Ecojustice Pedagogy 2014


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Ecojustice Pedagogy 2014

  1. 1. ECOJUSTICE THEORY & PEDAGOGY Kurt Love, Ph.D.! Central Connecticut State University
  2. 2. You & Nature What is your relationship with nature?
  3. 3. You darkness from which I come, ! I love you more than all the fires! that fence out the world, ! for the fire makes a circle ! for everyone! so 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 is breaking into my body.! ! I have faith in the night.! ! -Rainer Maria Rilke ! (translated by David Whyte in Fire in the Earth)
  4. 4. “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)
  5. 5. Ludwig von Beethoven’s 9th Symphony “Ode to Joy”! From the film: Immortal Beloved (1994)
  6. 6. Roots & Lenses of Ecojustice Pedagogy Ecofeminism - a feminist theory that describes the relationship between nature and women; includes an analysis of the added burden that women face, especially in third-world nations, when environment is compromised." Indigenous Education - rooted in Native American cultures and philosophies; includes a focus on humans as part of nature living with reciprocity." Eco-spirituality - earth-based spirituality
  7. 7. Ecojustice Theory The roots of our domination over each other come from the same root of domination we feel over the earth." When biodiversity is threatened so is cultural diversity " Dominant elites exploit the earth and subordinated peoples for their own benefit. " Social justice, critical social theories, and multiculturalism are often anthropocentric
  8. 8. Summary Points of Ecojustice Theory 1. Eliminating eco-racism" 2. Revitalizing the commons to create a balance between market and non-market aspects of community life" 3. Ending the industrialized nations’ exploitation and cultural colonization of third-world nations" 4. Ensure that the hubris and ideology of Western industrial culture does not diminish future generations’ ways of living and quality of life" 5. Support an “Earth Democracy”--the right of nature to flourish rather than be contingent upon the demands of humans From
  9. 9. Ecojustice Teaching Practice Students will be more able to: " Identify sustainable social and ecological relationships" Connect with intergenerational knowledges" Describe how culture connects with our relationship to nature
  10. 10. Ecojustice Teaching Practice Students 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
  11. 11. “Thick Description” Mainstream Message Null Message These two might set up a binary Tensions Relationships These two generally show a complexity not binary “packaged” info Superficial Deep
  13. 13. 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 alive" and 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)
  14. 14. Your Ecological Identity Who are you? " What is your history?" To what extent are you defined more by technology or by nature?
  15. 15. Messages From Water From What the Bleep Do We Know? (2004)
  16. 16. Washington D.C. Meditation Experiment From What the Bleep Do We Know? (2004)
  17. 17. From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: A social security number, a gender, a race, a profession or an I.Q. I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in, rather than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies? Would we still be able to exist if we were authentically 'un-contained'? Paige Bradley “Expansion”
  18. 18. Hula “Hula is an important part of our Hawaiian culture. 
 It leads us to who we are as people today.”
  19. 19. Aloha & Haole
  20. 20. Aloha & Haole Aloha " “Together, we breathe the sacred breath”" A consciousness that we are inescapably interwoven with each other and the earth. " What we do to each other and the earth, we do to ourselves.
  21. 21. Aloha & Haole Haole " “One who is without sacred breath”" A consciousness that does not include an awareness that we are inescapably interwoven with each other and the earth. " A consciousness only of self and an ignorance of one’s energetic and spiritual impact. Often comes with little or no understanding of spirituality or the purpose of one’s soul (soul loss).
  22. 22. Footpath = Your View of Reality? Home Sidewalk Driveway Vehicle Parking Lot Building Sidewalk Nature?
  23. 23. Nature & Soul Spirit Soul Transcends Humanity
  24. 24. Nature & Soul Soul “The individual human soul is one element of the fabric of nature. You are not in any way separate from nature. The wild world reflects your essence back to you just like a still lake reflects your image.” (Plotkin, 2003, p. 216)
  25. 25. Nature & Soul Soul “The earth provides us with not only the means to be physically born into this world but also the spiritual means to recognize our deeper identities.” (Plotkin, 2003, p. 239)
  26. 26. “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)
  27. 27. A Vision
  28. 28. People of the Earth A deeper sense of self" An awareness of how one connects to the place where one is" Connecting one’s relationships with local mythologies" Being aware of one’s energetic self
  29. 29. People of the Earth Tap into spirituality of nature" Listen to the earth, hear its ways of communicating with us" Develop one’s soul through communication with nature
  30. 30. Shift Away From Valuing Nature Joseph Campbell stated that we can see the movements of a society based on the highest buildings in an area.
