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Ecological Intelligence: An Introduction
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Ecological Intelligence: An Introduction

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The note is a an original contribution from Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam , a development professional and a Cognitive Psychologist.The concept occured to me in 2003 while working for Save the Children UK …

The note is a an original contribution from Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam , a development professional and a Cognitive Psychologist.The concept occured to me in 2003 while working for Save the Children UK in Rapar ,Gujarat.

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  • I would be grateful if some could comment on this article comparing from the Daniel Golemans work on Ecological Intelligence. I think he picked up my sharing on this concept that I started mentioning in my posts since 2003 when I conceived the concept in 2003.
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  • I need to further note that the idea for the concept of ecological intelligence came to my mind in 2003 when I was working for Save the Children UK India as Programme Manager. I had some note on this since then. I could complete the same in 2009 and publish here in January. When doing a search for this I found a reference for the work of Daniel Goldman http://www.amazon.com/Ecological-Intelligence-Knowing-Impacts-Everything/dp/0385527829 and realised that my concept has been copyrighted. Thus, I would like to do some modification for the concept after analyzing the content of Danial Goldman's concept.
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  • I am pleased to announce this concept of Ecological Intelligence for ensuring that more and more men and women, youths, students, business leaders, HR leaders, national and international agencies become aware of the need to promote the concept for getting the desired responses that contribute in the cause of making future ecologically safe. Comments are welcome.
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  • 1. Ecological Intelligence: A Concept for Discussion by Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam Ecological Intelligence © A concept for addressing the climate change, measuring potentials of ecologically sound behaviour, consumption, production, decision and transport pattern ©Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam Conceived in June 2003 and shared with some friends in Europe January 2010 Intelligence is universal it exists among the members of all species. Ants, spiders, lions all have intelligence. Human beings have been granted the best intelligence with the knowledge of names. The capacity of naming things is what makes human being the supreme creation on earth. For some, this is referred as anthropocentric pride as they feel that this idea of human being the supreme has created exploitative attitudes and overexploitation of the resources of Earth at the cost of other species. However, behaviour patterns are different among the people with various faiths and various ideologies. Muslims believing in the commands of Allah are commanded to walk humbly on earth and asked to adopt the middle path. Buddhists follow the Madhaya Marga and Brahmins establish piety to be the highest virtue through recitation of the names and strong meditation. Humility and compassion is taught as an essential virtue by all the religious leaders. People of faith think that men and women not believing in commands of any messengers will tend to attain comforts utilising means that are prohibited in the religious traditions. The concept of ecological intelligence is proposed to cover all the consumption, behaviour, movement, and transport, production patterns where the decisions are to be influenced for making the best use of energy generated through organic and inorganic processes. The concept is being proposed for meeting the ecological challenges assuming the following: • Prevalent concepts and tools of intelligence do not measure the extent to which a person will take decisions conducive for ecological safety • Organisations seeking personnel do not have predictable tool that will provide results indicating potentiality of individuals towards making ecologically safe decisions • Operationalisation of the concept of ecological intelligence is needed for meeting the needs of climate change and ensuring that there is equity, social and global cohesion in accessing the renewable resource based livelihoods and services • Recession is required for emission of green house gases. Nations supporting boosting of economy through increasing spending of non-renewable GHH emitting resource based products are indulging in eco-crimes and undoing their work for ecological safety • We do not need higher and higher rates of growth for products, services and utilities that are based on GHG emitting resources.
