings
A. Global nature example
Instmktioner. Anvand utrymmei nedan (Or att rita och fargUgga en teckning som forestatter hur du tror att miljon kommer att se ut i framtiden. Ou kan lagga ti I ord om du trorai^i{^^ilujjro5s att fbrsti vad din teckning fbrestallet.
«


B. Separation of nature and society example
Instruktioner Anvand utrymmet nedan for att rita och farglagga en teckning som forestaller hur du tror att miljon kommer att se ut i framtiden. Du kan lagga till
ord om du tror att der hj&lper oss att fdrsta vad din teckning forestaller.
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C. Wilderness example


D. Same space example


E. Local nature example
60


F. Nature contains Animals example
Instruktioner AnvarwJ utrymmet nedan f6r att rita odi farglagga en teckning som forestalled hur du tror att miljbn kommer att se ut i frarntiden. Du kan lagga till
61


G. Natural resources management/human impacts example


H. Sustainability in nature/for nature example
instruktioner. Anvand utrymmet rvedan tor att rita och farglagga en teckning som forestaller hur du tror att miljon kommcr att se ut i framtiden. Du kan lagga till ord om du tror att det tyalper ois att forst3 vad din teckning forestaller.
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Full Text

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NATURE VS. NATURE: AN ANALYSIS OF ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOURSE by JOSHUA M. EASTES B.S., Butler University, 2016 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Environmental Sciences Program 2019

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ii This thesis for the Master of Science degree by Joshua Eastes has been approved for the Environmental Sciences P rogram by Bryan Wee, Chair Gregory Simon Adrianne Kroepsch Date: August 3 rd , 2019

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iii Eastes, Joshua (M.S., Environmental Sciences) Nature vs. n ature: A n A nalysis of E nvironmental D iscourse Thesis directed by Associate Professor Bryan Wee ABSTRACT D more broadly, the national curriculum in Sweden are not aligned . This lends greater perspective on children's visual representations of the environment and provides a window into the ways that education, as a form of governance, influences our connections with people and places. The use of discourse in environmental education implicates not only what children think, but also why they might think the way they do. Disco urse, when operationalized, has the power to influence the way we construct, interact with and value N(n)ature. By understanding the nature, we are empowered to approac h responsible paradigms and inclusive modalities. discursive themes from the national curriculum of Sweden. This allowed for a contextually specific understanding of how chi ldren are perceiving their nature in Stockholm. Perhaps nature to a much higher degree than any other nature discourse stemming from their curriculum. This may su ggest an emphasis by teachers on specific parts of the intended curriculum. It may also implicate other non form of childhood. Th is discussion is important due to its implications. Revealing ideas of natu re in a given society empowers them to act accordingly if the ideas present cause for concern. Considering the state of environmental health across the world, N(n)ature has yet to be broadly

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iv respected; though this can change. This study represents a call t o humankind to consider their ideologies, assumptions and operations as one force in the much broader context of Nature. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Bryan Wee

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v DEDICATION This work is dedicated to hidden peoples among all times and spaces. I think of you often. I feel the promise of your coming the way I feel the s urge of spring before it rises out of the frozen ground. What marvels await you on this wild Earth! When you do rise into sensitive fingers, for they will bri ng you news of a planet more wonderful and mysterious than We Bare You in Mind (Moore and Nelson, 2011, p. 45)

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vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENT S I would like to thank Dr. Bryan Wee for his consistent and invaluable guidance without which this work would not have been accomplished . As I worked through this piece, I began to realize the lessons and wisdom he imparted onto me over the past two years, not only pertaining to my progress as a scholar, but as a human being striving to be better. I would also like to thank Dr. Gregory Simon and Dr. Adrianne Kroepsch for their continued support throughout the research process. Lastly, I would like to thank t hose close to me who have and will continue to show me why dedication to their craft is so imperative to devoted agents of social change. You know who you are.

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vii TABLE OF CONTENTS C HAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .................... .................... .................................................................. . 3 (n)ature .............................................................................................................. . 4 (N)ature .................................... ......................................................................... . 5 II. L ITERATURE REVIEW . ................................................................................................ . 9 Conceptions of nature ....................................................................................... . 9 Human nature ...................................................................... 1 1 Environmental Perceptions ................................................................................ 1 3 Research on Environmental Perceptions ................... ....................................... 1 5 III. M ETHODS . ............ ........................................ .............................................................. . .2 3 Context and Data Collection ......................................................................... .... .2 3 Methods: Study Sample/Demographic ............................................................. . 2 4 Methods : Data Analysis ......... . ........................................... ................................ 2 4 .................................. .. . 2 4 Analyzing Education Curriculum ....................................................................... . 2 6 Operationalized Drawing Analysis .................................................................... . 30 IV. F INDINGS ............................................................. ........................................ 3 2 Local Contexts (Lc) . ....................................................................................... 3 4 Human Impacts (Im) . ..................................................................................... .. .. 3 7 Ambiguity of Position and Operation in nature .. .................................... . .... 4 2 Conclusion ........................................................................................................... . ......... 4 3 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................... . ...... 4 5

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viii A PPENDIX A. Selected Excerpts from the Swedish National Curriculum ............... . ............................ 50 B. Featured Drawings. ....................................................................................................... 5 6

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ix LIST OF TABLES T ABLE 1. Nature Discourses from the Swedish National Curriculum ......................................... 29 in the Future ........................... .... 33

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x LIST OF FIGURES F IGURE 1. Representation of Local Nature (Lc) . .................................................... .... ................. 3 5 2 . Representative Drawings of Pessimistic (1) ............... 3 8 3. Representative Drawings of Pessimistic . .............. 3 9 4 . Representative Drawing of the Optimistic or ............................. . ..... ..... 4 1

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PROLOGUE As I have progressed through my graduate program in Geography and Environmental Science, I have become irrevocably aware of the complexity of problems facing life on earth at all perceivable scales (e.g. local, regional, global, microbial, human, etc.). Th ere is currently an changing in part because of our actions now an d in the past. My main motivation coming into this program and specifically, this project, was to do something about our indefensible actions. The more I have learned about the problem of climate change, the more complexity and ineffability is implicated. Before mere economic operations, political fallibilities or any other social structure issue, I have come to understand that the way people perceive their experience with not only themselves, but others and more broadly, nature, is implicated in any socia l movement or issue. Perception is antecedent to agency. You must perceive to act (or not). Perception is an idea rife with complexity and perhaps ineffability, but I was never one that sought the readily solvable problems. Consequently, I aimed, under the guidance of mentors, to children must act if life is to persist. I for one wish to avoid life persisting how it has. Consequently, I undertook this project to und erstand in some capacity, how life is persisting, as indicated by one educational governance structure (e.g. national curriculum). By understanding how children are being taught, I may be able to understand in some way how life will become. Using curricula r discourses of nature to are reproducing discourses pervasive in their everyday life. This analysis also helps to inform me whether there is a cause for concern ba sed on my personal beliefs vis à vis global social environmental processes.

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2 At the start of this thesis , I thought I had a sound conception of nature. It was a place of rocks and roots; where animals were and I was a visitor, much like the natures exemplif ied by classics like Lord of the Rings . Only when we returned to the woods would we find our environmental salvation. Writing this now, I come to the realization that the form of Nature is ineffably simple; it is not encapsulated by any nature discourse we have or ever will contrive. Nature is a simple form, one devoid of categorization except itself. Perhaps this is why Wordsworth ( 1971 ) referred to spots of time as inconceivably pure, rejuvenating and antediluvian; they are those instances in life where we free ourselves from the world ( s ) we construct for ourselves and start to live more truly ro 195 5 , p. 43) . So why do nature discourses of dominion and insidious human environment often ponder their existence or defensibility. This work represents my due diligence to explore these embedded discourses so that our future may explore along with me. Like the ineffability of nature, my relationship with the future is one of devotion and love. I can no longer reason ably separate myself from the multitude of future life. Because of this inseparability, it is imperative that I understand discourses now so that I may call them into question.

