Table of Contents
ISRN Education
Volume 2012, Article ID 419782, 5 pages
Research Article

Ecosystems, Pollution, and Use of Resources in Textbooks of 14 Countries: An Ecocentric Emphasis

1High School of Education, Communication and Sport, Polytechnic Institute of Guarda, Guarda, Portugal
2CIEC, Institute of Education, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

Received 8 December 2011; Accepted 2 January 2012

Academic Editors: F. Jimenez and B. J. Walton Moss

Copyright © 2012 Rosa Branca Tracana and Graça S. Carvalho. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Two views of Human-Nature relation can be found: anthropocentrism and ecocentrism. In order to understand how school textbooks refer to the human’s position in nature we analysed how “Human as guest versus Humans as owners of nature” is present in the three topics of environmental education—Ecosystems, Pollution, and Use of Resource—in textbooks of 14 countries from Europe, Africa, and Middle East. A specific grid of analysis, which was constructed in the context of the European Project BIOHEAD-CITIZEN, was used in this study. Results show that this axis of analysis is present in the majority of textbooks addressing the above three topics but not in the “Biodiversity” topic. Textbooks for 12–15-year old pupils were the ones having more occurrences than those for 6–11- or 16–18-year olds. The textbooks present mainly an ecocentric position, whereas the aesthetic, ethical, and cultural aspects are limited and inadequate, limiting the full perspective of education for sustainable development.