The Visual Communication of                        Ecological Literacy                           Jody Joanna Boehnert     ...
The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy                                                                           ...
Contents        1. Visualizing Ecosystems and Sustainability        2. Ecological Literacy in Theory and Practice        3...
1                     Visualizing                   Ecosystems and                    Sustainabilitywww.eco-labs.org
www.eco-labs.org
www.eco-labs.org
Recent temperature changes                                                          GLOBAL STEP    2                      ...
www.eco-labs.org
Springer-Verlag. The New Scientist.www.eco-labs.org
Earth’s Natural Wealth: an Audit. The New Scientistwww.eco-labs.org
The Oil Age. Information design by Dave Menninger. 2006www.eco-labs.org
www.eco-labs.org
Living Planet Report 2006. WWFwww.eco-labs.org
www.eco-labs.org
2                     Ecological Literacy                   in Theory and Practicewww.eco-labs.org
ecological literacy                   “All education is environmental education. By what is included                   or ...
ECOLOGICAL                                GOOD                               DESIGN                   ECONOMIC            ...
www.eco-labs.org
www.eco-labs.org
We need to apply our ecological knowledge to the        fundamental redesign of our technologies and social        institu...
http://teach-in.ning.comwww.eco-labs.org
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK       RESEARCH DESIGN                                                                             Epi...
1. problem                                                                               2. strategy               identif...
How? Transformational Learning                   The value / action gap permeates education for sustainability and is     ...
Actions                                          Ideas / Theories                                       Norms / Assumption...
Levels of Learning & Engagement                   1st: Education ABOUT Sustainability                   Content and/or ski...
3                    Visual Cultures,                     Visual Literacy,                   Visual Intelligence          ...
Visual Culture        ‘The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense       ...
Visual Literacy and Visual Intelligence        Donis Dondis first articulated the need for critical reading of images in A...
Visual Language        In Visual Language (1998) Robert Horn claims that the current proliferation        of visual commun...
4             Making the Invisible Visible:              Context, Connections,               Complexity, Causality        ...
1. COMPLEXITY        Graphic design makes complex information accessible through the        selective framing of data and ...
2. CONTEXT        Maps are useful devices in the development        of context and situated knowledge.www.eco-labs.org
The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011
The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011
The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011
The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011
The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011
The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011
The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011
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The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011

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Visualising Science and Environment, ECREA @ The University of Brighton Symposium. 17-18 November 2011

Graphic design is in the unique position of being able to make invisible ecological concepts visible. This paper will introduce my AHRC funded research on the visual communication of ecological literacy and the graphics made as part of this practice-based project. The research demonstrates how images can contribute to the development of new cognitive skills and even social capacities when built into transformative learning processes. I will describe how visual representation can facilitate ecological perception contributing to greater understanding of complexity, context, connections and causality. This research aims to help graphic design nurture latent possibilities in visuals, especially as a means of facilitating the emergence of new mental models to address sustainability imperatives.

One of the major premises of this project is that fragmentary thinking is an obstacle to sustainability and that reductive attitudes towards knowledge cannot adequately address problems associated with ecological systems - or other complex systems. Responding to this dilemma, this project uses a whole systems approach based on the powerful concept of ecological literacy. This research posits that visual communications offers a means of helping audiences understand context, interrelationships, dynamics and other features of whole systems thinking necessary for ecological literacy to become widespread.

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The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy - PhD Presentation, November 2011

