ECOJUSTICE THEORY & PEDAGOGY Kurt Love, Ph.D. Central Connecticut State University
You & NatureWhat is your relationship with nature?
You darkness from which I come,I love you more than all the ﬁresthat fence out the world,for the ﬁre makes a circlefor everyoneso no one sees you anymore.But darkness holds it all:the shape and the ﬂame,the animal and myself,how it holds them,all powers, all sight—and it is possible: its great strength isbreaking into my body.I have faith in the night.-Rainer Maria Rilke(translated by David Whyte in Fire in theEarth)
“Now he seeks to become nobody for a while, to disappear into the woods so that the person he really is might ﬁnd him.” (Plotkin, 2003, p. 244)
Roots & Lenses of Ecojustice PedagogyEcofeminism - a feminist theory that describes therelationship between nature and women; includes ananalysis of the added burden that women face,especially in third-world nations, when environment iscompromised.Indigenous Education - rooted in Native Americancultures and philosophies; includes a focus on humansas part of nature living with reciprocity.Eco-spirituality - earth-based spirituality
Ecojustice TheoryThe roots of our domination over each other come fromthe same root of domination we feel over the earth.When biodiversity is threatened so is cultural diversityDominant elites exploit the earth and subordinated peoplesfor their own beneﬁt.Social justice, critical social theories, and multiculturalismare often anthropocentric
Summary Points of Ecojustice Theory1. Eliminating eco-racism2. Revitalizing the commons to create a balance between market and non-market aspects of community life3. Ending the industrialized nations’ exploitation and cultural colonization of third-world nations4. Ensure that the hubris and ideology of Western industrial culture does not diminish future generations’ ways of living and quality of life5. Support an “Earth Democracy”--the right of nature to ﬂourish rather than be contingent upon the demands of humans From ecojusticeeducation.org
Ecojustice Teaching PracticeStudents will be more able to: Identify sustainable social and ecological relationships Connect with intergenerational knowledges Describe how culture connects with our relationship to nature
Ecojustice Teaching PracticeStudents will be more able to: Decrease the inﬂuence of the media and consumerism Be more culturally inclusive and have a greater awareness of interconnectedness, nurturance, and reciprocity
“Thick Description”Superﬁcial Mainstream Message These two might set up a binary Null Message Relationships These two generally show a complexity Tensions not binary “packaged” info Deep
In the very earliest time, when both people and animals lived on earth,a person could become an animal as he wanted to and an animal could become a human being. Sometimes they were people and sometimes they were animals and there was no diﬀerence. All spoke the same language. That was the time when words were like magic. The human mind had mysterious powers. A word spoken by chance might have strange consequences. It would suddenly come aliveand what people wanted to happen could happen— all you had to do was say it. Nobody can explain this: That’s the way it was. -Nalungiaq (Inuit)
Your Ecological IdentityWho are you?What is your history?To what extent are youdeﬁned more bytechnology or bynature?
Messages From Water From What the Bleep Do We Know?
Washington D.C. Meditation Experiment From What the Bleep Do We Know?
Hula“Hula is an important part of our Hawaiian culture. It leads us to who we are as people today.”
Aloha & Haole Aloha “Together, we breathe the sacred breath”A consciousness that we are inescapably interwoven witheach other and the earth.What we do to each other and the earth, we do to ourselves.
Aloha & Haole Haole “One who is without sacred breath”A consciousness that does not include an awareness that we areinescapably interwoven with each other and the earth.A consciousness only of self and an ignorance of one’s energetic andspiritual impact. Often comes with little or no understanding ofspirituality or the purpose of one’s soul (soul loss).
Footpath = Your View of Reality?Home Building Nature? Sidewalk Sidewalk Driveway Parking Lot Vehicle
Soul“The individual humansoul is one element of thefabric of nature. You arenot in any way separatefrom nature. The wildworld reﬂects youressence back to you justlike a still lake reﬂectsyour image.” (Plotkin,2003, p. 216) Nature & Soul
Soul“The earth provides uswith not only the meansto be physically born intothis world but also thespiritual means torecognize our deeperidentities.” (Plotkin,2003, p. 239) Nature & Soul
People of the EarthA deeper sense of selfAn awareness of howone connects to theplace where one isConnecting one’srelationships with localmythologiesBeing aware of one’senergetic self
People of the EarthTap into spirituality ofnatureListen to the earth, hearits ways ofcommunicating with usDevelop one’s soulthrough communicationwith nature
Shift Away From Valuing NatureJoseph Campbellstated that we cansee the movementsof a society basedon the highestbuildings in an area.
