Mindfulness as self-confirmation? An exploratory intervention study on potentials and limitations of mindfulness-based interventions in the context of environmental and sustainability education

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Over the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has received increasing attention in academia and various fields of practice. More recently, it has also been introduced into environmental and sustainability education (ESE) settings. This study offers a first exploratory investigation of learner experiences with consumption-specific mindfulness training. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 training participants. Data analysis was undertaken applying a pluralistic qualitative methods approach. Our results draw an ambivalent picture. On the one hand, we found that mindfulness training can connect individuals with inner states and processes that are also relevant to their consumer behavior, thus providing valuable impulses for ESE. On the other hand, however, these generic learning outcomes do not easily translate to consumptive acts. One explanation for this is that mindfulness practice can sometimes serve as a self-confirmation process that reinforces prevailing values, expectations, and intentions. This indicates important challenges mindfulness practice poses in ESE.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Education
Number of pages29
ISSN0095-8964
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021