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3 CHAPTER I I NTRODUCTION world is not only the rocks and roots, but also the beings interacting with the rocks and roots, and especially humans (Abram, 2012; Husserl, 2012; Merleau Ponty, 2013). E nvironment creature interactions are produced inseparably by both entities. Specific to hu mans, the construct of the human is made only by what is not human (Abram, 2012). Apply this notion to all living creatures, and the implication is clear the environment/nature is inseparable from all that exists on Earth. This philosophical assertion ha s major implications for our perceptions of and relationship with , nature in the context of governance. Individual and social perceptions have clear connections to governance. The economy helps govern society members by establishing career trends, promoting material values, and mediating money flow in a given market. The socio political interface is perhaps the most obvious construct relating to governance as it directly governs the behavior and views of its constituents by drawing from legislation, law enforcement and government bodies at the local, regional and global levels. Importantly for this research, e ducation involves the dissemination and internalization of knowledge which influences the individual and the wider society and contributes to governance by moderating knowledge perception ( Amaral et al., 2013; Shepardson et al., 2007 a,b ). Whether through the economic, the sociopolitical or the educational aspects of governance, perception of the individual and more broadly the collective perception of a society , are mutually influenced through subjective and collective power struggles ( Foucault, 1997; Foucault et al., 2008; Lemke 2001). Percepti on shapes the operational agency of the individual , that is, how individuals behave, mindset and agency within broader social contexts ( Wee, 2012). From a young age, formal education influences how young minds and their perceptions are molded. Classical

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4 ed ucation has failed to develop positive environmental perspectives in students. This has contributed to the sustainability issues we face as a global community today ( Stevenson, 2007). Traditional education practices have focused on factual knowledge accumu lation and emphasize content but pay less attention to how students relate to the curriculum (Wee, 2012). A focus on this relationship between education and perceptions can r eveal perceptions of nature and empower people to start conversations (dialogue) instead of reverting to monologues that fail to capture the breadth of lived human experiences. These conversations allow for honest scrutiny of our relationship with nature and each other, setting the stage for construct ive critique of not only our own perceptions and operations, but collective operations at large ( Foucault, 1997; Foucault et al., 2008; Lemke, 2001). Antecedent to the rest of my thesis This linguistic and philosophical difference is imperative, as it crucially sets the stage for the rest of my work ; it will also be important to read the following constructions of nature while keeping in nherent in a given vision) assumptions embedded within different conceptions (Foucault et al., 2008). (n)ature. Constructivist lenses define nature as a mutually constituted idea built through connections of ideas that culminate in the object itself ( Kahn and Kellert, 2002). Fairclough (1992) explores this definition of nature by e xplaining the role of text and discourse in the social construction of knowledge. Text is defined as the written or spoken data of a dialogue between entities (Fairclough, 19 92). Discourse is defined as the intersection of comprehension, communication and dissemination of ideas that culminate from the interaction and internalization of other discourses and texts (Fairclough, 1992). Together, c onstructs such as text and discour se govern social behavior (Fairclough, 1992). H ow, where and when people interact with nature are predominantly determined by major paradigm s of a society (Cresswell,

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5 2012) For exampl e, in some cases children can only interact with the natural world (e.g. a nature walk at the zoo) after school, when their parents are with them and can only walk along a prescribed path (Wee et al., 2018). In this context, therefore, a nature discourse may only be said to exist as a construct agreed upon and built through ide alization, authorship and reproduction in a particular place, at a particular time , among a particular group of people . (N)ature existent regardless of human experience or construction (Gerson, 2017). Kellert (2002) echoes this definition by depicting nature as something apart from human influences on it and through which beings, in part, come into being . For Kellert (20 0 2) , Nature is something that all beings, human and nonhuman, depend on for health and healthy growing/development. In this view, the rocks, air and water serve as infallible evidence that Nature is a form existent and that humans simply add their individual valuations to it. Chawla (2002) parall material world (Nature) reveals patterns of divinity (p. 201) inherently meaningful yet inexpressible interactions of humanity. For Chawla (2002) , the value of things, abstract or materia l, are intrinsic to themselves and can only refer to the essential meaning of being. This is not to say that nothing is ultimately valuable, but rather, the essential cannot be expressed by one thing (form) alone. (N)ature, then, is the abstract form or th e theoretical basis by which we contemplate or attribute characteristics to material or individually contrived (n)atures (Castree, 1995). (n) ature is never an immutable form, rather it is an ever evolving idea that is continually constructed by the develop ing individual and does not encapsulate the form of Nature . (n)atures can reflect material objects/places that could include human and non human visions , but also theoretical/abstract conceptions reified through discourse and social constructs (Castree, 19 95; Heynen and Robbins, 2005). For the remainder

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6 refer to human or non human natures that could be entirely (Castree, 1995; Heynen and Robbins, 2005). (n) ature s can (and often) reflect anthropocentric mentalities consistent with dominant discourses that are pervasive in contemporary Western ideologies. These dominant discourses are constructed from a human centr ic perspective; n ature is a place separate from humans where we impact it, rather than impact ourselves as a part of n ature. D ominant discourses of nature being operationalized in the global north are predominantly anthropocentric; humankind operates at th e center of meaning with complete dominion over the natural world ( Wee, 2012). There is definable separation between humankind and the rest of nature in these type discourses. A reinvigoration of nature discourses can help remove the divide between our pil lars (social constructs) and the natural unity found outside. This is important becaus e we cannot hope to effectively begin healing the natural world and our position in it if we continue to view ourselves as simply investors in its faculties. A n environmental curriculum can also reveal opposing discourses of n ature. A curriculum is constructed with the goal of (re) producing perceptions of the environment . While differing n ature discourses may be present in any given curriculum, it is possible that a dominant perspective in a curriculum (as a form of governance) can have a major influence on perceptions . T here is currently a disproportionate amount of research regarding the relationships between adult environmental perception, economics, political g overnance and environmental education, but a dearth of research regarding the relationship between environmental perception in children and education governance . Environmental education research has tended to show that education can change environmental pe rception, mainly focusing on adults ( Crowe, 2013; Eagles and Demare, 1999; Lee et al., 2015; Littledyke, 2004; Newman and Fernandes, 2016 ). Studying the embedded discourses in student perceptions of

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7 the environment and their environmental curriculum allows for a conversation of current education governance systems and how they perpetuate nature discourses . The purpose of this project is to c ritically analyze the discourses embedded in student perceptions of the environment and the national curriculum of Sweden. Uncovering emergent themes relating to nature in these databases may lend perspective on any divergences between prove useful for future work similar to the present study (e.g. environmental perception and economic governance, political governance, or similar studies conducted in other places ar ound the world). By reorienting irresponsible ideologies of nature reified in dominant discourses to sustainable and morally defensible ideals, one of the central goals in EE, to produce critical and responsible thinkers, could possibly and probably occur. Having clarified the concepts integral to my work, my research questions are: 1. What are the nature discourses 2. Are these nature discourses how? 3. What do these nature discourses reveal about education as a governance structure, and what are its implications? By understanding embedded nature discourses and learner s perceptions of the environment, progress to create responsible paradigms and inclusive modalities can be approached. Further, considering the state of environmental health across the world, natu re has yet to be broadly respected within our dominant discourses; this c an change. This study represents a call to humankind to consider their ideologies, assumptions and operations as a sole force in the much broader context of Nature. It is time to humble our position as one entity that has, to this point, expressed its domi native hubris to control and create nature. We must

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8 now come to understand the natures of a variety of perspectives so that we may address the needs and views of the multitude rather than continue to reproduce historically persistent and pervasive visions of nature.

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9 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW is approached in many ways. Explaining what researchers and viable when it is left amorphic. There is no consensus regarding nature in the literature , however there is agreement across disciplines that interaction with nature has measurable effects on the child , and more broadly, the human agent . Before we can understand nature with any depth, we must first explore the different approaches to defining nature . Conceptions of nature The l iterature to date predominantly consists of constructivist conceptions of nature. As presented previously, Fairclough (1992) expl ain this social construction and valuation by implicating text and discourse . Abstract objects like nature a re mutually constit uted idea s built through textual and discursive connections that culminated in the object itself . Text is then implicated in an evolving discourse that ultimately influences social constructs that govern social behavior and action (Fairclough, 1992). Entir ely reduced , nature can only be said to exist as a conceptual construct that is idealiz ed and author ed on wherein the human perception of the material is the only meaningful reality of nature) . Cresswell (2012) presents similar ideas by relating the economic mode of a society to their construction of abstract objects. His M arxist Geographies chapter explores how wealth concentration and distribution influences both the individual and the wider society by moderating the production of knowledge, as knowledge itself is discursive in nature . In this lens, how, where and when peo ple interact with non human nature are co produced by the major economic paradigm within a society and the physical geography of the region (Cresswell, 2012).

