GROWING ROOTS: Strengthening Place-Attachment Through a Critical Pedagogy of Place

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Amity Doolittle
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This paper argues the importance of place-based education as a means to encourage stronger relationships to place among young adult learners. Theoretical approaches draw mainly from critical human geography, place-attachment theory, and critical pedagogy. By combining an extensive analysis of existing place-attachment literature with original research about place-based pedagogies currently in use in the Bay Area and New Haven, I discuss the potential for educators to help students create and strengthen attachments to place through hands-on, place-specific learning experiences. Recognizing mainstream environmentalism’s failures to address the sociopolitical realities of climate change, this project calls for a re-prioritization of ‘place’ within environmental discourse and re-imagines environmental education as one way to foster long-term relationships between people and place that are oriented around protection and care.