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Re-Thinking Our Way to the Future We Want

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In this webinar, Jaimie Cloud explores with participants the cognitive frameworks/mental models that drive the unsustainable behavior that is often paradoxically inconsistent with our values. She explains how thinking drives behavior and behavior causes results, and how we can evolve our thinking. Since the “most upstream place” to intervene for positive change is to think about our thinking (Meadows), Jaimie suggests some more accurate mental models for decision-making that can accelerate the shift toward sustainability and regeneration. We will discuss the use of brain-based strategies for helping people to re-frame/re-appraise/re-wire towards the future we want. It all begins with a change in thinking.

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Re-Thinking Our Way to the Future We Want

  1. 1. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Inspiring people to think about the world, their relationship to it, and their ability to influence it in an entirely new way. Jaimie P. Cloud, President www.cloudinstitute.org
  2. 2. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License What do we want to sustain? For whom? For how long? …and what does brain science have to do with it? So What Kind of Future do we Want?
  3. 3. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Sustain-ability “The capability to thrive over time by contributing to the social and physical systems upon which we depend” Jaimie P. Cloud
  4. 4. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Sustain-ability “The possibility that human and other life will flourish on the planet forever” John R. Ehrenfeld
  5. 5. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Sustain-ability "A sustainable society is one that is far-seeing enough, flexible enough, and wise enough not to undermine either its physical or its social systems of support.” Donella Meadows
  6. 6. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Original citation (2006): www.footprintnetwork.org/download.php?id=7654 - updated/adapted 2014
  7. 7. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License We wouldn’t need Education for Sustainability if there was no such thing as un-sustainable
  8. 8. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License “All systems are perfectly designed to get the results they get.” (Richmond)
  9. 9. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License “It is worth noting that this is not the work of ignorant people.” (Orr; 1994)
  10. 10. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License What are we thinking? Thinking Drives Behavior and Behavior Causes Results
  11. 11. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License The Ladder of Inference I take ACTIONS based on my beliefs I adopt BELIEFS about the world I draw CONCLUSIONS I make ASSUMPTIONS based on the meaning I added I add MEANINGS (cultural & personal) I select “DATA” from what I observe OBSERVABLE “DATA” and EXPERIENCES (as a video camera might capture it) “THE BOX” Schema Habit of Mind Mental Model Mindset Mental Map Hardwiring Frame Paradigm Cognitive - Framework “Our prior experiences with the world inform what we can perceive” -Lisa Feldman Source: The Fifth Discipline (Peter Senge)
  12. 12. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Mindlessness is not stupidity. Mindlessness is a state in which the brain is trapped in the past (operating out of habit) (Ellen Langer)
  13. 13. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Why is it so easy to get stuck in our thinking? “Everything that happens is reported to the brain as absolute fact.” (Langer) “Everything is internally consistent within the frame we are operating.” (Senge) “Most people make sense to themselves.” (Jones)
  14. 14. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License What are we thinking? What is the thinking that is driving our behavior that seems to make sense… …but over time results in undermining the health of the systems upon which we depend?
  15. 15. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License What are we thinking? The Story of the Fish Game Once upon a time…
  16. 16. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Behavior Over Time 40 0 10 Total#ofFish Time (Rounds) Indiv Accumulation Fish Stock Group Accumulation
  17. 17. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Behavior Over Time Individual Accumulation Fish Stock Group Accumulation 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Time (Rounds) Total # Fish 36 32 28 24 20 16 12 8 4 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Time (Rounds) Total # Fish 36 32 28 24 20 16 12 8 4 0 Unsustainable Example Sustainable Example
  18. 18. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License The Titanic A classic mental model There isn’t enough to go around. (Assumption of Scarcity) We’re going down, so…
  19. 19. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Things are the way they are and there is nothing I/we can do about it. The Bummer A classic mental model
  20. 20. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License to produce the greatest benefit for society as a whole (and vice versa). -Idea presented by Adam Smith 1776 Maximizing Gains for Self A classic mental model The invisible hand leads all individuals, in pursuit of their own self-interests
  21. 21. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License “Neoclassical” Model of the Economy measured by GDP
  22. 22. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Social Trap A classic mental model If others do it, I may as well…. If no one else does it, why should I? What is true if one person does it is not true if everyone does it.
