masters: everything is political


Notions of politics and power were the pervasive discourses of environment and environmental education in my Master's program at York University. Immersed in a culture overshadowed by critical pedagogy and a 72-day teaching assistant and sessional faculty strike, I found myself quickly sucked into a particular kind of environmental education that was dominated by social activism and an understanding of the environment as just about anything and everything.


Readings and class discussions certainly opened my eyes to important oppressions I had previously not considered, but in the deep concern for the human Other, anthropocentrism was pervasive. In the face of the strong focus on social justice issues in relation to the environment, my cravings to go to "the Land" for peace and learning seemed like a classist, put my head-in-the-sand, desire. In retrospect, I can now describe that time like an immersion in a wave of anthropocentric environmentalism.


Ten years earlier, the presence of such professors as John Livingston and Neil Evernden created a very different flavour at York.