Education as a Driver of Extinction of Experience or Conservation of Biocultural Heritage

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The concept of extinction of experience has increasingly garnered attention in environmental education literature. “Extinction of experience” (EoE) is a neologism articulated by nature writer and lepidopterist Robert Michael Pyle to capture the somewhat intangible loss that occurs when biodiversity is removed from key experiences in our daily lifeworld, and it refers to the cultural and experiential loss that ultimately occurs following the abstention of nature experience. In this paper, I introduce Pyle’s landmark concept and propose that it has significant implications as an additional indirect driver within formal education. With the increasing loss of local species, the rapid extinction crises, and the impacts of climate change shifting ecological systems, there is significant loss and disruption of ecological communities. I argue that EoE is an indirect driver of biodiversity losses. Within formal school settings, knowledge of biodiversity losses and knowledge to co-exist with biodiversity in sustainable ways are not adequately addressed. Therefore, formal education contributes to losses of local ecological knowledge and nature experiences and undermining biocultural heritage. To reverse this trend, it is necessary to identify key mechanisms within formal education that can serve as drivers to protect, promote, and engage biocultural heritage. This approach can also be applied to consider ways to remediate processes that would otherwise drive EoE within dominate practices in our society for biocultural conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationField Environmental Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationEducation for Biocultural Conservation
EditorsRicardo Rozzi, Alejandra Tauro, Noa Avriel-Avni, T. Wright , Roy H. May Jr.
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-23368-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-23367-8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2023


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