Shift Away FromValuing Nature Gods and Gods and God (no Goddesses Goddesses Goddess) & communicate communicate salvation are through the through the found onlyactions of nature actions of nature through Jesus. in the forests and in growth/ The Devil resides harvest of crops in nature.
Shift Away FromValuing Nature Transcontinental corporations heavilyinﬂuence governments and national policies Government provides through trade agreements creating the policies of morality greatest negative impact on the global aimed solely at rights of environment humans
When a Science Mindset Takes Over... We replaced drum beating, gunﬁring, gardening and farming people with ecologists, naturalists, and tourists, under strict control to ensure that they did not disturb the animals or the vegetation...Within a few decades miles of riverbank in both valleys were devoid of reeds, ﬁg thickets and most other vegetation. [T]he change in human behavior changed the behavior of the animals that had naturally feared them, which in turn led to the damage to soils and vegetation. (Savory, 1999, pp. 20-21)
Technology = EcologyWhat happens to peoplewhen technologyreplaces ecology as themain viewpoint of“reality”?Do we see buildings as“progress” and areas ofnature as “empty lots?”
Ecological IdentitiesWhat connections can you see in your content area?To what extent can your content area shift students’consciousness about their ecological identities?
Eco-racismEco-racism - the relationship between poor environmentalconditions and peoples of color and lower socioeconomicclasses disproportionately living in those conditions.Peoples of third-world nationsEnvironmental conditions of poor neighborhoods in cities(Kozol, 1991, 2005)
A Brief History of Peoples (Part 1)Earth-Based Cultures Industrial Culture First Nations GenocideIndigenous Africans Colonization Enslavement Assimilation AboriginesTens of Thousands of Focus on colonization, Western Years of Earth- globalization, technology, and Centered Approach proﬁt above relationship with Earth
European Colonizers &American Indians Clash of two peoples with two different “ecological selves” European Colonizers: Nature for proﬁt, land ownership, enclosure, capitalist mindset/values American Indians: Nurturance, reciprocity, sustainable mindset/ values Genocide: From up to 18 million in 1490’s to 190,000 in 1890, up to 200 million Indians died in the Americas Land Domination
European Colonizers &West Africans Clash of two peoples with two different “ecological selves” European Colonizers: Nature for proﬁt, land ownership, enclosure, capitalist mindset/values West Africans: Nurturance, reciprocity, sustainable mindset/values Slavery: About 12 million captured and shipped to the Americas, 645,000 brought to the U.S., nearly 4 million slaves in the 1860 census Domination for proﬁt via capitalism
Christians &Earth-Based Spiritualities Movement out of nature and into “Human” as separate from nature Nature is where Satan resides Technology is Godly & righteous Christian missionaries with indigenous peoples globally, views on nudity Killing of at least tens of thousands of “witches” from 1400s-1600s Continued persecution of paganism, neopaganism, and Wicca
A Brief History of Peoples (Part 2)“Third World” or “Developing” Industrial Culture Africa Ignored Impoverished East Asia Globalization Enslavement Dumping Grounds Central & South America Disease, poverty, war- Exploit peoples for the purposes stricken, desperate of making proﬁts, unless they conditions have nothing to oﬀer
Industrialized Nations ExploitingThird-World Nations Economic exploitation via cheap labor: Current business practices from transnational corporations in industrialized nations 158 million child laborers globally (ages 5-14) Sweat shop labor http://youtube.com/watch?v=bsOn43bjsdY
Industrialized NationsExploiting Third-World Nations 14-16 hour work days Young women and men Paid as little as possible First-World’s exploitation of people of color and women for proﬁt and First-World consumers Modern-Day Slavery Movement away from the Earth towards technology and “progress”
U.S. Exploitation of Hawai`i Cultural colonization via globalization or “global Westernization” for the sake of proﬁt From plantations to hotel high rises Movement of Hawaiians off of beaches and into warehouses in Western Oahu for the sake of tourism Military bombings for practice (also Vieques, PR)
“La Chureca,” Managua, Nicaragua Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Season 10 - 2011)
Exploiting PeoplesTo what extent do the underlying values of your content areaperpetuate exploitation of peoples across the globe and in ourcommunities?
