the article discusses transformations in the contemporary public sphere and the emergence of new types of political action, which are related to the creation of a political and pedagogical environmental field. the political environmental action may be considered as part of the counterculture and the new left movements. therefore, it may be taken as one of the expressions of the crisis of modernity, which is redefining the role of social action in terms of individual, private, public, ethical and aesthetic action. this dilemma exposes the conflicts which constitute modernity and its emancipating project. in the face of this problematic, some analyses emphasise the dissolution and the decline of politics whilst others underline the emergence of a new way of doing politics. finally, the article explores the aftermaths of these social changes in the educational field, especially in environmental education, which is concerned with the construction of an ecological self.