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Abstract

Environmental education (EE) promises to facilitate the transformation of attitudes and behavior on a broad scale. Yet the field has not fulfilled its potential. This article takes an auto-ethnographical approach in considering the reluctance of environmental educators to discuss environmental problems. How is the discipline weakened by equating critical thinking and ecologically motivated despair with a negative attitude rather than honestly acknowledging the grief and promoting resiliency and empowerment instead? Through the lens of a professional waitress, this article argues that the service industry offers a privileged though overlooked venue for EE. Rather than framing EE as an isolated event in the faraway, vaulted wilderness, practitioners should take advantage of non-formal, frequent opportunities to re-contextualize nature as part of the experience of everyday life.

 

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