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The role of eco-villages in community-based environmental education: a comparative study of communities in Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom

Pathiraja, Sajini Madhavi (2007) The role of eco-villages in community-based environmental education: a comparative study of communities in Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis explores the role of eco-villages in community-based environmental education and presents a comparative study of eco-communities in Sri Lanka and the UK. In Sri Lanka, the focus is upon the village of Damniyamgama, and in the UK the focus is upon Findhorn village in Scotland. Community-based environmental education is in its infancy, yet is gradually becoming recognised as a crucial process given the rapidly deteriorating 'environmental health' of planet Earth. This thesis sets the context by outlining some of the major environmental problems the world faces. It then addresses the development of environmental education, theoretical perspectives relevant to the emerging field of community-based environmental education, the role of NGOs and the concept of an eco-village. The empirical dimension is presented as research-based case studies of the two contrasting eco-villages. Visits were made to both sites and in-depth interviews were conducted. Data from these interviews were combined with information derived from informal discussions, observations and secondary sources to enable analysis to be undertaken. Through this combination of literature review and empirical research, the thesis examines how successfully concepts and practices of sustainable development are incorporated within Damniyamgama and Findhorn eco-villages; how educational activities are conducted in both locations and the role that the villages play in changing attitudes and practices. Comparisons are made between the case study villages and transferable outcomes are identified. Finally the thesis identifies areas that would benefit from further development in the eco-villages studied. It is concluded that a successful eco-village is a socially harmonious, economically viable and ecologically sustainable settlement that enables human beings to live co operatively with each other and with the natural environment. Eco-villages can be splendid settings for community-based environmental education, which changes personal attitudes and behaviours relating to the environment. This thesis makes an original contribution to the literature of environmental education. Little has been published on the emerging process of community-based environmental education; even less on the educational role of eco-villages. It is believed that no previous empirical study has focused on a comparison of community-based environmental education or indeed a comparison of eco-communities in Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:32

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