Just three months after gathering in support of geographic education in Canada, a community of educators has received affirmation for its vision and action plan, as delineated in the St. John’s Declaration. The declaration, the product of last summer’s meeting in Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital, has already been endorsed by the Canadian Association of Geographers, Canadian Geographic Education, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Ontario Association of Geographic and Environmental Education. The declaration is listed below:
We affirm that spatially literate citizens are essential to the future of Canada, and in particular:
- the development of a coherent and relevant geographic education is essential to understand and address the issues faced by a rapidly changing world;
- geographic education is built upon the fundamental elements of location, interaction, community, people, place, space and environment;
- there is an urgent need to improve, update and advance geographic education in the context of economic, social and environmental issues facing Canadians, and Canada in a global arena;
- studying the world, its people, communities and cultures with an emphasis on relations of and across space and place are crucial;
- spatial thinking increasingly informs scholarship in the natural sciences, social sciences, health sciences and humanities; it is also closely associated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and
- Canada will remain a leader in science and technological innovation with the development of geography in areas related to geospatial technologies and Earth observation.
We have therefore agreed that we will:
- inspire Canadians to value geography and spatial thinking;
- promote geography as a discipline that integrates the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities;
- provide leadership in geographic education across Canada;
- enhance support for geographic educators; and
- support geographic education research.