  • 2. Ecological Intelligence: A Concept for Discussion by Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam • We do have secure energy supplies for all the time in the future .We would not be able to get all the energy if expand New Delhi like habitations across the country. A limit must be brought for safeguarding secure supply of the vital necessities of food,clean drinking water and fresh air across the urban and rural areas • India does not have secure supply of energy. It has a vision that may not be realised and that would not be sustainable in the long term. Nuclear energy is also based on the supply of thorium and uranium. • Replacement of energy sources for all the non-renewable resource based energy is not possible. Even if it was so, there is need to protect local economy and local support systems for communities. • Looking after the elderly parents becomes a major casualty for youth and couples who are forced to migrate to urban locations. Ecologically intelligence social policy ensures care of the elderly in the family setting as it has been the convention • There is a broad agreement among social scientists for working on safeguarding the interests of the future generations, addressing the health needs in the present and preparing for the end of petro-modern opulence and expansion of non-renewable resource based livelihoods. • There are various approaches for addressing the ecological challenges with convergence and divergence in measures across the nations. It is assumed that the concept of ecological intelligence will be a uniting factor based on the recognition of ecological safety, interspecies justice, equity personal and collective ecological wellbeing. DEFINITION OF ECOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE Ecological Intelligence can be referred to the manifestation of behavioural attributes that contribute in making of decisions that are ecologically safe at personal, local and global levels. The focus is on the decision that people make .An ecologically intelligent decision requires simultaneity at the global level. It is part of the civilisations. The Imam of a mosque using a zero watt bulb for assembly of men praying in the month of Ramadhan is a decision that is ecologically sound .The decision could be attributed to the general command for minimising consumption. The use of zero watt bulbs is good for saving money and energy. It calls for development of a holistic consciousness where an individual relates to the joys and suffering of fellow human beings both at local and global level. For example, a person living in a big city like New Delhi thinks of fellow men and women in the neighbouring villages where thousands and millions pursue agriculture based livelihoods and fellow men and women in Andamans, other villages, rural areas who get affected due to their consumption decisions. Ecological Intelligence refers to the measure of intelligence that could be used for the following • Human resource development for ecologically safe organisations • Development of ecologically sustainable and sound business development strategy • Educational planning and management • Pedagogic innovations • Curriculum renewal • Policy making
  • 3. Ecological Intelligence: A Concept for Discussion by Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam •Voters education for choosing men and women who would support the development and implementation of ecologically sustainable social development policy PARAMETERS OF ECOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE FOR INDIVIDUALS • Awareness of ecological sustainability • Awareness of the difference between the renewable and non-renewable resources • Awareness of the limits of sustainability of the non-renewable resources • Energy resources and crisis • Awareness of the climate change findings • Awareness of the independence of decisions and choices for ecological safety • Awareness of personal responsibility for eliminating the emission of green house gas emissions • Amount of personal contributions to emissions • Amount of time spent in communicating for reduction in emission of green house gases • Amount of carbon neutral time (inter-personal, inter-group interaction, speeches and others) ECOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE FOR ORGANISATIONS Ecologically intelligent organisations demonstrate work for ecological safety and contribute in the reduction of the emission of green house gas emissions. They design HR policies so that men and women respecting ecologically safe practices in the organisation are employed. Ecological Intelligence of the organisations is reflected through the following: • Work space design ensures use of sunlight only. Working hours are limited to days and the work is accomplished during the day • HR policies include adoption of austerity in consumption and measurement of ecological footprints. Organisation ensure tree planting for all mile travelled through air • Equity is ensured in wages and hierarchy in the organisation is managed following the best practices of ecological safety. Men and women at key positions ensure that their position is safeguarding only through the six monthly measurements. Spending is monitored and they are reported for its urgency and for its implications for ecological safety • Products indicate not only the content but also the extent to which they are based on GHG emitting gases. Some of the renewable resource based products are recyclable such as iron is recyclable provided there is energy for melting the iron and designing new products. This is however possible for only limited number of products after all the petroleum has exhausted. Considering such as scenario of total exhaustion of the non-renewable resources such as petroleum, there is need to prepare for the end of petro-modern era along with the services and utilities that are possible only with the fossil fuels. FOR GOVERNMENTS