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10 Others have constructed nature in similar ways, but instead of entirely attributing discourse to its existence, the construct is created internally rather than externally ; the agent assimilates ideas of nature into their own conception of it . Kahn (2002) expresses this modality by outlining a system in which nature is constructed internally by the ind ividual as the individual constructs the world through stages of morality and reasoning development. Structures of reality are shaped and constantly in flux as new information is accrued and development occurs (Kahn, 2002). Kahn (2002) echoes similar ideas work wherein all human agents pass through discrete stages of development (Wadsworth, 1996). Reducing these theories , nature (i.e. human nature) is never an immutable form, rather a continually evolvin g idea that is being constructed within the developing individual. Rather than defining nature as something essential, nature itself is formed through interaction with people, nonhuman beings, place and the senses to create human nature (Wee , 2018 ). The (Abram, 2012; Husserl, 2012; Merleau Ponty, 2013) . Similar assertions are made in studies that work to uncover t raditional and nuanced conceptions of nature in Sweden. Jonsson et al., (2012) sought to understand the changing Sami (native Swedish culture) relationship with their nature. Children from Sami cultures identified with a living nature; this nature constitu ted their land (the rocks and roots), their reindeer (farm animals), and most importantly, themselves. The children in this study exist in an evolving local economy that is dependent on global and regional economic structures. They could no longer afford t o stay on their land (i.e. non human nature) and pass it along to future generations, instead, they were forced to question their experience with their land and animals, against their wishes, to be able to support their future families. For these children, nature and their experience with it was no longer perceivably disconnected to wider human structures. The authors concluded that the very nature of Sami experience with nature had

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11 evolved, indicated by changing landscapes and lived experiences (Jonsson et al., 2012). This study represents the importance of human nature interactions; humans interact with what is non human to produce knowledge of their natures (Castree, 1995). Mels (2009) makes an interesting assertion in line with the nature of Sami childre discourses of the environment must be free of broader Western, capitalistic ideologies, even as pervasive as they are. o experience directly; there is only nature, and these natures should no longer be analyzed under the assumption that there should be only one experience or reified form . Nature has also been defined as something that exists whether humans experience it or construct it. Kellert (2002) echoes this definition by depicting nature as something apart from human influences on it and through which beings in part come into being (i.e. non human nature) . For Kellert (2002) , nature is something that a ll beings, human and nonhuman, depend on for health and well being . In this view, the rocks, air and water (i.e. non human nature) serve as undeniable evidence that Nature is existent and that humans simply add their individual valuations to it. This is di fferent from previous explanations as Nature is also intrinsically rather than solely extrinsically meaningful world (nature) reveals patterns of divinity (p . 201). rough the meaningful yet inexpressible interactions with nature (reflection of the intelligible world) . Human Nature Relationships Wells and Evans (2003) found that interaction with nature improved social, behavioral and physical well being of both children and adults. The ir study conclu ded that at risk children showed improvements pertaining to attention deficit disorder among othe r health measurables.

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12 I nteraction with nature also improved health across different landscapes as rural children displayed the same type of benefits that children from urban or city landscapes displayed; consequently, it is the being in nature that affects children rather than the being surrounded by nature (Wells & Evans, 2003). Self discipline in at risk, inner city children also improved because of interaction with nature (Taylor et al., 2002). Distance (from normal school premises) mediated t heir find ings; girls responded with greater efficacy when nature was within a closer radius from their homes while boys showed the mo re improvement when their play spaces (farther away from their home) were more natural (Taylor et al., 2002). This they concluded that students whose preschool was closer to natural rese rves displayed higher biospheric affinity (cognitive and emotional connection to the natural world), while the more urbanized cohort of students tended to grow in biospheric affinity as they participated in urban outdoor activities (Giusti, et al., 2014). Giusti et al., (2014) concluded that interaction with local natures can bolster environmental affinity, or affection for the natural world. Others have framed human environment relationships differently. For example, Naess (1973) and Drengson (1995) outli ne the d eep e cology movement wherein human and nonhuman entities, their values and operations, are inherently valuable. In this view, the natural world has value outside of its utility to human society; additionally, this framework draws from the work of M uir (2011) and Pinchot (1910) who asserted that humans should exercise minimal agency towards upsetting or altering natural ecosystems/environments. Deep e cology is also very similar in orientation to ecocentrism in which the focus of human operation shoul d be on the overall function of the total ecosystem, not necessarily on human functionality (Hoffman and Sandelands, 2005). The main theses of ecocentrism and deep ecology focus on critiquing the

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13 human egoism of anthropocentrism wherein valuation of what i s not human exclusively stems of its utility to human society (Hoffman and Sandelands, 2005). While critique of these differing conceptions of human environment relations is outside the scope of this work, it is necessary to call attention to the different ways in which these relationships are perceived. By understanding these conceptions, we may glean insight into the possible influences on how people may construct their natures (human and non human) and their interaction with them . Environmental Percepti ons Environmental education researchers study how people valuate and visualize the environment differently and develop nuanced methods based on variou s demographics of subjects in a study ( Wee et al., 2013; Shepardson et al., 2009). Researching adult behavior towards/within the environment. Environmental education research conventionally utilize s differi ng processes to quantify and qualify environmental perceptions . Some of these measures were developed in one discipline (e.g. sociology or economics) but were utile for the purposes of others, leading to occasional conservation/use of methods across differ ent disciplines. One of these universal methods for quantifying environmental perception is the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale. The method uses a fifteen item questionnaire to measure the DSP) or the NEP. Participants are prompted to reflect their agreement with each of the statements on the questionnaire. Even numbered statements relate to the DSP that is demonstrably less ecocentric (i.e. places no intrinsic value on natural environments) while odd numbered statements relate to the NEP. Participants are categorized into dichotomous groups based on their agreement for each of the items in the questionnaire, and since there are more items relating to the NEP, a higher score on the scale rela tes to a more ecocentric environmental perception (Crowe, 2013; Eagles and

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14 Demare, 1999; Lee, et. al., 2015; Littledyke, 2004; Newman and Fernandes, 2016). Findings of these type studies tend to show that environmental perception, as measured by the scale, increases from pre to post course. It is important to note however that there are clear difference s gleaned from content analysis or discourse analysis as presented below . Nuance d methodologies in the field of EE research often utilize drawings /visualizations . These visualizations are then analyzed for emergent themes pertaining to the discourses being studied (Anthamatten et. al., 2013; Barraza, 1999; Shepardson, et. al., 2005; S hepardson, et. al., 2007 a ; Shepardson, et. al., 2007 b ; Wee, et. al., 2004; Wee, et. al., 2006; Wee, et. al., 2012; Wee, et. al., 2013; Wee, et. al., 2014). By gathering visual representations by students, researchers can avoid research of research with children to garner their perceptions. Conventional research tended to operate with the former inher ent assumptions rather than the latter, leading some researchers to question the authenticity of their findings. Visualization is an important tool for environmental education and an effective methodology in teaching science (e.g. geography). Visualization is an effective means to glean meaning from and teach meaningful concepts to students in science (Wee e t al., 2013). The studies representing nuanced methodologies presented here avoid these criticisms by leaving drawing prompts simple so that students r espond more authentically than This type of research tends to yield findings different from those that utilized measures like the NEP; namely, onceptions of the environment from their drawings rather than from previously determined measures. As alluded to earlier, it is important to note that the data gathered from the content and discourse analysis present in this section is different from the type of data gathered from NEP

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15 ideas; NEP testing elicits a r esponse to a series of categorical prompts. T he prevalence of self selection and general researcher selection are implicated as problematic because they might create bias during data gathering and analysis . Multiple studies presented here used pre and pos t interaction survey responses to fixed questions (Wells and Evans, 2003; Taylor et al., 2002; Kahn, 2002). There are major and apparent issues with this methodology; namely, the ively creating and relaying their own. The smells , sounds and feeling of being in the environment being evaluated cannot be recreated (Wee, 2012; Wee and Anthamatten, 2014). Research on Environmental Perceptions Environmental education (EE) research has tended to show that education can change environmental perception. Environmental perception (e.g. NEP scores or drawings) before and after environmental educational experiences change (Eagles and Demare, 1999; Litt ledyke, 2004; Wee, et. al., 2004; Shepardson, et. al., 2007 a ; Shepardson, et. al., 2007 b ; Crowe, 2013; Lee, et. al., 2015; Newman and Fernandes, 2016). An exemplary study by Crowe (2013) found that environmental perception was significantly impacted by an introductory environmental science course for both a control class (without eco spirituality components) and an experimental class (with eco spiritual components) although larger changes were observed in terms of NEP scores for the experimental group. The instructor for the experimental course spirituality. A 6.2% increase in NEP score between the pre and post class experience regarding the experimental group in com parison to a 2.8% increase in NEP score regarding the control group establishes that introducing spiritual components in environmental education may prove useful for bolstering pro environmental attitudes and perceptions (Crowe, 2013). Two other studies co rroborated the findings by concluding that environmental education related to

