Kakutich Yevgeny Yuryevich1, Pobirchenko Viktoriya Viktorovna2
1Institute of Economics and management (structural unit) of the Federal state Autonomous educational institution of higher education "Crimean Federal University named after V. I. Vernadsky", Republic of Crimea, Simferopol, Cand.Sc. (Economy), PhD, Associate Professor, Department of World Economy
2Institute of Economics and management (structural unit) of the Federal state Autonomous educational institution of higher education "Crimean Federal University named after V. I. Vernadsky", Republic of Crimea, Simferopol, Cand.Sc. (Geography), PhD, Associate Professor, Department of World Economy

This work presents an analysis of the origins of environmental globalization, with the signs of environmental globalization processes being brought out. The factors of environmental globalization are determined. Highlighted is the necessity of humanitarization of education. The problems determining the contradictions of formation of the environmental consciousness and behaviour are outlined in this work and the aspects of influence of humanitarization in education on the development of political, socio-economic and cultural processes in society are considered.

Keywords: Environmental education, environmental globalization, globalization, humanitarization, humanitarization of education

Category: 08.00.00 Economics

Article reference:
Environmental globalization and humanitarization of education // Modern scientific researches and innovations. 2016. № 7 [Electronic journal]. URL: https://web.snauka.ru/en/issues/2016/07/69346

View this article in Russian

By the mid 20th century, global changes had occurred on Planet Earth in all spheres of human existence. Human activity which transforms Nature began to lead to a fatal destruction of the “nature-society” system, also including the subject of this destruction – man. The relationship between man and Nature is non-determined in terms of values and is quite unstable. It rather often is accompanied with a spiritual vacuum which manifests itself in the destructive beginning and indifference resulting in the development of the global environmental crisis on the planet.

It should be noted, while analyzing the origins of environmental globalization, that humanity has for a long time witnessed environmental globalization and participated in it. The cultural and civilizational homogenization of humanity was brilliantly foreseen by K. Jaspers as early as in the first half of the 20th century. He pointed out that the unification of people on the planet is subject to levelling. “The universal becomes superficial, insignificant and indifferent. All aspire to levelling, which creates a unity of people. Races get mixed, cultures get detached from their roots and make for the world of technically equipped economy, for an empty intellectuality. The interest in the extension of space is already beginning to turn into a sense of its narrowness” (Jaspers, K., 1990).

The social processes of transition from the industrial age into the information one are analyzed in one of the works by F. Fukuyama. “Since the second half of the 20th century, crime has been growing rapidly, the traditional family has been breaking and the level of public confidence has been getting reduced. All this causes a progressing individualism which is exacerbated by the development of global information technologies” (Fukuyama, F., 2000).

Most of the globalization researchers are convinced that ethno-cultural diversity will eventually be narrowed down or reduced by way of global homogenization of culture. Homogeneity in the modern globalized world generates the problem of preserving   environmentally the national cultural identity. Civilizational innovations are ousting national cultural traditions. What is happening today thanks to globalization, believes T. Friedman, is the turboevolution in which there is almost no sense. Even the most resistant cultures are unable to resist it. The levelling of cultures causes the loss of value orientations (Friedman, T., 2002).

Most of the research works studying the environmental globalization process came out during the last three decades. This is due to the fact that the main factor in the development of the information society is the production and use of scientific-technical and environmental information. This is emphasised by D. Bell who argues that information and theoretical knowledge are the strategic resources of post-industrial society (Bell, D., 1986). The information revolution, in its turn, generates a new round of the modern stage of environmental globalization.

In the studies of the development of environmental globalization processes, both positive and negative features of such processes can be identified. The most common positive features include, in particular, the creation of a unified environmental network in Europe, broad access to environmental information and a rapid increase in the level of environmental culture, as well as in society’s environmental interest. The negative features are considered to be a reduced dependence of flows of pollutants on the control by national governments, the creation of the so-called “Planet’s landfills” in countries with weak economies, the reduction of the universal value of the national environmental culture and the gradual loss by such culture of its ethnic specifics.

Attention should also be paid to different possible aspects of interpretation of the global environmental intensification. In accordance with an optimistic approach, attractive seem to be the socio-environmental and technological prospects offered by globalization: in the future – one researched biosphere, one global environmental culture, one society governed by global institutions. A pessimistic concept may include the views which see in the creation of such monoworld the implementation of the environmental apocalypse programme, the emergence of a global dictatorship, the levelling of national and cultural natural features and the inevitable clash of civilizations. A realistic group includes the views recognising the ambiguous and contradictory nature of environmental globalization and therefore not making any predictions of its consequences.

Since there is no way to “ban” or “stop” environmental globalization, it is necessary to find a constructive solution to situation management problems which could help significantly alter the life context of human existence. The intensive development of the environment by humans led to the loss of one of the basic world view dichotomies – the nature-culture dichotomy. Today, Nature increasingly becomes one of the elements of culture, so to maintain its existence sustained efforts are required on the part of the latter. The inclusion of Nature as a benefit into the social exchange process blurs the natural limits of man as a subject. There appears a threat of disappearance of civilization’s basic values. All this necessitates the establishment and implementation of the principles of humanitarization of the living environment.