Revitalizing the Cultural CommonsCultural Commons Naturals systems (water, air, soil, forests, oceans, etc.) Cultural patterns and traditions (intergenerational knowledge ranging from growing and preparing food, medicinal practices, arts, music, crafts, ceremonies, etc.) Shared with little or no cost by all members of the community nature of the commons varies in terms of diﬀerent cultures and bioregions The basis of mutual support systems and local democracy
Revitalizing the Cultural CommonsWhat are speciﬁc examplesof the cultural commons inour community?Why are the culturalcommons important to anysociety?
Revitalizing the Cultural CommonsIncreases dialogue Diﬀuses social power imbalancesInvests in relationships StrengthensIncreases ecologically democraticsustainable practices participationRevitalizes the arts Strengthens localLessens the volatility of controleconomic systems
The Cultural Commons as Your ClassroomArtists American IndiansElders PoliticiansJournalists Experts in various areasHistorians Community workers & organizersMechanics Radio show hostsWriters AthletesPoets
The Cultural Commons as Your ClassroomFood shares MuseumsCommunity gardens LibrariesTransportation shares Art showsTraditional knowledge Craft showsshares LecturesTechnology shares FarmsClothing swaps
UCONN Mentor Connection 20071. John Callendrelli (CT Chapter of Sierra Club)2.Kathleen Holgersen (UCONN Women’s Center)3.Lauren Bentancourt (Miss Connecticut 2007)4.Dale Carson (Native American Elder - Abenaki)5.Ned Lamont (Democratic Candidate for CT Senate 2006)6.Matthew Hart (Mansﬁeld Town Manager)7.Chet Bowers (Ecojustice Professor, University of Oregon)8.Laurie Perez (Journalist, Fox 61 News)9.Bobby Sherwood & Colin McEnroe (Producer & Talk Show Host WTIC 1080AM Radio)
Cultural CommonsTo what extent can you draw from people in ourcommunity for your content area?Who are those people speciﬁcally? How wouldyou want to use them?To what extent can your content area beincorporated in a “pedagogy of localization?”
Earth DemocracyEarth has a right to thrive and notbe contingent on the needs ofhumansHumans are not separate fromnature and live in balance withnatureHumans not taking resources fromnature or creating concentrationsof pollution that destroy theenvironment Vandana Shiva, 1952-Externalities from The Corporation
Science as a Product of Sociocultural Values Galileo Galilei Johannes Kepler Francis Bacon“The Universe is a clock” “The Universe is a machine” “For you have but to follow and as it were hound nature in her wanderings...Neither ought a man to make scruple of entering and penetrating into these Thomas Hobbes René Descartes holes and corners, when“Nature is dead, stupid “We can be the masters the inquisition of truth is matter” and possessors of nature” his whole object”
“Science Mythology”• The best way to understand nature is to isolate and atomize it. In fact, all other ways are subordinate and borderline socially inept.• Capitalism and government have no governance over scientiﬁc research• Science includes the only right ways to determine truth• Any other ways of assembling truth are simply ignorant and part of what Carl Sagan calls a “Demon Haunted World”• The previous statement is culturally neutral. In fact, ANYTHING that science claims is true is culturally neutral.• Science is always moving us towards an ultimate and undeniable truth about the universe• There are no mystical aspects about the universe; there are only aspects that science has yet to understand
Hubris and IdeologyRoot metaphors:Words that carry forward cultural value systems; these are often mystiﬁedHubris:Bowers argued that we often use root metaphors in our language that ultimately expresshubris, ideology, and have long-term negative consequences both culturally and ecologically Examples: Individualism Progress Technology Savage The Corporation
Is “Progress”Ecologically Sustainable?Progress Sustainability Technology Cooperation Individuality/Isolation Reciprocity Capitalism Nurturance Competition Interconnectedness with each other and with Movement away from nature nature “Progress” as typically deﬁned in the ﬁrst world nations is the opposite of “sustainability”
“Progress” Creates OppressionWe are currently at the stage of global peak oil, and the next 30-40 years will very likely befocused on rapidly decreasing supplies and is connected to a current energy crisis (Zittel, 2007).Access to freshwater is becoming increasingly difﬁcult, especially for peoples in third worldcountries where freshwater sources are polluted or privatized (Shiva, 2005; Vorosmarty, Green,Salisbury & Lammers, 2000).Global warming is creating increasingly unstable and unpredictable conditions in local and globalcontexts with experts predicting numbers of environmental refugees in the hundreds of millions(Bhandari, 2009).Half the world’s population lives on $2.50 per day or less, and 80% of the world lives on $10 perday or less (Shah, 2010).Children in cities have higher rates of asthma than children in surrounding suburbs (Kozol, 2005)
Dominant Cultural Value Systems For-proﬁt Hyper-consumerism Humans-over-nature Earth as “collateral damage”
“Sustainability” Creates Social Justice “Sustainability” Nurturance & Reciprocity Public Education Economic Balance Ecological Balance Growth & Support Access to Resources Biodiversity Diversity
Evolution and Social DarwinismBiological evolutionary theory argues for the “survivalof the ﬁttest”Darwin argued that poor people should not be havingchildren because they will create more poor people.The social elites (during the Victorian period) greatlyfavored this argument.