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16 global or local environmental issues proved to the strongest predictor for environmental awareness, concern, and activism in Latin America, Africa, and smaller European and Asian communities (Lee, et. al., 2015; Newman and Fernandes, 2016). Bogner (2002) further elucidated the ideas presented here by showing that outdoor residential environmental education experience significantly affected pre and post survey responses. Students between the ages of 11 and 16 were exposed to out of the classroom learning experiences on several occasions. Before the experience occurred, students were given a pre survey accompanied by a post survey one month later. Resulting from the educational experience, minimalization of human impacts on the environmental arose while utilitarian environmental perceptions remained the same (Bogner, 2002) . While these results are positive, reorienting perceptions to be more sustainable is the goa l, and conventional education curriculum may not be suitable for achieving such goals (Bogner, 2002). It is here that we can note the difference between traditional educational practices and those represented in more nuanced environmental educational setti ngs. EE tends to be represented by learning opportunities oriented toward understanding the inseparability of environmental entities/factors (e.g. humans and ecosystems) to bolster environmentally aware pupils. Education more generally applied to other dis ciplines, and especially in primary school settings where most children operate , tend s to fall under lower levels of cognitive demands (e.g. remember and Although this idea is far from a rule, it from those of more tradition educational goals. This notion will be implicated later in this review l curriculum. Another study of importance is Howell (2013) who found that altruism and concern for the vulnerable (e.g. poor, underprivileged members) of society were significant indicators of activism and action of people leading low carbon lives. P artici pants displayed less biocentric

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17 motivations and more sociocentric motivations which implicates the need for a more holistic marketing approach es of low carbon lifestyles (Howell, 2013) . Howell and Allen (2017) also concluded that biocentric and moralistic values were of equal importance according to 344 environmental activists. Activists reported more moral reasons for engaging in environmental activism than biocentric motivation s . This study shows that cultivating biocentric or anthropocentric values may n ot be as effective in bolstering environmental activism as promoting moral imperatives regarding the duty of stewardship (Howell and Allen , 2017). Palmer et al . , (1998) corroborated these trends by concluding that moral imperatives for teaching the young r esponsibility and stewardship were more influential than biocentric concern among environmental educators. These ideas will later be revisited as the national curriculum of Sweden is rife with moral imperatives stemming from embedded environmental educatio n discourses. Whether by NEP scoring or by measuring eco centrism, researchers studying and other environmental educators have gathered perception data (e.g. drawings and content/ discourse analysis). This may lend insight into the discourse of what adults perceive the approaches methodologically than adults. Perhaps studying adult perc eption via similar methods as we have studied children may lend deeper insight into the discourse embedded within adult environmental perception and nature. As curriculum are produced by adults , it is important to understand how adult perception has historically been uncovered. For my purposes however, I will focus the rest of my efforts on perceptions that necessitate different methods than NEP or other environmental perception scales. The following section will work to uncover discourses embedded wi discourses present in education governance.

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18 Now that I have introduced perception and governance generally, I will now focus on previous work that directly pertains to the research quest ions of my work; primarily, pervious Shepardson, et. al. (2007 a ) is one work closely tied to the present study. They concluded that student images of the environment tended to be a place where the animal s and plants live, apart from themselves and mankind (i.e. non human nature) . Urban students tended to think of the environment as a place impacted by mankind (i.e. human nature) . The study also concluded that the traditional learning and experiencing of t students the moral dimensions that influence the environment al perceptions . This view, if bolstered from an evolving environmental education, could impact the lev el of social change and environmental awareness/concern that is necessary to alleviate the moral environmental issues both now and in the future. Shepardson et al . , (2007 b ) also concluded in a separate study that students viewed watersheds as something th at stored water, promoted the hydrological cycling, and were high in elevation, away from them, with limited transferring of water between each other. An aim of a developing environmental education is to improve student perception by connecting watersheds to themselves and more broadly, the global ecosystem . They are not just high elevation bodies away from themselves that interact with the atmosphere but are life sustaining bodies that have the capacity of influencing other watersheds both close and far in proximity. If watersheds are perceived as something personal and imminently influential on the individual, pollution and watershed maintenance would improve in line with the goals of environmental education (Shepardson et al. , 2007 b ). The se studies suggest that anthropocentric motivations for environmentalism limit the development of holistic, systems oriented perspectives in students. These findings are corroborated by other works. Shepardson et al., (2005) also elucidate d the implication for education governance. If students

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19 were to view water sheds more accurately (i.e. scientifically, ideologically, etc.), actions among our future adults can prove more sustainable and elicit ideas of natur e worth modeling. As education influences environmental perception, adding valuable knowledge can significantly alter perception, affect ing action. Other studies offer insight on how pedagogical technique , in addition to content , can affect student perception of the environment (Farmer et. al., 2007; Wee, et. al., 2004; Wee, et. al., 2006; Wee, et. al., 2012). Farmer et. al. (2007) showed that 4th graders who were taken on a field trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park displ ayed pro environmental attitudes and knowledge directly linked to their experiences on the trip, even one year after the trip. Wee, et. al. (2004) showed similar results but from a classroom based learning experience. This study found that students who ans wered a pre test and post test after non traditional environmental education tended to answer the questions differently, indicating that nontraditional education could prove useful for reinforcing pro environmental attitudes and action (Wee et al., 2004). Wee et al. , (2006) further studied environmental perceptions of environmental science students across cultures. They concluded that while there were conserved standards among nations (e.g. Singapore and the United States), students came to know the content and environments, changing social structures, and non formal education which all were embedded with discourses of human environment interactions specific to their particular contexts. Social issues, like climate change, should and cannot be address by international science standards but rather demand context specific understandings and operations (Wee et al., 2006). These conclusions were reached based on analysis and what the children were thinking when they were visualizing the environment, not directly what they drew (p. ( Alerby, 2000 ).

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20 Perhaps the seminal resource for this piece is Wee (2012). Building from and furthering their previous work, Wee (2012) amalgamated work done across different nations (Singapore, United States, and China) and derived findings rooted in contextually specific linguistics and environmental perceptions. Build ing from Wee et al., (2006), this study concluded that while there are common environmental perceptions among children from different nations, there are ways of knowing specific to children in China, Singapore and the United States. All nations had context ually specific interactions and ways of talking about their natures. Corroborating Wee et al., (2006), these elucidations communicated the need for less international environmental science standards and more contextual understandings of the natural world r ooted in localized knowledge. It is hard for a student in Singapore to relate to the natural world if the dominant discourse of the environment is predominantly Western (Wee, 2012). In line with previous work, these conclusions were based on analysis of dr aw and explain exercises. Bryan Wee has also done extensive work in Stockholm, Sweden; this work is the foundational database for this work. perception to context ualize the rest of this work. Important (2000) which used draw and explain methodology to derive meanings and valuations of nature and the environment. Thoughts pertaining to the environment reflected wider Western ideologies and lacked localized contextualization optimistic human pessimistic worlds . There were also references / conceptions of environmental stewardship and protection that created dialogue between the optimistic and the pessimistic world (Alerby, 2000) . Mostly notably however, there were minimal contextually specific influences on the visualizations; thi s led the author to conclude that teaching and learning experiences of student in Sweden seemingly did not include significant attention to student experience in how they come to know

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21 (Alerby, 2000). The lack of culturally specific components in the studen t drawings is concerning, especially in light of Wee et al., (2006) which noted the importance of such components. Jonsson et al., (2012) is an other example of Swedish research that sought to understand the relationship with nature. Draw a nd explain analysis revealed that c hildren from Sami cultures identified with a living nature; this nature constituted their land (the rocks and roots), their reindeer (farm animals), and most importantly, themselves ; said another way, Sami illustrations r eflected sentiments of the important interaction between human and non human natures (Jonsson et al., 2012) . The children in this study heir from a more traditional and local discursive lineage; they also are existent in an evolving local economy that is d ependent on global and regional economic structures. They could no longer afford to stay on their land and pass it along to future generations, instead, they were forced to question their experience with their land and animals, against their wishes, to be able to support their future families. For these children, presumably different from their parents, nature and their experience with it was no longer perceivably disconnected to wider human structures (Jonsson et al., 2012) . By the end of the study, the au thors concluded that the very nature of Sami experience with nature had evolved, indicated by the lived experiences and changing landscapes of the children under review (Jonsson et al., 2012). These conclusions reveal that even if environment perception of children include cultural ties, these ties are imperiled by a globalizing culture and economy. Mels (2009), another Swedish researcher specializing in discourse, makes an interesting (i .e. nature) can no longer afford to exist discursively reduced to one conception. Rather, discourses of the environment must be allowed to localize, free of broader discourses of Western, capitalistic ideologies, even as pervasive as they are. To Mels (200 only nature, and these natures should no longer be analyzed under the assumption that there

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22 should be only one to experience or form of it . This allowance for various natures was further explored by students to their proximity to nature. Utilizing observational techniques and by avoiding preset self reporting (surveys), they concluded that while preschool students wh ose preschool was closer to natural reserves displayed higher biospheric affinity (cognitive and emotional connection to the natural world), the more urbanized cohort of students tended to grow in biospheric affinity as they participated in urban outdoor a ctivities (Giusti, et al., 2014). In combination, these Swedish studies assert that localized ideologies and nature interactions should be allowed to prevail over more globalized reproductions of a Western Nature. icultural analysis, and the broader literature base, environmental perceptions and relations of children are starkly absent of their cultural contexts, and even when they are not, perceptions are becoming globalized. This imperils local culture and endange rs the success of pro environmental social movements. If we cannot address local environmental issues, how can we hope to alleviate the global crises built from additive local issues? One part of a solution could come from nuanced environmental education w herein students learn with their teachers in a contextually relevant manner as to avoid missing locally relevant ties to their culture and their nature. Because of the important role that environmental education plays in the formation of environmental perc eption, and due to the lack of locally section will outline how I sought to offer new insight of these emerging social crises.

