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Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs
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Ecological literacy and creative cultures | EcoLabs

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EcoLabs at Subtle Technologies Festival …

EcoLabs at Subtle Technologies Festival
June 3-6 2010, Toronto | www.eco-labs.org
www.subtletechnologies.com

Artists, designers and other visual communicators have an important role to play in building an understanding of complex environmental problems and creating a momentum for change. Due to the fact that many of the necessary responses to global environmental imperatives are social and political rather than merely technological, cultural producers are key to catalyzing a transition. Yet before we swing into action to save the world from cataclysmic climate change and other converging environmental crises, a new type of learning must be embedded in our practice. This presentation will explore the emergent concept of ecological literacy (eco-literacy) as a starting point for an engaged cultural producer.

American physicist Frijof Capra and educator David Orr defined the concept of ecological literacy in the early 1990s as an understanding of the organizing principles of nature. Ecological literacy has since been developed into a new educational paradigm creating a conceptual basis for integrated thinking about sustainability. Ecological literacy requires that an understanding of natural process become an educational staple. It creates a foundation to enable industrialized societies to re-invent sustainable ways of living.

Ecological literacy is epistemic learning, it depends on critical analysis of our cultural assumptions. The associated concept of transformative learning implies that ecological literacy can only be developed with a process of engagement and through putting new ideas into practice. This presentation will demonstrate how visual communicators can use the concept of ecological literacy to contribute to the development of new cognitive skills, map new intellectual territory and help disseminate new information at a time of rapid societal change. I will present various projects from my practice based PhD research and my work with EcoLabs, a non-profit ecological literacy initiative.

