In this chapter I report work with critical realist perspective and tools to examine and review prevailing dispositions on indigenous and institutional knowledge (Western science) in environmental learning. I open with a review of some of the macro social processes that have come to inscribe assumptions of incommensur able difference between the two kinds of knowledge. Whilst the previous hegemony of positivism would have resulted in the dismissal of much indigenous knowledge as mere superstition, contemporary intellectual perspectives (poststructural and hermeneutical) have shaped a proliferation of worldview modelling that has resulted in a macro-level exemplifying of indigenous knowledge as different from and opposing Western science (Cobern and Aikenhead, 1998; Aikenhead, 2006). Here, the lack of adequate mediating tools has given rise to a problematic inscription of assumed difference between the knowledge of indigenous peoples and that of scientific institutions. Furthermore, despite an overt emancipatory intention in worldview discourses, the marginalization of indigenous peoples and knowledge remains. I then move into the micro arena with a case study of learning interactions in the South African science curriculum. Specifically, I explore some patterns of exclusion in relation to the manner in which students are able to gain access to the knowledge of scientific institutions. The experience and evidence reported is of a preliminary nature but the insights and emerging models of process provide a useful perspective on how assumed incommensurability of knowledge can be tenuous. The study suggests that a critical engagement with both indigenous knowledge and Western science can reveal integrative synergies. An unexpected outcome of the study was insights into how the coengaged learning process evident here detoured much of the ontological terror and uncertainty that has come to characterize problem-centred approaches to environment and sustainability education. At least two

beneficial social outcomes of a plural and better situated approach are becoming apparent: enhanced epistemological access to the knowledge by the students (those with non-Western backgrounds will be less susceptible to exclusionary processes); and better contextualization of the knowledge, making it more relevant to the students’ daily, real world issues.