  1. 1. The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy Jody Joanna Boehnert EcoLabs & AHRC funded doctoral candidate University of Brighton November 2011www.eco-labs.org
  2. 2. 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, 2009www.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
  3. 3. Contents 1. Visualizing Ecosystems and Sustainability 2. Ecological Literacy in Theory and Practice 3. Visual Cultures, Visual Literacy, Visual Intelligence and Visual Language 4. Making the Invisible Visible: Context, Connections, Complexity, Causality and Quantity 5. Aesthetics and Ecological Perceptionwww.eco-labs.org
  4. 4. 1 Visualizing Ecosystems and Sustainabilitywww.eco-labs.org
  5. 5. www.eco-labs.org
  6. 6. www.eco-labs.org
  7. 7. Recent temperature changes GLOBAL STEP 2 Temperature Choice Models vs. Scenarios Bars show the range in year 2100 produced by several scenarios. 6.0 5.5 5.0 A1FI - Rapid growth, fossil fuel intensive. Temperature Rise, degrees Celsius 4.5 Temperature Rise, degrees Celsius. A2 - High energy consumption, rapid population growth. 4.0 A1B - Rapid growth, balanced energy sources. 3.5 B2 - Environmental preservation and local solutions. 3.0 A1T - Rapid growth, new, non-carbon, technology. 2.5 IS92a - "Business as usual" IPCC. 2.0 B1 - Environmentally and socially conscious global approach. 1.5 1.0 0.5 Scenarios A1B 0.0 A1T A1FI -0.5 A2 B1 -1.0 B2 IS92a 1700 1800 1900 2000 2100 Year "The Game Plan" slideset release 1.0, March 13 2008 43www.eco-labs.org
  8. 8. www.eco-labs.org
  9. 9. Springer-Verlag. The New Scientist.www.eco-labs.org
  10. 10. Earth’s Natural Wealth: an Audit. The New Scientistwww.eco-labs.org
  11. 11. The Oil Age. Information design by Dave Menninger. 2006www.eco-labs.org
  12. 12. www.eco-labs.org
  13. 13. Living Planet Report 2006. WWFwww.eco-labs.org
  14. 14. www.eco-labs.org
  15. 15. 2 Ecological Literacy in Theory and Practicewww.eco-labs.org
  16. 16. ecological literacy “All education is environmental education. By what is included or excluded, emphasized or ignored, students learn that they are part of or apart from the natural world. Through education we inculcate the ideas of careful stewardship or carelessness” (Orr 1992, 90). An understanding of the ‘principles of organization’ of ecological systems. (Capra 2002, 201). Critical eco-literacy is linked to cultural literacy for a more robust analysis of the connections between social and ecological systems (Kahn 2010, 66).www.eco-labs.org
  17. 17. ECOLOGICAL GOOD DESIGN ECONOMIC SOCIALwww.eco-labs.org
  18. 18. www.eco-labs.org
  19. 19. www.eco-labs.org
  20. 20. 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, 2002www.eco-labs.org
  21. 21. http://teach-in.ning.comwww.eco-labs.org
  22. 22. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK RESEARCH DESIGN Epistemology Theoretical position Methodology Method Design Design Research Action Research Science Extended Epistemology Wicked Problems Visuali- Systems sation Pragmatism Thinking Design Thinking Transformation Eco- Critical Systems Design - 4.0 Inquiry pedagogy Thinkingwww.eco-labs.org
  23. 23. 1. problem 2. strategy identification 2 design 1 3 The Teach-in PhD poster 2 3 EL graphics 10 Phases of TL for EL 1 4 4 REFLECTION ACTION 8 5 1. Identify problem condition 2. Identify communication goals 8 3. Write the brief 7 6 4. Design graphics 5. Design processes 6. Do it! Disseminate 5 7. Solicit feedback 8. Reflection and revision 7 4. reflection and 3. design and re-interpreation 6 disseminationwww.eco-labs.org
  24. 24. How? Transformational Learning The value / action gap permeates education for sustainability and is obvious in environmental coverage in the media. The gap between 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.www.eco-labs.org
  25. 25. 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 (Action) The ability to design and act relationally, integratively and wisely. Stephen Sterling, 2009www.eco-labs.org
  26. 26. Levels of Learning & Engagement 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. Stephen Sterling, 2009www.eco-labs.org
  27. 27. 3 Visual Cultures, Visual Literacy, Visual Intelligence & Visual Languagewww.eco-labs.org
  28. 28. Visual Culture ‘The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance’ McLuhan 2001[1964]:290.www.eco-labs.org