  31. 31. Shift Away FromValuing Nature Gods and Goddesses communicate through the actions of nature in the forests Gods and Goddesses communicate through the actions of nature and in growth/ harvest of crops God (no Goddess) & salvation are found only through Jesus. The Devil resides in nature.
  32. 32. Shift Away FromValuing Nature
  33. 33. Shift Away FromValuing Nature Government provides policies of morality aimed solely at rights of humans Transcontinental corporations heavily influence governments and national policies through trade agreements creating the greatest negative impact on the global environment
  34. 34. Shift Away FromValuing Nature
  35. 35. INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS & SPIRITUALITIES Pre-date Christianity Pre-date Islam Pre-date Judaism Earth-based spiritualities Found in all parts of the world
  36. 36. 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)
  37. 37. Technology = Ecology What happens to people when technology replaces ecology as the main viewpoint of “reality”?" Do we see buildings as “progress” and areas of nature as “empty lots?”
  38. 38. Ecological Identities What connections can you see in your content area?" To what extent can your content area shift students’ consciousness about their ecological identities?
  40. 40. Eco-racism Eco-racism - the relationship between poor environmental conditions and peoples of color and lower socioeconomic classes disproportionately living in those conditions.! Peoples of third-world nations! Environmental conditions of poor neighborhoods in cities (Kozol, 1991, 2005)
  41. 41. A Brief History of Peoples (Part 1) Earth-Based Cultures Tens of Thousands of Years of Earth- Centered Approach Industrial Culture Indigenous First Nations Africans Aborigines Genocide Enslavement Assimilation Focus on colonization, Western globalization, technology, and profit above relationship with Earth Colonization
  42. 42. 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
  43. 43. 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
  44. 44. 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
  45. 45. A Brief History of Peoples (Part 2) “Third World” or “Developing” Disease, poverty, war- stricken, desperate conditions Industrial Culture Impoverished Africa East Asia Central & South America Ignored Enslavement Dumping Grounds Exploit peoples for the purposes of making profits, unless they have nothing to offer Globalization
  46. 46. Industrialized Nations Exploiting Third-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
  47. 47. Industrialized Nations Exploiting 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”
  48. 48. 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)
  49. 49. “La Chureca,” Managua, Nicaragua Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Season 10 - 2011)
  50. 50. Exploiting Peoples To what extent do the underlying values of your content area perpetuate exploitation of peoples across the globe and in our communities?
  52. 52. Revitalizing the Cultural Commons Cultural 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
  53. 53. Revitalizing the Cultural Commons What are specific examples of the cultural commons in our community?" Why are the cultural commons important to any society?
  54. 54. Revitalizing the Cultural Commons Increases dialogue " Invests in relationships " Increases ecologically sustainable practices" Revitalizes the arts " Lessens the volatility of economic systems " Diffuses social power imbalances" Strengthens democratic participation" Strengthens local control
  55. 55. The Cultural Commons as Your Classroom Artists" Elders" Journalists" Historians" Mechanics" Writers " Poets" American Indians" Politicians" Experts in various areas" Community workers & organizers" Radio show hosts" Athletes
  56. 56. The Cultural Commons as Your Classroom Food shares" Community gardens" Transportation shares" Traditional knowledge shares" Technology shares" Clothing swaps" Museums" Libraries" Art shows" Craft shows" Lectures" Farms
  57. 57. UCONN Mentor Connection 2007 1. 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)
  58. 58. Cultural Commons To what extent can you draw from people in our community for your content area? Who are those people specifically? How would you want to use them? To what extent can your content area be incorporated in a “pedagogy of localization?”
