ecological literacy

I was very relieved to see Jody Boehnert’s presentation on ecology and education: she started by observing that  many people outside formal education are literate regarding ecology. this means that formal education about ecology is not sufficient, or it can be, only if it becomes transformative learning, that is, a type of learning that doesn’t stop, or is merely acquired in a classroom, but that transforms the way in which we learn and understand reality. it is an “epistemic learning”.

what we forgot to think about in these intense days of discussion on sustainability is the value of epistemic learning. evoking responsibility, or calling on complexity as a fairly mechanic and easy way to solve our ecological and sustainability problems will achieve nothing if they are not accompanied by a continuous and transformative learning. According to Boehnert we need to meaningful understand any subject and build a picture of the phenomena, not breaking it down into parts In addition, as not every system thinking is ecological, we need to look at our epistemological paradigms:  In the last 200 years we followed a dominant world view. a new ecological paradigm that is attempting to see beyond the dominant discourse is needed.

To read more about “ecological literacy” you can read David Orr, who coined the term,

Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World, S.U.N.Y. Press (1992)

Fritjof Capra, who funded the centre for ecoliteracy in berkeley