  23. 23. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Theory of Confidence A Classic Mental Model The market, technology, government, or someone/something else will take care of it.
  24. 24. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License It’s Only a Game A Classic Mental Model Let’s just play and see what happens.
  25. 25. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Greed A Classic Mental Model I want a lot and I don’t care about the consequences.
  26. 26. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Zero Sum Game A Classic Mental Model Zero Sum Game You can either win or lose. I play to win! Vs Non-Zero Sum Game For anyone to win everyone has to win because the players are interdependent.
  27. 27. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Anthropocentric A Classic Mental Model I was thinking about what I needed and what you were going to do. Nature wasn’t even on my mind.
  28. 28. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Everything is Substitutable A Classic Mental Model Resources are unlimited and everything is substitutable. (Something proven false by biologists & physicists.)
  29. 29. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License The Control Freak A Classic Mental Model I am in control. What I say goes.
  30. 30. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License And some people aren’t thinking at all…
  31. 31. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License
  32. 32. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License The Results of being stuck in our thinking • We often operate without the information we need • We ignore/can’t see the feedback (believing is seeing) “If we cannot hear or see feedback, we cannot perceive relevant data for our brains to filter” - Ochsner • We exhibit characteristics of insanity • Our “solutions” backfire on us or we shift the burden
  33. 33. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License THINGS CHANGE Will we? Life is dynamic—it adapts and evolves (Nothing so Constant as Change…) The past is not a predictor of the future.
  34. 34. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Genesis
  35. 35. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Ptolemy
  36. 36. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Copernicus
  37. 37. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License It all begins with a change in thinking
  38. 38. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Definition of SHIFTING MENTAL MODELS • :an altering of one's existing schema, (a cognitive framework). As a result of new knowledge, new information, new experiences and applied insights, new cognitive connections are formed and new schemas are developed Goal: Increased Understanding
  39. 39. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Shifting Mental Models • We can’t “unwire” our brains, but we can“ re-wire” them. Brain scientists call that reappraisal/reframing; Educators call it accommodation (Piaget) • When re-wiring/re-framing/re-appraising, we need to exercise our “free won’t” …so we can exercise our free will to think differently
  40. 40. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Enduring Understandings for a Sustainable Future Practical Idealist A healthy and sustainable future is possible.
  41. 41. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Enduring Understandings for a Sustainable Future Live by the Natural Laws We must operate within natural “laws” and principles rather than attempt to overcome them. It’s non-negotiable.
  42. 42. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License All Systems are Nested in Other Systems
  43. 43. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Enduring Understandings for a Sustainable Future Healthy Systems Have Limits Tap the power of limits Note: Please do not confuse the mental model of scarcity with the reality of limits. Limits are not a loss of autonomy. They are thresholds beyond which it is not wise to go…
  44. 44. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License We Are All In This Together We are all interdependent on each other and on the natural systems upon which all life depends. Enduring Understandings for a Sustainable Future
  45. 45. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Enduring Understandings for a Sustainable Future Reciprocity Rules In the context of interdependence, self interests are best served through the development of mutually beneficial relationships.
  46. 46. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Enduring Understandings for a Sustainable Future We Are All Responsible Everything we do, and everything we don’t do, makes a difference.
  47. 47. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Brain Based Strategies for Shifting Mental Models • Experiences that transform • Ask different questions • Tell stories • Activate the creative process • Think about our thinking
  48. 48. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Brain Based Strategies for Shifting Mental Models • Reflect • Empathize • Change Perspective • Focus on the results of our own behavior and take responsibility for the difference we make (read the feedback & self correct)
  49. 49. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Shifting Mental Models • Some mental models are easier to shift than others. (Ask Copernicus.) • The mental models of children and young people change over time with new knowledge and applied insight. • Do the mental models of adults change over time with new knowledge and applied insight?
  50. 50. The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License Educating for Sustainability with the Brain in Mind cloudinstitute.org/blog/efs-brain cloudinstitute.org/contact-us Contact Information

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