Piyachai Nakon is a progressive researcher. E-mail: piyachai.nako@cmu.ac.th


Mobilizing for Ecological Sustainability through School-Community Partnerships: A Case of Local-led Organization in the Northern Provinces of Thailand

Abstract: The province of Chiang Mai is severely affected by air pollution every year. Yet, the actions taken by the government to solve the problem seemingly focus on addressing mere circumstances, not the root causes. A civil society movement has emerged to propose that the PM2.5 crisis should be solved urgently. The Council of Breath (Sa Pa Lom Hai Jai), a civil society actor in Chiang Mai, intended to materialize possible solutions to air pollution and develop an eco-justice praxis in Chiang Mai and other northern provinces. This research aims to study the processes and steps taken by the Council of Breath regarding its push for environmentally oriented issues, shifting from a human-centric to an eco-centric nature-culture approach, to create healthy and environmentally friendly ecosystems. The researcher investigated local actors from the Council of Breath by using in-depth interviews and observation of their practical activities and everyday practices. In addition, relevant published documents were analyzed and juxtaposed with the processes used by local actors, indicating mutual collaborations to tackle PM2.5 impacts. The results of this study indicate that the Council implemented policies and practices aimed at managing air pollution and creating green environments. This was achieved by establishing partnerships with regional public schools and universities, through training and raising critical awareness toward social and environmental justice amongst children, young people, and adults. This case shows how a pedagogical approach derived from eco-justice education was undertaken as the foundation for a civic and educational movement towards ecological sustainability and development.
Keywords: ecological subjectivity, eco-justice education, local-led organization, social movements, air pollution, Thailand