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Duke University

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

Senegal: National Identity and the Arts


The natural environment is in a state of crisis in Dakar, in Senegal, in Africa and throughout the world. Humans are the primary contributors to environmental degradation, as their activities place stress on natural ecosystems, and this stress is often most acute in the urban setting. Dakar is one major West African city where inhabitants are particularly neglectful and disrespectful of their communal environment, illustrated by the oppressive presence of mismanaged waste that pollutes the public streets. Based on the hypothesis that the general population was either unaware or misinformed of the actual state of the environment, I aimed to study the sources of environmental education influential in the environmental conscience and comportment of Dakar’s youth. Instead of finding a concrete flaw in the educational system, I found that the characteristics of a progressive environmental conscience are often suppressed by concepts historically embedded in traditional Senegalese mentality. In order to steer Dakar toward a more ecologically conscious future, youth need to respectfully challenge the traditions prescribed by their sociocultural surroundings by claiming ownership of their city and encouraging their elders to adopt environmentally-sensitive practices.


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Environmental Health and Protection | Natural Resources and Conservation



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