This is the text of a guest blog that I have contributed to NAAEE's eePRO website in advance of a GEEP steering committee next week. You can read it on line here, where you will find links to the wider eePRO content.
Between them, North America’s NAAEE and the UK’s NAEE have been in existence for over 100 years, and so it’s good (not before time, some would say) that we have finally managed to organise a joint meeting. I know that this is only for 2 hours at the end of a long day, and it’s officially a ‘reception’, but it’s the thought that matters. Another view is that a first meeting over a glass of something chilled and a few canapés is a sure way to start an association that might blossom.
This first meeting is possible because the international steering committee of the Global Environmental Education Partnership [GEEP] is meeting in Bristol in the west of England, which is a better place than many when you’re drawing people from Botswana, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Taiwan, the UAE, the UK and the USA. And the city of Bristol is more appropriate than most UK cities because of its cultural, industrial and natural heritage, and because of its long-standing links with North America. These are numerous, ranging from the momentous voyage of John Cabot’s ship, The Matthew, from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497, to the less than glorious association of the city with the slave trade from 1698 to 1807, when great fortunes were made and much misery was assured.
On a much happier note, what makes Bristol really appropriate for a UK meeting of GEEP, and the coming together of NAAEE and NAEE, is that the city was the 2015 European Green Capital. This was something that galvanised huge amounts of activity across the whole life of the city, from the community, business, schools, universities and government. A legacy of this is the Bristol Green Capital Partnership whose aim is to make Bristol “a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all”. Those attending the reception next Tuesday will come from groups in and around the city with an interest in environmental / sustainability education, which was something that was an important aspect of all that Green Capital creative endeavour and activity.
Everyone here is looking forward to it, and to hearing all about GEEP, and I’ll be blogging again after the event. Meanwhile, if you’re curious about what NAEE gets up to ‘over there’, do have a look at our website: www.naee.org.uk where you’ll find, amongst interesting things about EE in the UK, back copies of our unique practitioner journal, Environmental Education. The latest edition of this, with its focus on a changing climate, will be launched at the reception.