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In this decade of Education for Sustainable Development, it is timely to consider the methodological issues associated with researching this topic not only with adults but also with the young children who, as members of the next generation, will experience the success or otherwise of current environmental sustainability efforts. We argue that it is important when making methodological choices to recognize that both the sustainability issues themselves and the way individuals learn about these issues, are socially and culturally constructed. In this article we are interested in ways of gaining representations of individuals' mental constructions of environmental sustainability issues. We recount experiences from two projects, one which used the approach of analyzing children's drawings to gain representations of how children in Mexico understand environmental issues and the other which employed adult participant-directed photography as the principal data collection method conducted mainly in the north of South Africa.