Published on 6 January 2010
Translations available in: Español (original) . français .

An Educational-innovation Experience in Chile Incorporating the Andean People’s Socioenvironmental Knowledge

Associated Central Topics: Education and responsibility . Environment and responsibility .
Associated General Topics: Indigenous peoples . Education . Environment .

We are here, we are still


The growing “environmental crisis,” which is a subset of the whole current civilization crisis and is irrevocably interacting with it, can be more descriptively called a “socioenvironmental crisis” in that it has to do essentially with the clash, tension, and inadequacy of human societies in their relations with the rest of the environment, nature, or the cosmos, and that it is also a subset of the many different tensions and clashes among human societies themselves.

Simultaneously, and this is of the greatest importance, these problematic facts are also generating possibilities (sometimes even imposing them) for the emergence of new ways of thinking and doing, whether politically, socially, or culturally. Social actors of all kinds are promoting practices and thinking based on re-created forms of social knowledge and practices, thus enhancing those that have already been accumulated globally, regionally, and locally, in which general consensuses coexist with differences and specificities.

Part of these re-creations are constituted through processes aimed at reconstructing memory, knowledge, and ways of thinking and of knowing characteristic of each specific time and space and of their particular historical evolution. One of these re-creations is that of the Andean communities’ ancestral and permanent socioenvironmental knowledge and practices. These reconstructed practices and knowledge have been collected as input for a new subject in school curricula, aiming to contribute to the education of the pupils of three schools in Santiago de Chile characterized by a high percentage of children of Andean immigrants, in such a way as to reflect South American regional integration and provide cultural and socioenvironmental relevancy.

The South American Andean people’s culture, in that it is opposed to the modern Western logic and rationality that underlies the crisis, constitutes ancestral and permanent knowledge that, although denied and silenced, contains valuable input to respond to this dilemma and appears as an alternative source for the education of new citizens through the formal education system, one of the goals of this project for a new curriculum subject.

The importance of the environmental knowledge and practices of Andean cultures and communities, in the larger set of native peoples, is growing and can no longer be easily underestimated. Humankind is becoming aware of the crucial and objective fact that the planet’s largest biodiversity reserves have been conserved by these “barbarian” and “uncivilized” peoples, despite and against the “civilized” scientific progress of the modern West, which would have most certainly destroyed them if it had been able to. Additionally, while these native people managed, with their resistance, to conserve this vital treasure of hope for all humankind, at the same time the civilized, modern West created atomic, chemical, and bacteriological horrors that can completely destroy human life.

Presented at the sixth Latin American environmental-education congres, “VI Congreso Iberoamericano de Educación Ambiental,” San Clemente del Tuyú, and at the days for Latin American environmental thinking on health, education, and cross-cultural issues: “Jornadas de Pensamiento Ambiental Latinoamericano, Salud, Educación e Interculturalidad,” National University of Rosario Medical School, September 2009, Argentina, by Ricardo Jiménez A., Chilean sociologist (for the University of Chile). Jiménez is coordinator of the South American Integration of the South Cone Citizens’ Assembly, and member of the Charter of Human Responsibilities network, of Grito de los Excluidos, and of the World Migrants’ Charter project. He is also member of the Chile Pro CONFINT Brazil 2010 Committee and coordinates the project for a new subject, the history of South American integration, in schools in Santiago de Chile. He has held academic, educational, research, intervention, and publication positions.

ricardojimenez06 FaL yahoo.es

Keywords: socioenvironmental, decolonization, Andean, knowledge, reciprocity, agroastrology.

The complete article is only available in Spanish. The article includes:
Table of contents

- Abstract
- Stating the obvious
- The initiative
- Contribution of Andean socioenvironmental knowledge and practices
- The epistemological difficulty
- Names, space, time
- Essential principles
- The materiality of life
- Relevance


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