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  • 1. ecological literacy & creative cultures www.eco-labs.org
  • 2. ECOLOGICAL ECONOMIC SOCIAL We have to learn to see the world anew. Einstein www.eco-labs.org
  • 3. ecological literacy www.eco-labs.org
  • 4. epistemic learning www.eco-labs.org
  • 5. sustainability www.eco-labs.org
  • 6. 1. Context : converging crises 2. Basic concept : ecological literacy 3. Key ideas: systems, etc. 4. Development: ‘epistemological error’ 5. Levels of learning & communication 6. EL in art / culture / media 7. Pictures / samples : EcoLabs www.eco-labs.org
  • 7. 1. CONTEXT Springer-Verlag. The New Scientist. www.eco-labs.org
  • 8. www.eco-labs.org Living Planet Report 2008. WWF
  • 9. Living Planet Report 2006. WWF www.eco-labs.org
  • 10. Earth’s Natural Wealth: an Audit. The New Scientist www.eco-labs.org
  • 11. The Oil Age. Information design by Dave Menninger. 2006 www.eco-labs.org
  • 12. Global production of oil and gas 50 Non-con Gas Gas billion Gboe/a 40 NGLs Production, barrels Polar Oil 30 Deep Water Heavy 20 Regular 10 0 1930 1950 1970 1990 2010 2030 2050 Source: ASPO The Oil Crunch Securing the UK’s energy future First report of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil & Energy Security (ITPOES) The Oil Crunch. The UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security. www.eco-labs.org
  • 13. www.eco-labs.org
  • 14. 2. BASIC CONCEPT ecological literacy www.eco-labs.org
  • 15. The first step in our endeavor to build sustainable communities must be to become ‘ecologically literate’, i.e. to understand of the principles of organization, common to all living systems, that ecosystems have evolved to sustain the web of life… Fritjof Capra, 2002 www.eco-labs.org
  • 16. This systemic understanding of life allows us to formulate a set of principles of organization that may be identified as the basic principles of ecology and used as guidelines for building sustainable human communities... Fritjof Capra, 2002 www.eco-labs.org
  • 17. We need to apply our ecological knowledge to the fundamental redesign of our technologies and social institutions, so as to bridge the current gap between human design and the ecological sustainable systems of nature. Fritjof Capra, 2002 www.eco-labs.org
  • 18. 3. KEY IDEAS Systems thinking asserts that valid knowledge and meaningful understanding comes from building up whole pictures of phenomenon, not by breaking them into parts. www.eco-labs.org
  • 19. WHOLE SYSTEMS THINKING = systems thinking + ecological thought Not all systems thinking is ecological. Not all ecological thinking is aware of systems thinking. Stephen Sterling www.eco-labs.org
  • 20. Paradigms are the lens through which we look a the world and it therefore determines what we perceive. A paradigm is a set of beliefs or as- sumptions we make about the world, normally beneath the level of awareness and therefore mostly never questioned. Stacey, 1996 www.eco-labs.org
  • 21. Paradigms have a normative aspect – they tell people what is important, legitimate and reasonable. Patton, 1990 www.eco-labs.org
  • 22. Three components of a paradigm ethos - belief - epistemology eidos - ideas / concepts - ontology praxis - action - methodology Stephen Sterling www.eco-labs.org
  • 23. Clash of paradigms Dominant worldview as flawed, dysfunctional www.eco-labs.org
  • 24. Mechanism Ecological Objectivist Participative Reductionist, Holistic, dualistic integrative Reductive Systemic www.eco-labs.org Stephen Sterling, 2009
  • 25. Epistemology: The study of the nature of knowledge, its origins, structure and validity. ‘how we know’ www.eco-labs.org
  • 26. Challenge of unsustainability requires a deep learning response, which may be termed transformative or epistemic learning www.eco-labs.org
  • 27. 4. DEVELOPMENT Gregory Bateson suggested we suffer from ‘a fundamental epistemological error’. Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972) www.eco-labs.org
  • 28. Seeing differently www.eco-labs.org
  • 29. Put simply, the case against the dominant Western worldview is that it is no longer constitutes an adequate model of reality - particularly ecological reality. The map is wrong, and moreover, we commonly confuse the map (worldview) for the territory (reality). Sterling, 1993 www.eco-labs.org
  • 30. 70s - Bateson, Meadows, Laszlo 80s - Capra, Harman, Clark, Bohm, Reason + 90s - Orr, Macy, Berman, Shiva, Banathy, 100s+ 00s - Sterling, 1000s+ www.eco-labs.org
  • 31. ECOLOGICAL GOOD DESIGN ECONOMIC SOCIAL Problems as symptoms of systemic failure, rather than random errors requiring fixes. www.eco-labs.org
  • 32. www.eco-labs.org
  • 33. www.eco-labs.org
  • 34. Actions Ideas/theories Norms/assumptions Beliefs/values Paradigm/worldview Metaphysics/cosmology Stephen Sterling on transition from beliefs to actions: ‘Levels of Knowing’, 2009 www.eco-labs.org
  • 35. 6. LEVELS OF LEARNING Actions Ideas / Theories Norms / Assumptions Beliefs / Values Paradigm / Worldview Metaphysics / Cosmology Transformational Learning Values, Knowledge, Skills A: SEEING (Perc eption ) An expanded ethical sensibility or consciousness B: KNOWING (Conception) A critical understanding of pattern, consequence and connectivity C: DOING (Actio n) The ability to design and act relationally, integratively and wisely. Stephen Sterling, 2009 www.eco-labs.org
  • 36. Learning & Communication Levels 1st: Education about Sustainability Content and/or skills emphasis. Easily accommodated into existing system. Learning ABOUT change. Accommodative response - maintenance. 2nd: Education for Sustainability Additional values emphasis. Greening of institutions. Deeper questioning and reform of purpose, policy and practice. Learning for change. Reformative response - adaptive. 3rd: Sustainable Education Capacity building and action emphasis. Experiential curriculum. Institutions as learning communities. Learning AS change. Transformative response - enactment. Orginally Gregory Bateson, adapted by Stephen Sterling www.eco-labs.org