The technological revolution undoubtedly weakens the national and unique natural quality, standardising forces and technologies. However, confrontation is not the way out. The fact is that the achievements of anthropogenic civilization now make it possible for even a small, weak but unique natural system to avail itself of new technologies to preserve its originality, environmental culture and identity, with the achievements of world science and technology being only a means which should serve to achieve the highest goal. Thus, the issue of preservation of natural traditions in the anthropogenic world conditions is evolving today into the deeper problem of finding an optimal balance between the preservation of natural identity and doing what is necessary for survival within the global system. A society which wants to thrive economically today, preserving the environment, must constantly produce ever more sophisticated methods of coordination of these two phenomena. But we should not nourish an illusion that a mere participation in the global economy and the unified environmental network will make society healthy and successful.

While outlining the problems caused by the development of environmental globalization processes, one cannot help dwelling on the factors which “trigger” and determine the course of environmental globalization   processes. Undoubtedly, we can speak here about a range of issues associated with the development of technologies. Science and technology do not any more meet the achievements of control over the environment in which man lives, but  manipulate it to a large extent. Scientific ideas and technologies ceasing to be an indirect link and becoming an end in itself becomes an essential feature of the global age. The process is under way of alienation of science and technology from humans, and the consequences of this process are difficult to predict.

The rapid development of the information revolution is ahead of man’s evolutionarily formed adaptive capabilities. As at today,   difficulties are apparent in reconciling the person’s psycho-physiological properties with the requirements of modern technology. A new kind of reality – the “virtual” one, an artificial pseudo-environment – comes, along with informatization, to replace the natural reality in the world. This new technological environment makes a powerful and as yet unpredictable impact on the human soul’s ecology. Today, unfavourable prospects are, in particular, evident in the phenomenon of total immersion in the “virtual reality” where the goal is precisely a seemingly aimless play.

Analyzing the spiritual situation in the 21st century from the environmental point of view, we can conclude that a modern human is constantly accompanied with a previously unknown terrible fear of life, of possible natural cataclysms (Jaspers, K., 1990). The person’s loneliness and confusion in this world lead to the fact that these fears are amplified by the inevitability of disappearing in the infinite space.

Social and environmental problems at the world global level continue to be largely new and ambiguous in human mind. Everyday life guidelines and stereotypes of social consciousness sometimes form the negative attitude of the population to real actions aimed at improving the environmental situation. Ecology has become today an integral multidisciplinary branch which not only considers the laws of existence of living beings, but is also involved in a global social and natural analysis of the being in general, while the environmental knowledge determines the person’s attitude to the environment in the globalization context. The environmental component becomes a more fundamental criterion of the effectiveness of social development, pushing the economic paradigm into the background. Therefore, the environmental knowledge acquires today not only the theoretical value. So, a gradual implementation in everyday practice is necessary at the level of the conscious way of living.

Environmental globalization implies changing behaviour and values, as well as recognizing Nature to be the supreme value. Satisfying their needs, humans must limit them to some extent in accordance with the laws of Nature. The modern biosphere requires urgent system regulation, whereas human activity, being a powerful environmental lever, requires a comprehensive anthropological analysis.

The environmental globalization process should be based on the principles of organization consistency. The environmental paradigm today typically means taking care of Nature or the elimination of the problems already created by man in the biosphere, and this is what they say in the media. But environmental globalization requires a slightly different understanding of ecology.

The biosphere is a complex self-regulating synergetic system. Social medium, with all its branched highly complex economy, exists within this system as one of its subordinate elements. At the same time, social stereotypes position a seeming independence of man from the environment. Impartial scientific studies show the opposite: man as one of the species that inhabit the Earth cannot violate the objectively existing laws and restrictions with no disastrous consequences for himself.

Now it is hardly possible to talk seriously about some fundamentally new, optimistically oriented worldview environmental globalization vector. We should not forget that the environmental crisis has been caused not by science as it is, but by human activity governed by the global anthropogenic civilization’s system of values. Therefore, topical is the reconsideration and sometimes radical replacement of the existing values.

The humanity should find answers to these questions and assume the responsibility taking the road of humanitarization of education. Otherwise, the global progress of science and technology will have to take a position of its own which, obviously, will be reduced to the usual pressure of progressive scientific knowledge on society (Pobirchenko, V., Shutayeva, E., 2010). In its turn, environmental education today is the determining factor of humanitarization of education.

The future of human civilization in the conditions of environmental globalization depends on what goals man pursues and what values guide his activities in the natural and social world. In its turn, the formation of the individual’s goals and values depends on the strategy of survival of the humanity, the particular choice of direction of the global development which takes place in the context of contradictions between the infinite possibilities of technological achievements and the limitedness of land resources, social progress and moral degradation. Human behaviour in the biosphere is assessed, as a rule, through the prism of human instrumental reason which operates the categories of use, benefit and rationality and becomes less and less responsive to the ethic foundations of life, as well as to what might be called spirit ecology.