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23 CHAPTER III M ETHODS Context and Data Collection I chose Stockholm, Sweden as my area of interest because the governance structures present there are far different from those found here in the United States. I wanted to gain insight on what can be changed here by studying what the U.S. seemingly is not ( i.e. what insight into environmental perception do more socially governed societies offer that the U.S. does not ) . Additionally, a robust data set o f was available for analysis and had pr eviously been analyzed by the chair of my thesis committee; albeit Dr. Bryan Wee had analyzed this database differently from how I chose to, having previous experience with the dataset lent additional insight to this project . In the context of a more socia listic educational governance structure, perhaps future work can be devoted to understanding how the U.S. can change its educational system to reflect the optimistic discourses of human environment relationships form the Swedish national curriculum that will be elucidated later. Sweden faced severe economic crisis during the 1990s that led to major reform of its national economy. By implementing policy centered around limiting debt, redefining supply chains and setting reasonable economic growth goals (that limit accumulation of debt), Sweden programs, its educational f unding allocations, renewable energy use and many other economic education remains a priority for the nation and as such, plays an instrumental role in sustainability

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24 think/know (or do not think/know) but also a representation of governance outcomes, intended or otherwise. Although sustainability and harmony with the natural world does elicit confidence modeling, sustainability does not equate to a healthy and harmonious view of nature. Methods: Study Sample/Demographic to day experienc es and ideas, including formal and informal experiences, environment will be the focus of this study because the methodologies utilized here align with a progressiv e educational movement of research with children rather than on children. C hildren represent the future to come. If we wish to positively affect our world, we should look to lasting solutions to usher in a promising era of human environmental interactions. Research with children is one example of a potentially lasting solution to the vast complexity of co produced issues facing the world today. Methods: Data Analysis There are two main methods that need reviewed: analyzing curriculum. These two methods are pertinent to my work because by revealing embedded nature discourses in the Swedish National Curriculum, I can ascertain if these discourses are represented in the drawings. These analytical methods are not entirely new (e .g. inductive content analysis is used to analyze the curriculum of Sweden), but they represent applications of existing methodologies in a novel research context. There are six main texts drawings for education research purposes. These texts outlined various methodologies for analyzing images and drawings, but given my research question/s, the appropriate method for

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25 further revi ew is inductive content analysis . The main objective in inductive content analysis, as the name suggests, is to derive categories to analyze a given database based on emergent themes from the database itself (i.e. categories emerge from the samples rather than preconceived categories from other literature). Using methods inductive in nature allows me to present here. This represents an inherent goal of the present work: t o create meaningful dialogue between those who have garnered nearly all of the agency in traditional environmental education research (the researcher) and those who have not (the children). There are two research groups I wish to highlight here as example s of what has been methods as outlined in Shepardson, et al. (2005; 2007a; 2007b; 2009) and Finson, et al. (1995). specific forms of nature (i.e. the studies wish to uncover perceptions of specific forms of nature, like watersheds, as opposed to uncover ing individualized idealizations of natures, that might include watersheds, forests, fields, etc.). In these studies, the authors used coding schemes that were first coded by the first author, were allowed to pass through a second round of coding for refin ement, and then were then placed into further categories based on geographic location of where the drawings were collected, the community settings of where the drawings were collected and the grade levels of the students that produced the images (Shepardso n, 2005; Shepardson, et al., 2007a; Shepardson, et al. 2007b; Shepardson, et al., 2009). These methods were validated by similar studies and research texts (Patton, 1980; Patton 1987; Patton 1990; Quinn, 2002). gs of the environment involved uncovering individual, idealized perceptions of nature (i.e. instead of studying how children perceive

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26 watersheds, these studies sought to uncover how children perceive nature generally). Examples of these types of studies ar e Anthamatten, et al. (2013), Kalvaitis and Monhardt (2012), Ulker (2012), Wee, et al. (2006; 2012; 2013; 2014), and Yilmaz, et al. (2012). These studies utilized methodologies of multi round analyses like those described above, but instead of further cate gorization based on different demographics, triangulation was achieved by using multiple authors to verify and validate emergent themes. In the first round of analysis, preliminary codes were developed; in the ensuing rounds of analysis, coders met and dis cussed coding differences to validate categories developed from inductive content analysis. The methods described here were validated by similar studies and research texts (Rose, 2007; Miles, et al., 1994). Both types of analyses presented here are simila r in that they both allowed for inductively environment. My thesis will employ an inductive, analytical approach similar to these two types. I will allow patterns to emerge from ch similarities/differences in the drawings and to develop broader themes will be drawn from my analysis of the Swedish National Curriculum. This is explained in the following section. Analyzing Educatio n Curriculum There is currently little to no research pertaining curriculum analysis like the specific type proposed here. Past research in curriculum analysis has focused on content analysis of curricular goals, content analysis of the influences on curri cular goals, curricular development and curricular alignment with educational instruction, student evaluation and educational standards. The following sections will outline studies conducted with the intentions mentioned above (e.g. alignment, content anal ysis of goals, etc.) and some noteworthy methodological variations of curriculum analysis.

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27 One of the major differences in study methodologies pertaining to curriculum analysis is represented in Jóhannesson, et al. (2011). This study group used the experti se and previous experience of their authors with the curriculum under review to help construct the categories by which they analyzed their material (i.e. the authors in this study were involved during the development process of the curriculum under review) . This varies significantly from other studies that rely on inductive theme formation or code development based on other literature. The other noteworthy difference in methodology is presented in Rasinen (2003). This study utilized an alternate form of con tent analysis; specifically, systematic analysis was used which involves uncovering the influences on the content as a means of contextualizing the emergent themes. Other literature has used and validates this approach (Jussila, et al., 1992; Scriven, 1988 ). A larger portion of the educational research of curriculum utilize inductive or deductive development of coding schemes through which texts are analyzed (Ary, et al., 2002; Ary, et al., 2018; Miles, et al., 1994). These typical methodologies of textual content analysis have been applied in various studies that had various research goals (alignment, evaluation, etc.). Curriculum alignment in relation to , for example science standards , and curriculum evaluation in relation to for example, student achievem ent scores , explain the dominance of these forms of curricular analysis in the field of education research and specifically, schooling. These studies do not, however, share common research goals with this thesis. Rather than deriving intentions of curricu lar goals, student evaluation measures or curriculum development, the present aim is to uncover ideologies of nature present in the curriculum. By uncovering these natures in the content of the curriculum, the present study aims to understand the influence curriculum.

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28 The following section outline how previous methods influence a nd were operationalized. Analyzing the Swedish national curriculum occurred in three main phases: keyword identification, inductive classification or thematization and theme refinement. In my initial pass through the Swedish Curriculum, I read through the entire 308 page document, noting any keywords that would help me answer my res earch questions . Keywords included, but were not focused reading yielded specific selections of curriculum excerpts that contained the keywords . I highlight ed key te xts that relayed nature discourses and t hematic codes were developed. I then read through the curriculum a third time to refine my categories (themes). Table 1 below shows the categories that represent nature discourses after these three rounds of analysis . Included in the table are my operational definitions for the categories. S ample representative text (drawn from the Swedish national curriculum) that align with each category is available in the Appendices. For the nature discourses embedded in the Swedi sh national curriculum, I chose not to include quantitative measures (counts) of texts that led to the categories presented in Table 1. I did so, in part to appreciate the broad strokes by which Swedish educational officials paint their nature contexts. Ad ditionally, operationalized pedagogy is separate from the textual guidelines of a curriculum. Teachers choose, how and what from the curriculum, they will disseminate to their students.

