The Philippine Congress has finally declared climate emergency in the country on November 25, 2020. While long overdue, the declaration has nonetheless sparked anew the need for environmental awareness and education. Two weeks after the declaration, high school debaters from various academic institutions gathered for the 4th Ateneo Eco Debate (AED), the sole national debate tournament on local and global environmental issues in 2020. The urgency of the situation and the timeliness of the competition beg the re-examination of K-12 courses’ environmental education in terms of its curriculum and pedagogy and explore how parliamentary debating can aid in nurturing critical environmental citizenship among senior high school learners in the Philippines. Affirming that the problem of climate crisis is also a problem of pedagogy (Kahn, 2014), this paper is designed as an action research consisting of a descriptive review and analysis of the Department of Education’s curricular documents as well as a critical discourse analysis of the AED tournament. Framed using the critical lens of Eco-Pedagogy, this paper found that (1) environmental education in the country is focused on technical literacy but severely lacks key messages pertaining to eco-cultural and critical intersectional literacy; and (2) parliamentary debating is a valuable yet underutilized pedagogical tool to bridge this gap.
Barry Anthony Parrenas, Liceo del Verbo Divino, Philippines