Applied Social DarwinismHow has Social Darwinism been applied toor connected with: Native Americans? African Americans (during slavery, segregation, currently) Australian Aborigines? Eugenics? Nazi scientists? Capitalistic practices? Free-market practices?
Hubris & Anthropocentrism To what extent does your content area perpetuate a practice of hubris and anthropocentric thinking? To what extent can your content area critically examine this perpetuation?
Disrupting a Mindset of Anthropocentrism Thick Description includes:Questioning “root metaphors” in languageQuestioning human domination over nature practicesExposing “technology as our ecology” in curriculumAnalyzing history through an anti-anthropocentric lens
Ecojustice Teaching Methods Exploring the intersections ofcultural value system and ecology 1. Teacher-as-Mediator Aiming for thick description (relationships and tensions) 2. Investigating Mindsets Disrupting anthropocentric thinking and language 3. Commons-Based Learning Using the cultural commons as place- based learning experiences 4. Ecological Selves Deconstructing our technological/ ecological selves
Ecojustice Teaching Methods Exploring the intersections ofcultural value system and ecology5. Sustainable Feast Making dishes with foods that are in season and from within 100 miles away6. Community Mapping Investigating the surroundings of an area including its buildings, natural areas, types of land usage7. Earth-Walking Knowing the mythological and practical signiﬁcances of the natural area
References & ResourcesBhandari, N. (August 4, 2009). 75 million environmental refugees to plague Asia-Paciﬁc. Retrieved March 28, 2010, from http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=47944Bowers, C. A. (2001). How language limits our understanding of environmental education. Environmental Education Research, 7(2), 141-151.Bowers, C. A. (2002). Toward an eco-justice pedagogy. Environmental Education Research, 8(1), 21-34.Bowers, C. A. (2005). The false promises of constructivist theories of learning: A global and ecological critique. New York: Peter Lang.Bowers, C. A. (2006). Revitalizing the commons: Cultural and educational sites of resistance and afﬁrmation. New York: Lexington Books.Cajete, G. (1994). Look to the mountain: An ecology of Indigenous education. Durango, CO: Kivaki Press.Kozol, J. (1991). Savage inequalities: Children in Americas schools. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.Kozol, J. (2005). Shame of the nation: The restoration of apartheid schooling in America. New York, NY: Crown.Martusewicz, R. (2005). Eros in the commons: Educating for eco-ethical consciousness in a poetics of place. Ethics, Place and Environment, 8(3), 331-348.Norberg-Hodge, H. (1991). Ancient futures: Learning from Ladakh. San Francisco: Sierra Books.Norberg-Hodge, H. (1997). Our body and our economy. In L. Friedman & S. Moon (Eds.), Being bodies: Buddhist women on the paradox of embodiment (pp. 76-86). Boston: Shambhala.Plumwood, V. (2002). Environmental culture: The ecological crisis of reason. New York: Routledge.Savory, A. (1999). Holistic management: A new framework for decision making. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.Shah, A. Poverty facts and stats. Global Issues Retrieved March 28, 2010, from http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/ poverty-facts-and-statsShiva, V. (2000). Tomorrows biodiversity. New York: Thames & Hudson.Shiva, V. (2002). Water wars: Privatization, pollution, and proﬁt. Boston: South End Press.Shiva, V. (2005). Earth democracy: Justice, sustainability and peace. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.Starhawk. (2004). The earth path. New York, NY: HarperOne.Vorosmarty, C. I., Green, P., Salisbury, J., & Lammers, R. B. (2000). Global water resources: Vulnerability from climate change and population growth Science, 289(5477), 284-288.Zittel, W., & Schindler, J. (October, 2007). Crude oil: The supply outlook. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http:// www.energywatchgroup.org/ﬁleadmin/global/pdf/EWG_Oilreport_10-2007.pdf