In modern studies of the humanitarization of education, educational system is seen as an institution which not only is passively undergoing the effects of globalization, but also can itself cause its future direction. Which is why the humanitarization of education becomes an ever more important lever of influence on environmental globalization processes.

Grouped around education, especially higher education, are many key issues of environmental globalization: the internationalisation of natural resources; transnational biosphere pollution; providing of international quality of biotechnologies; regional and inter-regional cooperation in order to overcome environmental crises; information and communication environmental monitoring technologies, etc.

Also, problems of formation of environmental consciousness may occur during the educational process. For example, in cases where the knowledge of environmental issues is fragmentary and undifferentiated and the audience are not quite familiar with the environmental problems of their area and country, as compared with global problems. In this case, a considerable part of the audience would feel themselves as having nothing to do with the solving of environmental problems, while those who are aware of their personal involvement in environmental problems see them in the necessity to observe the elementary rules of behaviour in the biosphere and are not aware of the environmental value of their prospective professional activities associated with the indirect use of natural resources.

The reasons determining the contradictions of formation of environmental consciousness and behaviour lie in the contents of the existing environmental education and training, the limited time allotted to environmental subjects and sometimes their complete absence in the curriculum. All this does not favour the awareness of personal involvement in environmental problems and the responsibility for the condition of the environment and does not provide the information necessary to show practical behaviour in the area of direct influence and responsibility. In many countries today, the environmental knowledge, by its parameters of volume, balance and topicality of problems range, satisfies just the need for a general education level awareness rather than the requirement of compliance with environmental laws and regulations in professional and daily activities.

It should be noted that the educational system itself is able to affect environmental globalization, forming the line of the future environmental culture and environmental behaviour within the region, the state and the world in general. Education, in all the breadth and ambiguity of this concept, has always been and remains the driving force of all social changes in modern times. Moreover, it has always been of anticipatory nature, being a precursor of the evolution of society. Therefore, to understand the specifics of reciprocal influence of environmental globalization processes and the humanitarization of education, we need to consider the specifics of global processes within the framework of a new modification of management, reformation and restructuring of educational system in terms of new requirements.

On the basis of analytical studies of humanitarization in education, main aspects can be highlighted of its influence on the development of political, socio-economic and cultural processes in society. In particular, according to most researchers, the ecopolitical aspect of globalization is characterized primarily by an increase in the numbers of political leaders and the blurring of sovereignty of national natural objects which results in a decrease in the government influence on the environment. Socio-ecological globalization shows high rates of development in comparison with other areas of international relations. The environmental measuring of social processes is often used as a key engine of globalization. Socio-ecological globalization is manifested in increased flows of natural resources, environmentally friendly products, biotechnologies, growth of natural disasters in the world and transnational waste disposal. The national ecological system becomes less manageable from within, while the processes which occur in it are determined by the so-called environmental globalization centres.

The political and socio-ecological forms of globalization are closely related to the flow of cultural links and environmental behaviour information. The globalization of environmental and socio-political activity is accompanied with waves of environmental transformation in the cultural field, a process called ethnocultural globalization, or the convergence of the global environmental culture. In addition, cultural globalization crosses out the identification of the national state with national natural environment, causing a clash between different transcultural forms of nature management, and the idea of responsibility to Nature. The threat of unification, loss of the national environmental culture and uniqueness generates a surge of ethnic activity and awakens the instinct to preserve national natural resources.

Until not long ago, the environmental globalization phenomenon manifested itself mainly on the socio-economic side of the problem, such as the transnational transfer of pollution, waste recovery and expansion of markets for environmentally defective products.

But now, some new trends are identified in understanding the nature of this phenomenon, in particular, homogenization of the biosphere space, life on the basis of common environmental principles, observance of common environmental ethics standards; growing interdependence of natural environment objects,  development of a single all-European environmental network; interpenetration, interdependence of processes and structures within the biosphere resulting in the formation of new environmental values.

Thus, environmental globalization is a multidimensional process where both homogenization and heterogenization of ethno-cultural spaces (both the destruction and stabilization) occur simultaneously. However, now the dominance of the first or the second increasingly depends on the humanity’s awareness of environmental  humanistic values. This requires an intensive humanitarization of education, preparation of the younger generation for the life in the “global home”, preservation of its national natural identity, combining of traditional environmental culture with the “trendy” one. In this case, the humanitarization of education should be aimed at the turn to an integral world, above all, to the world of culture, the world of man, to the humanization of knowledge and the formation of a humanitarian perception of the world based on the moral responsibility of the individual to other people, society and Nature. Due to the strengthening of positions of environmental education, there arise the tasks of designing a new educational environment as a multidimensional space adequate to modern human needs and trends of development of modern culture, economy, production and technologies in harmony with the natural environment.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the problem of humanitarization of education in the world is social by its nature and should be solved by joint efforts of all actors. Substantial results can only be achieved in case of such a comprehensive approach.

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