Environmental change, peace and education

The project focuses on the relationship between environmental problems, peace or reconciliation and educational media. It is guided by the environmental peacemaking approach (frequently also termed environmental peacebuilding approach), which claims that shared environmental problems can induce cooperation between rival groups or states. Such environment-related cooperation can, in turn, facilitate processes of trust-building and reconciliation. But in practice, such processes are very demanding and can only be realised under specific circumstances. In addition to factors such as the intensity of the conflict, the role of external actors or the existence of robust institutions and financing schemes, educational media are of crucial importance in this context. They can generate awareness of environmental problems and the viewpoints of the other side, but they might also reproduce enemy images and confrontational logic.

The project is located at the intersection of peace and conflict studies, international relations, political geography and education research. It is based on three research pillars:

Firstly, the project will investigate how positive links between environmental problems and cooperation or reconciliation are depicted in German and international school textbooks.

Secondly, a 13-month stay at the University of Melbourne (funded by the German Research Foundation) was used to conduct a study titled Environmental Peacemaking?. This study used a large number of cases to trace the contexts in which shared environmental problems facilitate reconciliation between rival states.

Thirdly, in the context of a research stay at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the project investigates which problems and obstacles education practitioners face when engaging in environmental peacemaking processes. In this context, the focus is on the perceptions, experiences and strategies of these practitioners.


  • 2016-2018

Project Funding

  • GEI
  • German Research Foundation (DBU)
  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany) / Ministry of Science and Education (Israel)



Tobias Ide

Department Textbooks and Society

Branch Office B1.21
Phone: +49 531 59099-379
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