History of EEASA
Past EEASA Presidents
Eureta Janse van Rensburg
Sibongile (Lynette) Masuku van Damme
The history of EEASA is aptly captured in “EEASA in a changing world: An historical review at 25 years” compiled by Pat Irwin, 2007. It is an intricate labour of individuals, institutions and organisations who volunteered time, resources and intellectual capacity to introduce, develop and implement processes that raised the profile of environmental education on to education for sustainable development.
In southern Africa environmental education as a concept has from the start been seen to be constituted by social, political and economic as well as biophysical considerations. One consequence of this is that it has never been viewed as only about nature and the natural environment, but in a holistic way. For this EEASA must take some of the credit as, from its founding, it has consciously propagated this viewpoint. (Irwin 2007)
The first firm steps were taken on 3rd April 1982 at what has become known as the Treverton Conference – a national conference on environmental education convened by Treverton College, a private school in the Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) Midlands in South Africa. A small group of individuals, acting for various reasons decided to form an ‘Association’ and formed a working group to get it off the ground and draw up a constitution. In the 90s a second step was taken to firm the regionalising of EEASA.
The history would be incomplete if it did not recognise many other environmentally oriented government departments and NGOs that have performed equally valuable tasks and functions. Many have also, sometimes in collaboration with EEASA, played a pioneering role in the development and practice of environmental education in southern Africa. Examples are the Kalahari Conservation Society (Botswana), the Botswana Environmental Education Network, The Namibian Environmental Education Network (NEEN), the Wilderness Leadership School, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) the Mlilwane Trust in Swaziland, WWF Zambia, Zambian National Environmental Education Network (ZANEEN), the Zimbabwe Wildlife Society and the Endangered Wildlife Trust to name but a few.
EEASA has by virtue of a significant proportion of its membership had a close working relationship with a number of tertiary institutions. The most active and durable among these have been with Rhodes University, the University of Stellenbosch, the University of South Africa, University of Botswana, University of Lesotho, University of Namibia, University of Swaziland, University of Zambia and University of Zimbabwe amongst many.
For more information read “EEASA in a changing world: An historical review at 25 years”