  29. 29. Visual Literacy and Visual Intelligence Donis Dondis first articulated the need for critical reading of images in A Primer of Visual Literacy (1973). The concept of visual thinking was developed by Ann Marie Barry in the seminal book Visual Intelligence: Perception, image and the manipulation of the visual in communications (1997). Visual intelligence extends beyond visual literacy, necessary not only to resist the influence of messages absorbed uncritically, but to develop the capacity to think in abstract and perceptually oriented ways (Barry 1997:7).www.eco-labs.org
  30. 30. Visual Language In Visual Language (1998) Robert Horn claims that the current proliferation of visual communication indicates that we are witnessing the emergence of a new visual language that integrates words, shapes and images. Horn describes visual language as a potential antidote to the fragmentation and reductionism of current ways of communicating and thinking: ‘visual language has the potential for increasing human “bandwidth”, the capacity to take in, comprehend, and more efficiently synthesize large amounts of new information. It has this capacity on the individual, group, and organizational levels’ (Horn 2001a:1).www.eco-labs.org
  31. 31. 4 Making the Invisible Visible: Context, Connections, Complexity, Causality and Quantitywww.eco-labs.org
  32. 32. 1. COMPLEXITY Graphic design makes complex information accessible through the selective framing of data and structuring of information to reveal patterns Low–income countries Middle–income countries High–income countries 85 Japan France Gapminder World Map 2010 Sweden Germany Hong Kong Andorra Italy Iceland Switzerland Spain Australia Singa- Israel Canada pore Norway 1 New Zealand Finland Liechten- 80 Puerto Malta Netherlands stein Healthy 3 2 Cuba Costa Chile Rico South UK Bel- Ireland Lux- embourg Rica Korea Greece gium Austria USA China Portugal Slovenia Denmark Albania Mexico Barbados Taiwan UAE Kuwait Belize Uruguay Croatia Czech Rep. Brunei Argen- Grenada Panama Oman Vietnam Bosnia & H. Dominica tina Poland Bahrain Qatar 75 Poor Rich Kosovo Syria Venezuela Ecuador Macedonia4 Serbia Slovakia Malaysia Antigua & Barbuda Sri Lanka Tunisia Colo-5 Libya Bahamas Armenia Bulgaria Hungary Nicaragua Palestine Algeria Peru mbia Romania Latvia Estonia St Kitts & N. Honduras Jordan Brazil Seychelles Saudi Arabia Micronesia Philippines Paraguay DR Leba- Cape Tonga 1. San Marino El Jamaica 6 Mauritiusnon Lithuania Maldives Verde Georgia Samoa Sick Marshall Isl. Morocco Salvador Palau Iran Turkey 2. Monaco Indonesia Guate- Vanuatu 3. Cyprus 70 mala Egypt Azerbaijan Trinidad & 4. Montenegro Tuvalu Fiji Suriname Belarus Tobago 5. Saint Lucia Moldova Kyrgyzstan Ukraine 6. St Vincent & Uzbe- Iraq ailand Nepal North kistan Grenadines Korea Guyana Health Life expectancy at birth (years) Paki- Solo-Isl. Mongolia Russia Comoros Tajikistan Laos stan mon Bolivia Bhutan Bangladesh India São Tomé 65 & P. Turkmenistan Kazakhstan Nauru Yemen Kiribati Togo Colour by region: Myanmar Benin Cambodia Namibia Timor- Madagascar Haiti Papua Leste Gabon 60 Eritrea New Guinea Liberia Sudan Guinea Côte dIvoire Ghana Mauritania Tanzania Gam- Size by population: Ethiopia bia Senegal Djibouti 55 Kenya Botswana Malawi Uganda Burkina Faso Congo, Rep. 3 100 1000 or less 10 millions Gapminder World Chart 2010 Version May 2010b Niger South Africa Burundi Rwanda Cameroon Equatorial Guinea 50 Somalia Data are for 2009 for all 192 UN member states and the other 5 countries and territories with more than 1 million people Mozambique Mali Chad (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Palestine, Puerto Rico and Kosovo). Congo, DR Sierra Leone Guinea-Bissau Nigeria Angola Free to copy, share and remix but attribute Gapminder. For sources see: Central African Rep. www.gapminder.org Zambia Swaziland http://www.gapminder.org/worldmap Zimbabwe Afghanistan Lesotho 45 500 1 000 2 000 5 000 10 000 20 000 50 000 Money GDP per person in US dollars (purchasing power adjusted) (log scale)www.eco-labs.org
  33. 33. 2. CONTEXT Maps are useful devices in the development of context and situated knowledge.www.eco-labs.org
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