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29 Table 1: Nature Discourses from the Swedish National Curriculum Wd wilderness (e.g. where animals and plants exist, apart from humans) Based on references the natural world made of animals, plants and the non A A Ns separate from (e.g. draw both human society and wilderness, but the two are separate) Based on numerous references to the between nature, technology and A B Ss society and wilderness inhabiting the same space Based on references to the dence of humans and non human animals, and plants on the non living environment A C An contains non human animals animals, plants and other organisms. Photos ynthesi s, combustion and ecological relationships, and the importance of knowledge with regard to agriculture A D Lc Explicit depiction of local nature/environ ment ecosystems and how they can be studied from an ecological perspective. Relationships between populations and resources available in ecosystems. The local ecosystems in comparison with regional or global A E Gb Explicit depiction of global nature/environme nt educational programme should contribute to the development of interest in and knowledge of nature, technology and society, by giving them the opportunity to explore and pose questions on and discuss phenomena and relationships in the world at A F Im Depiction of natural resource management or human impacts on natural resources and nature biology is of great importance for society in such diverse areas as health, natural resource use and the environment. Knowledge of nature and people pro vides people with tools to shape their own well being, and also contribute to sustainable A G Su Depiction of sustainable action within or for the sake of nature use and development of different materials during the course of histo ry. The different materials used to manufacture daily objects and how they can be A H Mt Depiction of school disciplines being enacted in nature (e.g. outside photography/s cientist collecting samples/physi cal activity) teaching, pupils should develop the ability to spend time in outdoor settings and nature during different seasons of the year, and acquire an understanding of the value of an active A I Code for Nature Discourses Definition Sampl e Text Appendix

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30 Operationalized Drawing Analysis were analyzed using the thematic codes that arose from the Swedish National Curriculum. Drawing analysis comprised of two main phases: thematic coding and coding refinement (explain this process). A total of 44 drawings were analyzed. Each drawing had the following prompt : In the space below, please draw and color a picture of what you think the environment looks like in the future. You may use labels if you think that will h elp us understand your drawing . Data was collected from a middle school (equivalent) in Stockholm, in a suburban community that included a mixture of established residents as well as newly arrived immigrants. Suburban in this context refers to a landscape dominated by affordable housing in the form of older, multi story apartments rather than single providing services such as banking, groceries, library, and so on. Unlike the United States, there was no data on soci o economic status via free/reduced lunch statistics, however, many of the families living there could be classified as lower to middle income (personal communication with principal and participating teachers). Most of the students either walked, bicycled o r took public transportation to/from school. of nature as a place constituted by natural spaces that lacked representations of human societies (Appendix B C). The Ns cat egory (Appendix B B) was similarly coded for in the drawings but instead of isolated representations of natural spaces, there were also human societies in the drawings with delineated separations of the two entities (e.g. wilderness spaces and human societ y demarcated by a solid line). The Ss code (Appendix B D) was counted when manifestations of natural and social spaces were intertwined and were spatially inseparable (e.g. houses and factories surrounded by trees and birds).

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31 code was counted only when an explicit and clear labeling (e.g. Stockholm) was present in the drawing (Appendix B E). The Gb code was counted with similar rigor as only drawings that displayed the globe or clear labeling of other nations were counted (Appendix B A). The last category that may need a brief explanation is the Mt code (school disciplines being enacted in nature); based on the biology and physical education sections of the curriculum, this category represented the strong emphasis of the curriculum that education is often done in nature . This code was only to be counted if there were clear indications of pupils hiking (as emphasized by the physical education s ections) or taking samples in nature (as emphasized by the hard sciences).

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32 CHAPTER IV F INDINGS conceptions of nature. There were discourses of nature as wilderness, as separate from human society and nature as mutually constituted by wilderness and human society. There were embedded ideas of nature including animals, plants, society, all of which should exist in harmony, inseparable from each other; yet th negative effect on global, regional and local natures. Perhaps the largest emphasis in the analysis, please refer to Table 1). While tabulation of coding points that might provide a sense to code in the document; the rest of the codes were perceivably evenly distributed throughout the document. Because of this perceivable even distribution of code weightedness, emphasis in the document on certain nature discourses, perhaps besides sustainability, should not influence what was represented in the drawings (i.e. the drawings were intended to be influenced by all discourses without emphasis on certain ideals). S representations of nature in their drawings were not discursively aligned, and in some cases not aligned at all , with the nature discourses of the curriculum. There was one indication of strong alignment though; representations of pessimistic human impacts on nature were often reproduced in the drawings . The rest of the nature discourses in the curriculum were itself (refer to Table 2). Refer to Appendix B for an e xample of representative drawings for each coding theme.

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33 in the Future Curricular Code representing nature discourses Code Definition Count (number of times the category appeared in drawings. Multip le categories may have appeared in one drawing, hence the total count exceeds the total number of drawings) Percentage of Total Drawings (n=44) represented by each category Wd (e.g. where animals and plants exist, apart from humans) 6 14% Ns draw both human society and wilderness, but the two are separate) 17 39% Ss wilderness inhabiting the same space 18 41% An human animals 19 43% Lc Explicit depiction of local nature/environment 4 9% Gb Explicit depiction of global nature/environment 6 14% Im Depiction of natural resource management or human impacts on natural resources and nature 31 70% Su Depiction of sustainable action within or for the sake of nature 5 11% Mt Depiction of school disciplines being enacted in nature (e.g. outside photography/scientist collecting samples/physical activity) 0 0%

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34 The role that curriculum plays as a discursive mediator to perceptions remains elusive. A central ten e t in the field of environmental education is that education (formal or non formal) is one moderating variable of environmental identity or perception ( Williams and Chawla, 2016). This work corroborates this assertion. From a discourse perspective, there were clear indications of nature discourse reproduction in base on discourse leaves its influence as incontrovertible yet es sentially ineffable ( Abram, 2012; Fairclough, 1992) , and the findings demonstrate environmental perceptions. In the following sections, I focus on the major findings of my analysis of these two databases. Local Contexts (Lc ) drawings of the environment in the future . In line with Wee et al., (2006) and Wee (2012), there was a lack of culturally specific components in this cohort of drawings. In combination with Jonsson, et al., (2012), who concluded that children from indigenous Sami cultures in Sweden were beginning to adapt their environmental perception to a globalizing economy, cultural connections and identities with nature are changing, even disappearin g . Only 4/44 (9%) of the Figure 1 be low depicts of local (Swedish) nature.

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35 Figure 1: Representation of Local Nature (Lc) Globalization is not only indicated by how children view their nature; it is also inherent in the global education structure as w ell. As governance itself becomes globalized, education must follow to disseminate globally oriented knowledge. Inseparable from changing perceptions of local natures is standardized testing across cultures. Rather than examining contextual knowledge of cu subjective understanding ( Wee et al., 2006).

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36 subjective understandings of these standards become disallowed in the classroom. Teachers, pressured by globalizing educational structures built upon rigorous fact based curricula, may not have time to allow students to critically think or subjectively rel ate to the knowledge being disseminated. This produces students full of factual knowledge but who struggle to critically analyze new scenarios or synthesize positions from accrued knowledge. It is also possible that the West (e.g. United States) plays a c rucial role in cultural and educational change around the world. One elements of Western nature discourse is dominion [over the environment] . Dominion implicates separation, externalization of costs, and ownership. Western dominion discourses vis à vis nat ure can be attributed to interpretations of Judeo Christian ecclesiastical texts ( White, 1967). ( Sutherland, 2019) , over half of its citizens belong to the Church of Sweden (58%). This is vastly different from tra buil t (Sutherland, 2019). In addition to changing spiritual influences on environmental perception is the changing of human nonhuman animal relationship and perceptions. Children did include drawings that did, 15 of the depicted animals were fish. This is additive to my overall concern as the ecosystems of Sweden, and especially Stockholm can not be singularly attribute to fisheries; local nature are explicitly present. This is inherently problematic for positive climate change agency because without c onnection to local natures, how are future leaders supposed to value saving local environments? In a globalizing world, children are forced to adapt their valuations to the demands of global economic, educational and political forces. This may not be inher ently dangerous, but it is dangerous if children only know of the whole, without conceiving that the whole is mutually constituted by the parts. There are real environmental crises facing the global

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37 environment, but these crises must be addressed at the lo cal level as the global crisis was borne of local processes. Without local agents of change, local crises may go unsolved and consequently, global crises as well . As cultures become more vaguely unique, so do the solutions to cultur ally specific environmen tal problems. Human Impacts (Im) In line with Western nature discourses of dominion, my results corroborate Alerby (2000) research in Sweden that worked to uncover nature visualizations of children. An emphasis on this domineering relationship to the environment was seen and was referred to as pessimistic outcomes of h uman domination of the natural world. In the Bad World, humans cut down trees, polluted water sources, directly or indirectly killed local flora and fauna, and generally changed the form of the natural world (Alerby, 2000). This Bad World, which implicates dominant Western nature discourses, was the most frequently coded category in my study as well (70%).