  • 4. Ecological Intelligence: A Concept for Discussion by Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam Ecologically intelligent government meeting the obligation of the future generation while ensuring distributive justice for renewable resource based livelihoods, habitats. Ecologically intelligent government will demonstrate the following: • Awareness of ecological sustainability of the services offered by the government • Awareness of the difference between the renewable and non-renewable resources and its integration in the policy development for various ministries • Awareness of the limits of sustainability of the non-renewable resources • Preparedness for the end of petro-modern era • Sharp appreciation of basket of Energy resources and plans for addressing the crisis effectively and sustainably • Awareness of the climate change findings and its use in the building the economic and cultural policy • Awareness of the interdependence of decisions and choices for ecological safety • Awareness of personal and public responsibility for eliminating the emission of green house gas emissions • Amount of public sector contributions to emission of green house gases • Amount of time spent in communicating for reduction in emission of green house gases • Amount of carbon neutral time (inter-personal, inter-group interaction, speeches and others) spent for addressing the issues related to development and climate change ECOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE Ecological intelligence refers to the measurement of the potentiality of men and women for making decisions that are ecologically safe. Thus it is the decisions based on perceptions and learnings that are key defining features of ecological intelligence. It is the decision that men, women and children make that will be described through the measures of ecological intelligence. Emotional Intelligence on the other hand measures behaviours such as empathy, compassion; concern for expectations of significant others. MEASURES OF ECOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE Ecological intelligence needs to measure by a set of psychological tests that measure the following: 1. Extent to which a person believes in the oneness of humanity. Belief generated through either secular lesson or through religious learning generate response for temporal and eternal wellbeing of all 2. Extent to which a person believes in the belief in the common destiny of civilisations 3. Extent to which a person believes in the belief in seeking equitable and ecologically sustainable future for future generations 4. the extent to which a person believes in ecologically safe behaviour and its contribution to personal and collective ecological wellbeing Tests of Ecological Intelligence
  • 5. Ecological Intelligence: A Concept for Discussion by Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam Considering the above there is a need to develop tests and establish measures of reliability and validity. The tests will be used by organisations, universities for various purposes eliminating all the possible source of bias in the test. Proposal S.N. Situation Ecologically Intelligent Ecological Hostile response /Stupid /malignant response 1 Transport use patterns Choosing the mode Choosing public transport and Choosing personal transport of transport halting the purchase of personal when there is an option for vehicles public transport 2 Habitat designs Choose an ecologically Choosing designs that will sustainable design for trading require modification as soon and commercial centre. as there is no replacement for government offices taking care fossil fuel based energy of the unsustainability of non- renewable resource based services 3 Urban Planning Urban planning takes care of Urban planning is based on the limits of non-renewable some belief that there will be exhaustible resources such as full scale replacement of fossil petroleum. Automobiles, lifts fuel based energy in the based on fossil fuels will no future. This kind of vision longer be available when the without any guarantee for the reserves of the fossil fuel is over full-scale replacement of energy 4 Domestic Consumption a Products Consuming ecologically safe Consuming products and products produced through services based on the use of carbon neutral processes with ecologically unsustainable minimum involvement of green house gas emitting fossil machines based on the use of fuel causing global warming energy 5 Choosing the • Neighbourhoods • Choosing schools schools for schools within walking involving long children distance distance travels 6 Shopping • Neighbourhood • Avoiding shops in the shopping with minimum neighbourhood travel • Promotion of distant • Promotion of local shopping malls
  • 6. Ecological Intelligence: A Concept for Discussion by Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam markets • Throwing away the • Repair of old energy repairable energy efficient gadgets rather efficient gadgets than buying 7 • Practicing prayer 5 times • Using energy intensive Leisure a day discos for so called • Walking to unwinding neighbourhood for • Long distance leisure social interaction travels • Eliminating travel for • Ignoring leisure neighbourhoods • Avoiding energy intensive travels • Avoiding energy intensive facilities such as discos, bars and other Use of surplus • Helping the poor ,old • Ostentatious income/ disposable and orphans consumption income Energy policy Ecologically intelligent Ecologically stupid energy energy policy appreciates policy does not appreciate the the end of petro-modern era end of petro-modern era and and calls for minimising calls for maximising consumption of GHG consumption of GHG emission utilties ,services emission utilities, services and and products products. For example ,Japan is injecting trillions for increasing spending without educating people on ecologically safe consumption Advertisement Ecologically intelligent Ecologically hostile advertisements ensure the use advertisements ensure the use of renewable materials and of non-renewable materials ecologically safe methods and ecologically unsafe methods Films/ theatre Ecologically intelligent films Ecologically hostile and stupid demonstrate the need for films glamorise ecologically ecologically safe behaviour and hostile behaviour and enterprises enterprises. They tend to glamorise role models who seek to build and own ecologically hostile spaces and properties Workplace Ecologically intelligent Ecologically stupid workplace workplace design includes space design does not have space
  • 7. Ecological Intelligence: A Concept for Discussion by Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam for collective prayer for collective prayer and promotes ecologically hostile working hours using lots of energy. Business process outsourcing is good here in India but in the long term they will not sustain IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATION POLICY, PEDAGOGY, QUALITY MEASUREMENT AND FINANCING OF THE PROJECTS Integration on environment sustainability is part of the UN millennium development goals. International Financial Institutions such as International Monetary Fund is being faulted for not having integrating the environment sustainability in its funding decisions. There is need to measure ecological intelligence and ensure its consideration in HR, policy assessment, assessment of political visions across the nations. There are urgent implications for assessing the curriculum of school children and pedagogy for ensuring that ecologically intelligent behaviour is rewarded and ecologically hostile behaviour and consumption is negatively reinforced.