The greatest challenge facing the field of environmentalism includes ontological questions over the human subject and its desensitization from landscapes of experience. In this article the authors draw from field experiences in New York City elementary schools (such as observations of teachers, NYS Scope and Sequence Standards for Social Studies, and the Common Core State Standards) to demonstrate how curricular engagements with nature and the environment are persistently caught within humanist traditions that place agency and action as sovereign to humanness. It uses new materialist ontologies to suggest how hybrid relations among humans, nonhumans, and matter can be read by way of interactions among assemblages and entanglements that are alive, vibrant, and powerful. While much of environmentalism is bound to political action with nature as passive backdrops, the authors suggest that individual and everyday responses to ecological devastation may better reside in our capacity to act creatively, even horizontally, within political ecologies that disrupt theories of vertical domination and conquest.
Sonu, Debbie and Snaza, Nathan, "The Fragility of Ecological Pedagogy: Elementary Social Studies Standards and Possibilities of New Materialism" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.