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38 Figure 2 : Representative Drawings of Pessimistic

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39 Figure 3 : Representative Drawings of Pessimistic The Bad World is definitely a part of the Swedish National Curriculum but is only referred to directly a few times. One example of a reference in the Swedish curriculum is from the g Teaching should give pupils the opportunity to develop knowledge about different human activities and processes produced by nature that have an gaining experi ence of interpreting and assessing the consequences of different changes taking place in geographical space Teaching should contribute to pupils developing familiarity with how it is possible to switch between different tempo ral and spatial perspectives. Through teaching, pupils should develop knowledge about

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40 living conditions If the above examples of natu re discourses vis à vis human impacts are present, but not overly emphasized, w hy is this particular discourse drawings? One answer may be teaching methods. As the enactors of the curriculum, teachers exercise the content in their own manner. This, in combination with Western influenced standards may explain why this particular version of nature is emphasized so abundantly in the drawings because it is emphasized in the classroom by teachers . Another reason could be that nonformal education (e.g. interaction with family members, the media, etc.) is playing a significant role in their formation of environmental perception. As mentioned at the beginning of this thesis, education is only one form of governance; perha ps in Sweden, socio political and economic governance is embedded with Western nature discourses. Taken further, even if other forms of governance are now minimally influenced of ifts after the financial crisis in the 1990s). Teachers, among other enactors of governance in Stockholm are themselves influenced by the governance structures in Stockholm; this is true of not only those present now, but governance structures of the past. One explanation of my findings could be that remnants of nature discourses from the past are being diffused by social actors who Again, this could be true regarding any agent of governance relative to t he children whose drawings comprised my dataset (e.g. their The argument here is not that the bad world is unfitting of attention, but rather it is the underrepresentation of ot her nature discourses stemming from locally cultural knowledge, contextual understanding, and perhaps more benevolent human environment interactions. By benevolent m ean s of

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41 relationship in and to nature (e.g. including optimistic relationships) that the complex nature of this relationship becomes less vague (Figure 4 ) . Figure 4 : Representative Drawing of the Optimistic or It is this optimistic or Good World that I would prefer to see dominant; one that draws from local understandings and knowledge of nature and that sees negative human impacts on non human nature as an opportunity rather than certain failure/death. Rather than resort to defeatism or ram pant pessimism, perhaps we should use our historic failings as motivation to usher in a new era of human nature interactions.

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42 Ambiguity of Position and Operation in Nature The final two points of discussion I wish to give attention to are the ambiguity of human and the lack of education based methods being may mean that the role human society plays in the natural world is somewhat ambiguous to children in Stockholm. This the natural world become more closely intertwin inhabiting the same space and was the most frequently coded positionality measure, it was still present in less than half of the database. What could this mean for future Swedish communities, and more broadly, a n increasingly globalized human community? If new urbanism is one way humans can curb our ecological footprint, is it necessarily feasible if see human society as part of the natural world? The other significant point to call attention to is the total absence of humans enacting methods that the children, as participants in the national curriculum, learn throughout their academic career. Nowhere in the drawings was any human denoted as hiking, collecting samples for scienti fic purposes or engineering (unless we count bulldozing trees as enacting engineering practices). This is again troublesome and implicates a changing local environmental identity as outdoor lifestyles have traditionally been touted as part of a typical Swe dish identity Swedish outdoor lifestyle?

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43 Conclusion Individu als from differing background may not call discourse by its technical name, or understand its pervasiveness in human society, but everyone is socially linked to one another, especially vis à vis climate change and nature. Not only are we linked to one anot her, but to the rocks and roots, to the open air, to the cormorants on the surface, to the living, breathing creatures abound; we cannot hope to know the complexity of this intermingling and Nature is all around, taking endless form, and relatable to all. The point was not to shed negative light on Western conceptions of Nature, although some may argue th at its worthy of scrutiny, but rather to explore how We stern Nature does not encapsulate what Nature is or can come to understand that the experiencing being i (e.g. nature) that Truth ends with the individual (e.g. relativism), but rather that th e Truth cannot be attained by one experience, rather it is reflected by the experiencing being. If we truly aim at sustainable, just relationships with each other and our natural world, we should first aim at honest, critical conversations of our perspecti ves. Only through these dialogues will we find real solutions to Swedish, Italian, and the vast array of forms that life takes place. It is the time now to allow for inclusion and to look inward before out. It is also concerning that there is currently a lack of conversation (at least in some capacity) between students and educators in Stockholm. Exemplified by the overrepresented fish, the lack of local nature, and the absence of traditional Swedish outdoor lifestyles, students may be merely representing ideas of nature that they think we (researchers/educators) want to

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44 see. This is no conversation; rather, it is an example of one outcome of schooling wherein factual knowledge is emphasized (e.g. globalization) and local and experience based knowledge is disallowed. This study draws attention, not only to changing local knowledge and individual perceptions of nature, but also to our relationships and influence on the conception of including local knowledge of local environmental issues; we must avoid monologues like those of Western conception where the local is removed inappropr iately from the global. Finally, I wish to come full circle and end this piece where it began: with perception and governance. In his seminal work, Michel Foucault explored the relationships between individual perception, collective understanding, individ this exploration, he concluded that the collective and the individual mutually (and sometimes in an unbalanced manner) influence the production of knowledge (Foucault, 1997; Foucault et al., 2008). What we no influence the individual (and of course discourses are at one point individual); it is important for our understanding that we do not see the drawings presented in this piece as mere ( n ) ature (as opposed to (N)ature) . As entities with varying levels of autonomy, we can discern ideas or natures therein; dimensions of been) teased out of the cohort under review in this study. As alluded to at various points in this piece, the implications for avoid ing or ignoring concerning and pervasive visions of nature are, as Foucault himself might say, life and death.

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45 R EFERENCES Abram, D. (2012). The spell of the sensuous: Perception and language in a more than human world . Vintage. Alerby, E. (2000). A way o f visualising children's and young people's thoughts about the environment: A study of drawings. Environmental Education Research , 6 (3), 205 222. Amaral, A., Jones, G., & Karseth, B. (Eds.). (2013). Governing higher education: National perspectives on institutional governance (Vol. 2). Springer Science & Business Media. methodologies." Health Education Journal 72 (3): 309 318. Ary, D., & Jacobs, L. C. (2002). Razavieh. 2002. Introduction to research in education , 6 . 442 443. Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Irvine, C. K. S., & Walker, D. (2018). Introduction to research in education . Cengage Learning. Barraza, L. (1999). "Children's drawings about the environmen t." Environmental Education Research 5 (1): 49 66. environmental perception." European Journal of Psychology of Education 17 (1): 19 34. Castree, N. (1995). The nature of produced nature: materiality and knowledge construction in Marxism. Antipode , 27 (1), 12 48. Chawla, L. (2002). Spots of time: Manifold ways of being in nature in childhood. Children and nature: Psychological, sociocultural, and evolutionary inve stigations , 199 225. Cresswell, T. (2012). Geographic thought: a critical introduction . John Wiley & Sons. Crowe, J. L. (2013). "Transforming Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours through Eco Spirituality and Religion." International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education 3 (1): 75 88. Eagles, P. F. and R. Demare (1999). "Factors influencing children's environmental attitudes." The Journal of Environmental Education 30 (4): 33 37. Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Polity Press. Far mer, J., et al. (2007). "An elementary school environmental education field trip: Long term effects on ecological and environmental knowledge and attitude development." The Journal of Environmental Education 38 (3): 33 42. Finson, K. D., Beaver, J. B., & Cr amond, B. L. (1995). Development and field test of a checklist for the Draw A Scientist Test. School Science and Mathematics , 95 (4), 195 205.

