You & NatureWhat is your relationship with nature?
You darkness from which I come,I love you more than all the ﬁresthat fence out the world,for the ﬁre makes a circlefor everyoneso no one sees you anymore.But darkness holds it all:the shape and the ﬂame,the animal and myself,how it holds them,all powers, all sight—and it is possible: its great strength isbreaking into my body.I have faith in the night.-Rainer Maria Rilke(translated by David Whyte in Fire in theEarth)
“Now he seeks to become nobody for a while, to disappear into the woods so that the person he really is might ﬁnd him.” (Plotkin, 2003, p. 244)
Ecojustice TheoryThe roots of our domination over each other come fromthe same root of domination we feel over the earth.When biodiversity is threatened so is cultural diversityDominant elites exploit the earth and subordinated peoplesfor their own beneﬁt.Social justice, critical social theories, and multiculturalismare often anthropocentric
Summary Points of Ecojustice Theory1. Eliminating eco-racism2. Revitalizing the commons to create a balance between market and non-market aspects of community life3. Ending the industrialized nations’ exploitation and cultural colonization of third-world nations4. Ensure that the hubris and ideology of Western industrial culture does not diminish future generations’ ways of living and quality of life5. Support an “Earth Democracy”--the right of nature to ﬂourish rather than be contingent upon the demands of humans From ecojusticeeducation.org
Disrupting a Mindset of Anthropocentrism Thick Description includes:Questioning “root metaphors” in languageQuestioning human domination over nature practicesExposing “technology as our ecology” in curriculumAnalyzing history through an anti-anthropocentric lens
Ecojustice Teaching Methods Exploring the intersections ofcultural value system and ecology 1. Teacher-as-Mediator Aiming for thick description (relationships and tensions) 2. Investigating Mindsets Disrupting anthropocentric thinking and language 3. Commons-Based Learning Using the cultural commons as place- based learning experiences 4. Ecological Selves Deconstructing our technological/ ecological selves
Ecojustice Teaching Methods Exploring the intersections ofcultural value system and ecology5. Sustainable Feast Making dishes with foods that are in season and from within 100 miles away6. Community Mapping Investigating the surroundings of an area including its buildings, natural areas, types of land usage7. Earth-Walking Knowing the mythological and practical signiﬁcances of the natural area
Invitational Rhetoric Does not try to change or control students Validates various perspectives Creates safety, value & freedom
Invitational Rhetoric bell hooks states that she does not intend to create a classroom space that is comfortable. It is turbulent, frank, (fiery) and full of emotional disequilibrium That is the space that allows for us to get to what is real, honest, and authentic It should be done with great care and support, though.
Cooperative Learning Moving away from a top-down lecture At the college level: Small group discussions Papers that incorporated personal living experiences and reflective thinking
EmpowermentEducation is not neutral“Practice of freedom” - criticallyquestioning reality so that we may beable to transform our world
VoicePath for learningBeing heardSharing voice in communityExercising one’s agency -empowermentAffirming personalexperiences
Building CommunitySharing of power or “power-with”Shifting from individualism tocooperative mindsetsService learning projects
Building Community Daring to “Care”Nel Noddings states that classroom spaces becomesites of working on issues and concerns that studentscare aboutLearning (in the school setting) becomes a processthat students can genuinely care aboutStudents support and encourage one another in theirlearning experiences
Challenge Traditional Views Education is not neutral Questioning traditional views & practices of gender Questioning traditional content and presentations of “knowledge”
Ways of Knowing What are the different ways that we come to know information and construct knowledge?Observation Relationships MeasurementExperience Historically Power RelationsIntuition Intergenerationally MediaSpiritually Emotionally Senses
The EarthWestern Science:The Earth is a collection of materials, minerals, andchemicals in systems. Which “ways of knowing” construct this knowledge? Which “ways of knowing” are excluded? What is missing from this description of the Earth?
Ways of Knowing Western Science: The Earth is a collection of materials, minerals, and chemicals in systems.Observation Relationships MeasurementExperience Historically Power RelationsIntuition Intergenerationally MediaSpiritually Emotionally Senses
The EarthIndigenous Science:The Earth is an integrated, interdependent,interconnected, nurturing and spiritual being thatreciprocates life through balance and sustainability. Which “ways of knowing” construct this knowledge? Which “ways of knowing” are excluded? What is missing from this description of the Earth?
Ways of Knowing Indigenous Science: The Earth is an integrated, interdependent, interconnected, nurturing and spiritual being that reciprocates life through balance and sustainability.Observation Relationships MeasurementExperience Historically Power RelationsIntuition Intergenerationally MediaSpiritually Emotionally Senses
In a Lesson• As with any transformative pedagogy, it’s not about having the “right” method...• It’s about developing the “right” question. • Meaningful, thought-provoking, connected to real world issues
In a Lesson• Investigating “queered” relationships in the content• Investigating “queered” knowledges• Combining with aesthetic (ﬁne arts, performing arts, Theatre of the Oppressed) to provide divergent thinking and experiential processes• Purposely “othering” knowledge so that students can respond by calling out “othering”• Investigating how a community produces “queering”
In a Lesson• How was Boo Radley “queered” in To Kill a Mockingbird?• How was the Ugly Duckling “queered”?• How did Harvey Milk and his supporters ﬁght being politically “queered”?• Forum Theater on how queering happens in your school/classroom• How do boys “queer” each other based on deﬁnitions of masculinity?