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Lect 6b Environmentally toxic beliefs 2013

Lect 6b Environmentally toxic beliefs 2013



Signposts to a western worldview of environmental beliefs. A look at what guides western thinking about the ecological crisis.

Signposts to a western worldview of environmental beliefs. A look at what guides western thinking about the ecological crisis.



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    Lect 6b Environmentally toxic beliefs 2013 Lect 6b Environmentally toxic beliefs 2013 Presentation Transcript

    • OEEDU5001 Concepts inOutdoor EducationWeek sixEnvironmentally toxic belief systems
    • OEE could help us look back atour society from a differentperspective(removed from society - allows for reflection)
    • Signposts to a westernworldview?The ecological crisis is fundamentallycaused by“environmentally toxic beliefsystems”
    • Toxic = belief that does notsupport or affirm lifeMany authors contributed…Summarise 5 cultural beliefsand 4 corollaries (associated beliefs)
    • Toxic belief #1The belief in progress
    • The belief in the ideal of progress.That progress is inevitable, unidirectional, and upward.Therefore progress will lead to socialimprovementToxic belief #1 - The belief in progress
    • Described as the main obstacle tore-creating human communitiesthat are truly sustainable.But what is Progress?Progress ought mean getting nearer to the placeyou want to be…Where or what is that? In terms of community,environment and your role/relationship with both?Toxic belief #1 - The belief in progress
    • Cultural mythsProgress and development = increasedcontrol and complex technology.Success = accumulation of wealth andpossessions.The health of a society = its rate ofeconomic growth.Freedom = the ability to choose in themarketplace.Toxic belief #1 - The belief in progress
    • Toxic belief #2The importance of the individual
    • The ideology of individualismEmphasis on self-realisation at theexpense of the community (OE??)Everyone can succeed if they try hardenough. (Cultural myth #2)Therefore undermines any sense ofan interdependent biotic communityToxic belief #2 - The importance of the individual
    • Toxic belief #3Anthropocentrism
    • Views the world from the perspective ofhuman interests‘the Environment’ = not us!Therefore possible to separate humansfrom the environmentDescartes dualism – (16th C) a mechanistic model ofnature yielded context free, value free knowledge of the external world.The human species is different from everything else on earth… the onlybeing processing a mind.Toxic belief #3 - Anthropocentrism
    • Toxic belief #4Faith in rationalism
    • The idea that reason, deductiveintellectual processes, are the basis ofall truth... Intuition?The belief that if we have all the facts wewill make good decisions and problemswill be solvedToxic belief #4 - Faith in rationalism
    • Therefore views nature as a resourcefor our use, and Science will solveour problems.But, most ecological challenges are, atleast in part, value/moral issues.Toxic belief #4 - Faith in rationalism
    • Toxic belief #5The devaluing of tacitknowledge
    • Western society focuses onobjective, scientific ways of knowing.But we know that tacit ways of knowing area major avenue for building relationships.The same is true of relationships withnature.Toxic belief #5 - The devaluing of tacit knowledge
    • Corollary = Devaluing ofcaring• Feminine traits are devalued in general(e.g., feelings, intuitive thinking)• Therefore we resolve enviro conflicts onthe principle of justice (logic andrationality) rather than caring (emotion andintuition).
    • Corollary = Devaluing of thespiritual or sacred• Mainstream culture struggles with spiritualor sacred knowing – especially of nature• Indigenous cultures are quite opposite• Sacredness of nature is problematic?
    • Corollary = Lack of relationshipwith non-human nature• Rare for people to have relationships withnature today. (outdoor rec? Gardening?)• Lack of positive experiences in natural,non-urbanised environment. (80% of Austlive in cities over 100,000 in population.)• leaves less opportunity for caring forenvironment?• Scandinavian early schooling
    • Corollary = Sense of inertiaand powerlessness• Our education systems are passive (andreproductive of the dominant social order?See ideology of education)• Critical thinking for environmentalism isnot taught in mainstream education.• People feel powerless to make adifference (problem of scale)• Bioregionalism.
    • How does outdoor educationpractice support orclash/challenge the dominantsocial paradigm?
    • Practices thatsupportPractices thatchallengeWhat do we take forgranted as good toinclude in OE trips thatmay work against theunderstanding that weare seeking in students?What are some of thethings that people lookat and think you’re sillydoing?
    • Dominant paradigm?
    • Practices thatsupportPractices thatchallenge• Consumption of high techgear…and as a way toresolve human nature risks• Development of theindividual – selfactualisation.• Promotion of leadershipover membership• Dominance of nature’schallenges• Language? “worthless rock,poor snow etc”• Risk for no immediate gain• Rejection of comfort?• Selecting technology?• Promotion of groupoutcomes/community values• Valuing of non-humanspecies• Looking back?• Cyclical time valued?• Alternate ways of knowing?Affective valued
    • References• Brookes, A. (1994). Reading between the lines: Outdoorexperience as environmental “text.” Leisure Today(Journal or Physical Education, Recreation and Dance),v.65(8), 28-33,39.• Chenery, M. (1994, July). Looking back from the Bush: Aview of eco-ethical thinking from the perspective ofAustralian outdoor education. Paper presented at ART-Seminar on Eco-ethical thinking in a cross-culturalperspective. University of the Saarland, Germany