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48 Quinn, P. M. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. California EU: Sage Publications Inc . Rasinen, A. (2003). An Analysis of the Technology Education Curriculum of Six Countries. Journal of Technology Education , 15 (1), 31 47. Rose, G. (2007). Researching visual materials: Towards a critical visual methodology. Rose (ed) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. London: SAGE , 1 27. Scriven, M. (1988). Philosophical inquiry methods in education. In R. M. Jaeger (Ed.), C omplementary methods for research in education. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association. Shepardson, D. P., et al. (2005). "Water towers, pump houses, and mountain streams: Students' ideas about watersheds." Journal of Geoscience Educatio n 53 (4): 381 384. Shepardson, D. P., et al. (2007 a ). "Students' mental models of the environment." Journal of Research in science teaching 44 (2): 327 348. Shepardson, D. P., et al. (2007 b ). "What is a watershed? Implications of student conceptions for envi ronmental science education and the national science education standards." Science Education 91 (4): 554 578. Shepardson, D. P., Wee, B., Priddy, M., Schellenberger, L., & Harbor, J. (2009). Water transformation and storage in the mountains and at the coast disconnected conceptions of the hydrologic cycle. International Journal of Science Education , 31 (11), 1447 1471. Skolverket. (2018). Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and school age educare . Stockholm, Sweden. DanagårdLitho 2018 . Sosniak, L. A. (1994). Bloom's taxonomy . L. W. Anderson (Ed.). Chicago, IL: Univ. Chicago Press. Stevenson, R. B. (2007). Schooling and env ironmental education: Contradictions in purpose and practice. Environmental education research , 13 (2), 139 153. Sutherland, S. (2019, April 16). 10 Fundamentals of Religion in Sweden. Retrieved from: https://sweden.se/society/10 fundamentals of religion in sweden/ Taylor, A. F., Kuo, F. E., & Sullivan, W. C. (2002). Views of nature and self discipline: Evidence from inner city children. Journal of environmental psychology , 22 (1 2), 49 63. Ulker, R. (2012). Turkish Children's Drawing of Nature in a Certain Way: Range of Mountains in the Back, the Sun, Couple of Clouds, a River Rising from the Mountains. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice , 12 (4), 3173 3180. W adsworth, B. J. (1996). Piaget's theory of cognitive and affective development: Foundations of constructivism . Longman Publishing.

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49 Wadsworth, B. J. (1996). Piaget's theory of cognitive and affective development: Foundations of constructivism . Longman Publi shing. Wee, B. (2012). "A cross cultural exploration of children's everyday ideas: implications for science teaching and learning." International Journal of Science Education 34 (4): 609 627. Wee, B. S. C. and P. Anthamatten (2014). "Using Photography to Visualize Children's Culture of Play: A Socio Spatial Perspective." Geographical Review 104 (1): 87 100. Wee, B., et al. (2004). "Students' Perceptions of Environmental Based Inquiry Experiences." School Science and Mathematic s 104 (3): 112 118. Wee, B., Harbor, J. M., & Shepardson, D. P. (2006). Multiculturalism in environmental science: A snapshot of Singapore. Multicultural perspectives , 8 (2), 10 17. Wee, B., DePierre, A., Anthamatten, P., & Barbour, J. (2013). Visual methodo logy as a pedagogical research tool in geography education, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 37:2, 164 173, DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2013.775568. Wee, B. (2018) The Nature of Childhood in Childhoodnature. In: Cutter Mackenzie A., Malone K., Barratt H acking E. (eds) Research Handbook on Childhoodnature. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham. Wee, B. S. C., Mason, H., Guevara, C., Eastes, J . (2018). Counter Narratives in Environmental Education. Guest Presentation for the Geography Colloquium at the University of Montana. Weil, S. (195 5 ). The need for roots. Boston: Beacon Press. Wells, N. M., & Evans, G. W. (2003). Nearby nature: A buffer of life stress among rural children. Environment and behavior , 35 (3), 311 330. White, L. (1967). The historical roots of our ecologic crisis. Science , 155 (3767), 1203 1207. Williams, C. C., & Chawla, L. (2016). Environmental identity formation in nonformal environmental education programs. Environmental Education Research , 22 (7), 978 1001. Wordsworth, W. (1971). The Prelude. (J. C. Maxwell, Ed.) New Haven: Yale University Press. (Original work published 1850). Yilmaz, Z., Kubiatko, M., & Topal, H. (2012). Czech Children's Drawing of Nature. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice , 12 (4), 3111 3119.

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50 APPENDIX A Selected Excerpts of Swedish National Curriculum A. Outdoor excursions during the different seasons, as well as the opportunities for nature excursions, in the local environment and elsewhere, for physical activities and nature experience.

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51 Safety and consideration of the environment and other people during excursions to Listed under Games, physical activities, and outdoor excursions section under Core Content physical education and health should aim at pupils developing all round movement capacity and an interest in being physically active and spending time Written under Aim of the discipline ility to spend time in outdoor settings and nature during different seasons of the year, and acquire an understanding of the Written under Aim of the discipline rived from games, Listed under Core Content of the discipline B. should contribute to the development of the opportunity to explore and pose questions on and discuss phenomena and relationships in the world at large. home influence not only the well being of the individual and the family, but Written under introduction to the discipline Pupils can also explain and show patterns between their impact on nature, and draw parallels to the life and ecological relationships of organ isms. In addition, pupils talk about the development of life and show patterns in the adaptation of organisms to different living environments. Pupils can also talk about some

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52 scientific dis Written under Requirements for an A by the end of Grade 6 C. sustainable development. Ecosystem services, such as decom position, pollination, and purification of water and air. Life of animals, plants and other organisms. Photosynthesis, combustion and ecological relationships, and the importance of knowledge with regard to agriculture and fishery. Ecosystems in the local environment, relationships between different organisms and the names of common species. Relationships between organisms and the non living environment. Nature as a resource for recreation and experiences and what responsibilities we have when Listed under Core Content of the discipline Some historical and contemporary discoveries in the area of biology and their D. what this means for sustainable development. Ecosystem services, such as decomposition, pollination, and purification of water and air. Life of animals, plants and other organisms. Photosynthesis, combustion and ecological relationships, and the importa nce of knowledge with regard to agriculture and fishery.

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53 Ecosystems in the local environment, relationships between different organisms and the names of common species. Relationships between organisms and the non living environment. E. Local ecosystems and how they can be studied from an ecological perspective. Relationships between populations and resources available in ecosystems. The local ecosystems in comparison with regional or global ecosystems. Impact of people on nature, locally and globally . Opportunities for consumers and citizens of society to contribute to sustainable development. experiences and exploration of the local environment. In discussions about seasons of the year, pupils talk about changes in nature, and give some examples of the life cycles of some animals and plants. Pupils also talk about some of the parts of the human body about gravity, friction and equilibrium in relation to play and movement. Pupi ls describe the materials used in manufacturing some different objects and how they can be classified. Pupils can talk about light and sound and give examples of the properties of water and air, and connect this to their own observations. In addition, pupi ls can talk about fiction, myths and art dealing with nature and human beings. Field studies to examine the natural and cultural landscapes, such as how land is used in the local environment. F. opportunity to explore and pose questions on and discuss phenomena and relationships

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54 in the world at large. Additionally, education should provide pupils with the opportunity to develop knowledge of how the different choices people make can contribute to in G. ourselves and the surrounding world. Knowledge of biology is of great importance for society in such diverse areas as health, natural resource use and the environment. Knowledge of nature and people provides people with tools to shape their own well ~Written under the introduction to the discipline use knowledge of biology to examine information, communicate and take a view on questions concerning health, natural resource use and ecological sustainability use concepts of biology, its models and theories t o describe and explain biological Listed under the Aim of the discipline Impact of people on nature, locally and globally. Opportunities for consumers and citizens of society to contribute to sustain able development. Common chemicals in the home and in society, such as cleaning products, cosme H. he different materials used to manufacture daily objects and how they can be recycled.

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55 very good knowledge of the structure and properties of matter, and other chemical contexts, and show this by explaining and showing simple relationships be tween them and some general characteristics with good use of the concepts of chemistry. Pupils can also apply well developed reasoning about the structure and properties of air and water, and relate this to the natural processes of photosynthesis and combu stion. In simple and to some extent well informed reasoning about food, fuel, chemicals and other products, pupils can connect these to some chemical relationships and questions about sustainable development. Furthermore, pupils can also talk about some sc Written under requirements for an A by the end of Grade 6 I. round movement capacity and an interest in being physically active and spending time Written under Aim of the discipline and nature during different seasons of the year, and acqu ire an understanding of the Written under Aim of the discipline Listed under Core Content of t he discipline Note: the full database of analyzed text ( includes all excerpts from the Swedish National Curriculum) is available upon request.

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56 APPENDIX B Featured Drawing s A. Global nature example

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57 B. Separation of nature and society example

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58 C. Wilderness example

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59 D. Same space example

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60 E. Local nature example

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61 F. Nature contains Animals example

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62 G. Natural resources management/human impacts example

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63 H. Sustainability in nature/for nature example