  • 37. What we already ‘know’ frames what we ‘see’ - and what we ‘see’ frames what we understand. The things we make are an extension of the manner in which we think. www.eco-labs.org
  • 38. 6. EL IN ART / CULTURE / MEDIA Cyberception: Getting a sense of the whole, acquiring a bird’s eye view of events, the astronauts view of the earth, the cyberbaut’s view of systems. Its a matter fo highspeed feedback, interaction with a multiciplicity of minds, seeing with a thousand eyes... Roy Ascott, 1994 www.eco-labs.org
  • 39. Transception: Coined to add a dimention of values to cyberception, informed by work of Joanna Macy and others. Klisanin, 2005 www.eco-labs.org
  • 40. Evolutionary guidance systems (EGS): Designed to guide the development of human systems such they will be capable of encouraging the holistic development of individuals and their systems. Banathy www.eco-labs.org
  • 41. Evolutionary guidance media (EGM): Media designed in a context specifically for the purpose of guiding and faciliating the social emergence of planetary consciousness Klisanin, 2003 www.eco-labs.org
  • 42. Planetary Consciousness: The knowing as well as the feeling of the vital independence and essential oneness of humankind and the conscious adoption of the ethics and ethos that this entails. Lazlo, 1997 www.eco-labs.org
  • 43. 6. SAMPLES: ECOLABS www.eco-labs.org
  • 44. www.eco-labs.org
  • 45. www.eco-labs.org
  • 46. www.eco-labs.org
  • 47. www.eco-labs.org
  • 48. www.eco-labs.org
  • 49. www.eco-labs.org
  • 50. www.eco-labs.org
  • 51. www.eco-labs.org
  • 52. www.eco-labs.org
  • 53. www.eco-labs.org
  • 54. www.eco-labs.org
  • 55. www.eco-labs.org
  • 56. www.eco-labs.org
  • 57. We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein www.eco-labs.org
  • 58. www.eco-labs.org
  • 59. The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy Jody Joanna Boehnert - MPhil - School of Architecture and Design Why? Context Levels of Learning & Engagement Presently humanity’s ecological footprint exceeds its regenerative capacity by 30%. This global overshoot is growing and ecosystems are 1st: Education ABOUT Sustainability being run down as wastes (including greenhouse gases) accumulate in Content and/or skills emphasis. Easily accommodated the air, land, and water. Climate change, resource depletion, pollution, into existing system. Learning ABOUT change. loss of biodiversity, and other systemic environmental problems ACCOMMODATIVE RESPONSE - maintenance. threaten to destroy the natural support systems on which we depend. 2nd: Education FOR Sustainability What? Systems, Networks, Values Additional values emphasis. Greening of institutions. Problems cannot be understood in isolation but must be seen as Deeper questioning and reform of purpose, policy and practice. interconnected and interdependent. We must learn to engage with Learning FOR change. REFORMATIVE RESPONSE - adaptive. complexity and think in terms of systems to address current ecological, social and economic problems. Images can be useful tools to help with this learning process. 3rd: SUSTAINABLE Education Capacity building and action emphasis. How? Transformational Learning Experiential curriculum. Institutions as learning communities. Learning AS change. TRANSFORMATIVE RESPONSE - enactment. The value / action gap permeates education for sustainability and is obvious in environmental coverage in the media. The gap between Stephen Sterling, 2009 our ideas about what we value and what we are actually doing to address the problem is the notorious value / action gap. This project uses transformational learning to move from values to action. This approach is integrated into cycles of action research and practice based design work. ECOLOGICAL Actions GOOD DESIGN Ideas / Theories ECONOMIC SOCIAL Norms / Assumptions Beliefs / Values Paradigm / Worldview Metaphysics / Cosmology Transformational Learning Values, Knowledge, Skills A: SEEING (Perception ) An expanded ethical sensibility or consciousness The world is a complex, interconnected, finite, ecological-social- B: KNOWING (Conception) psychological-economic system. We treat it as if it were not, as Ecological literacy - the understanding of the principles of organization A critical understanding of pattern, if it were divisible, separable, simple, and infinite. Our persistent, that ecosystems have evolved to sustain the web of life - is the first consequence and connectivity intractable, global problems arise directly from this mismatch. step on the road to sustainability. The second step is the move Donella Meadows, 1982 towards ecodesign. We need to apply our ecological knowledge to C: DOING (Action) the fundamental redesign of our technologies and social institutions, The ability to design and act relationally, so as to bridge the current gap between human design and the integratively and wisely. References Fritjof Capra. The Hidden Connections. London: Flamingo. 2003 Stephen Sterling. Whole Systems Thinking as a Basis for Paradigm Change in Education. University of Bath. 2003 ecological sustainable systems of nature. Stephen Sterling. Transformational Learning. Researching Transformational Learning. University of Gloucestershire. 2009 Fritjof Capra, 2003 Stephen Sterling, 2009 www.eco-labs.org j.j.boehnert@brighton.ac.uk | jody@eco-labs.org This poster can be downloaded on this website: www.eco-labs.org
  • 60. EcoLabs www.eco-labs.org http://teach-in.ning.com www.eco-labs.org

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