Cultural codes as catalysts for collective conscientisation in environmental adult education: Mr Floatie, tree squatting and save-our-surfers

Author/s: Pierre Walter

Edition: Volume 52, Number 1, April 2012

Summary: This study examines how cultural codes in environmental adult education can be used to ‘frame’ collective identity, develop counter- hegemonic ideologies, and catalyse ‘educative-activism’ within social movements. Three diverse examples are discussed, spanning environmental movements in urban Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, the redwoods of northern California, and the coral reefs and beaches of Hawai’i, respectively. The first, Mr. Floatie and his fight for sewage treatment, illustrates how art, humour and drama can be employed to mobilise the public, media and government to action. The second, Julia Butterfly Hill and her 738-day squat in a redwood tree, shows how cultural codes embodied in both tree and woman catalysed social action for forest preservation. The third, the grassroots organisation Save Our Surf, demonstrates the effectiveness of education and activism through immediate, multiple and short-term symbolic appeals for help, leading to long-term success in Hawaiian coastal conservation.

Keywords: collective identity, counter-hegemonic ideologies, activism, social movements

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 52_1. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

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