  60. 60. Earth Democracy Earth has a right to thrive and not be contingent on the needs of humans" Humans are not separate from nature and live in balance with nature" Humans not taking resources from nature or creating concentrations of pollution that destroy the environment" Externalities from The Corporation Vandana Shiva, 1952-
  61. 61. “Shapeshifter” Brian Jungen
  62. 62. Plastic Ocean Millions of tons of plastic collectively at least the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean
  63. 63. Plastic Ocean Millions of tons of plastic collectively at least the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean About 6 times more plastic than plankton - a major food source for animals CNN Report
  64. 64. Earth Democracy To what extent can your content area contribute to a mindset of “Earth Democracy”?
  66. 66. Science as a Product of Sociocultural Values Galileo Galilei “The Universe is a clock” Johannes Kepler “The Universe is a machine” Francis Bacon “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 holes and corners, when the inquisition of truth is his whole object” Thomas Hobbes “Nature is dead, stupid matter” René Descartes “We can be the masters and possessors of nature”
  67. 67. “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
  68. 68. Hubris and Ideology Root metaphors:
 Words that carry forward cultural value systems; these are often mystified" Hubris:
 Bowers argued that we often use root metaphors in our language that ultimately express hubris, ideology, and have long-term negative consequences both culturally and ecologically" Examples:" Individualism" Progress" Technology" Savage" The Corporation
  69. 69. Genetic Roulette (2007)
  70. 70. Is “Progress” Ecologically Sustainable? Progress " Technology" Individuality/Isolation" Capitalism" Competition" Movement away from nature" Sustainability" Cooperation" Reciprocity" Nurturance" Interconnectedness with each other and with nature “Progress” as typically defined in the first world nations is the opposite of “sustainability”
  71. 71. “Progress” Creates Oppression We are currently at the stage of global peak oil, and the next 30-40 years will very likely be focused 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 world countries 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 global contexts 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 per day or less (Shah, 2010). Children in cities have higher rates of asthma than children in surrounding suburbs (Kozol, 2005)
  72. 72. “Progress” Creates Oppression “Progress” Neoliberal Mindset “Winners” & “Losers” Public Education NCLB RTTTMerit-Based Pay Meritocracy Capitalism Corporatism “Winners” & “Losers”
  73. 73. Dominant Cultural Value Systems
  74. 74. Dominant Cultural Value Systems For-profit! Hyper-consumerism! Humans-over-nature! Earth as “collateral damage”
  75. 75. “Sustainability” Creates Social Justice “Sustainability” Nurturance & Reciprocity Ecological BalancePublic Education Economic Balance Growth & Support Access to Resources Biodiversity Diversity
  76. 76. Evolution and Social Darwinism Biological evolutionary theory argues for the “survival of the fittest”" Darwin argued that poor people should not be having children because they will create more poor people." The social elites (during the Victorian period) greatly favored this argument.
  77. 77. Applied Social Darwinism How has Social Darwinism been applied to or connected with:" Native Americans?" African Americans (during slavery, segregation, currently)" Australian Aborigines?" Eugenics?" Nazi scientists?" Capitalistic practices? Free-market practices?
  78. 78. 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?
  80. 80. Disrupting a Mindset of Anthropocentrism Questioning “root metaphors” in language" Questioning human domination over nature practices" Exposing “technology as our ecology” in curriculum" Analyzing history through an anti-anthropocentric lens Thick Description includes:
  81. 81. Ecojustice Teaching Methods 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 Exploring the intersections of cultural value system and ecology
  82. 82. Ecojustice Teaching Methods 5. Sustainable Feast
 Making dishes with foods that are in season and from within 100 miles away" 6. Community Mapping
 Investigating the surroundings of an area including its buildings, natural areas, types of land usage" 7. Earth-Walking
 Knowing the mythological and practical significances of the natural area
 Exploring the intersections of cultural value system and ecology
  83. 83. References & Resources Bhandari, N. (August 4, 2009). 75 million environmental refugees to plague Asia-Pacific. Retrieved March 28, 2010, from! Bowers, 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 America's 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 poverty-facts-and-stats! Shiva, V. (2000). Tomorrow's 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://!