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Sustainability & Progressive Change:

A Social Ecology Perspective

Adjunct Professor Stuart B. Hill


University of Western Sydney
s.hill@uws.edu.au
www.stuartbhill.com
A little about me: Stuart Baxter Hill,
& my experience with this topic

born during WWII in Aylesbury (80 km N of London, UK)


Recent co-authored books:
Ecological Pioneers: A Social History of Australian Ecological
Thought and Action (with Dr Martin Mulligan; Cambridge UP, 2001)

Learning for Sustainable Living: Psychology of Ecological


Transformation (with Dr Werner Sattmann-Frese; Lulu, 2008)
The task is not just to see
what no one has yet seen,
but also to think
what no one has thought
about what everybody sees

Modified from: Arthur Schopenhauer, 1890


Planet
• exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves & other non-renewable resources

• global warming, associated climatic changes & rising sea level

• thinning of ozone layer & accumulation of ‘waste matter' in space

• fluctuating water tables, drought, drying lakes & rivers, & flooding

• contamination of soil, water & organisms with pollutants

• deforestation, desertification, soil erosion & land degradation

• loss of habitat, biodiversity, species, varieties & cultivars


Why do so many of us keep making the
same mistakes that lead to these problems?
Rural societies & economies
• war, prejudice, oppression & maldistribution problems

• displacement from land & lack of access to basic needs

• farm bankruptcies, decaying rural communities, & loss of social &


cultural capital

• increasing dependence on subsidies, imported inputs & ‘experts’

• dependence on unstable distant & world markets & other external


controls

• malnourishment, zoonoses (diseases of ‘lower’ animals that can infect


humans), allergies, stress-related & degenerative conditions

• illiteracy, learning disabilities, emotional disturbance & depression

• ‘compensatory’, addictive, compulsive, aggressive & self-harming


behaviours

• feelings of isolation, hopelessness & helplessness


It’s time to question the old approaches!

“Listen… I am fed up with this ‘weeding out the sick and


the old’ business … I want something in its prime”
Gary Larson
We must extend the boundaries of our thinking
(modified from Geoff, L. & P. Smoker 1997. Peace: an evolving idea. Future Generations J. 23 (2): 4-9)

War Prevention Structural Condits. Holistic Complex Models


Balance No Inter- Inner-
Absence of Violence Feminist cultural Gaia Outer
of War Forces Peace Peace Peace Peace

O Environmental
U
T Cultural
E
R Transnational

P
Between States

Within States
Peace
E
A Community
C Family &
E Individual

Inner Peace
3 stages of perception

1. deceptive simplicity:
heavy-handed solutions (with unexpected disbenefits)

2. confusing (often paralysing) complexity:


puzzlement, more studies, committees

3. profound simplicity: ‘ahas’, elegant paradoxical

contextually-relevant ‘solutions’ (+ unexpected benefits),


e.g., using ‘love’ vs. ‘fear’ as the basis for ALL actions
In most 'modern' societies governance for wellbeing
(personal, social & ecological) remains a minor concern, an
add-on, or a minimalist, 'shallow' (green-wash) program,
designed to avoid litigation & voter disquiet

It is the poor cousin of economic governance (for ongoing


growth in productivity, profit, & associated inequitable access to power)
The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) must be regarded
just as a transitional decision-making framework

The economy
& money
These are ‘social Society
constructions’ that need
to be reframed as ‘tools’
Envir
to enable us to act on
our ‘higher’ values
An economic system of values prevents responsible
actions re the wellbeing of humans & nature

Pille Bunnell & Nicolas Sonntag, 2000. Pers. Com.


Over-focus on ‘productivity’, profit,
power & getting quick dramatic results

• predictably leads to burn-out, only short-term,


limited benefits, & often unexpected disbenefits
(additional problems that are often initially unrecognised)
We need to place much more focus on:
• rehabilitation & ‘maintenance’ activities

• caring for one another (& other species & the environment)

• celebration

• venting feelings, & access to ‘healing’ support, etc

• prioritising time & resources for these activities

• & realising that sustained productivity is emergent


from the effective maintenance of whole systems
Rewards to natural resource managers,
such as farmers

• Productivity • Erodes natural capital


yield, output & ecological integrity
(declining productivity)

• Rehabilitation & • Builds natural capital,


maintenance ecological integrity
(basis for sustained
productivity)
Failure to maintain systems is resulting in:
personal, social & environmental degradation

We urgently need to learn:


– particularly from psychology & ecology –
how to better live more caring, sustainable
& genuinely meaningful healthy lives
A ‘life-enabling’ triple bottom line

• Planet, environment, ecological systems, nature

• Socio-cultural: institutional structures &


processes in politics, economics, business,
education, technology, religion…

• People: communities, groups, families,


individuals (you & me!)
Parallel interrelated processes involved in change:

What meaningful do-able initiatives can we take in each


of these areas to support ‘progressive’ cultural change?
Short definition of SOCIAL ECOLOGY (Hill 2011)
The study & practice of personal, social & ecological
sustainability & ‘progressive’ change based on the
critical application & integration of ecological,
humanistic, relational, community & 'spiritual' values to
enable the sustained wellbeing of all.
Upper levels affect lower levels

Our species with its Planet Earth


rich cultural diversity

Industrialised
‘Western’ world Zoogeograhical
population region (Australiasia)

Country & state Country, state &


population bioregion

Community, interest, Catchment, town,


work, religious & suburb, village…
professional groups

Family, friends, Work & play


and workmates places
Self Home
(actors) (place)
Lower levels affect upper levels
Dominant Grand Neglected/Blocked
Narrative of ‘Progress’
 production (regardless of cost)  maintenance, caring
 growth, no limits  sustainability, limits
(resources, ecological…)
 wealth  sense of enough
 individualism  community,
mutualistic relationships
 consumerism  conserver society
(emphasising compensatory wants) (meeting basic needs)

 homogenisation,  maintenance of &


simplification support for diversity
 ‘controlling’ science  ‘understanding’ science
(‘understanding’ science & & arts
arts as a disposable luxury)
Dominant Grand Neglected/Blocked
Narrative of ‘Progress’
 market forces (manipulated  appropriate technologies
demand, excessive advertising) (decentralised, repairable)

 economic rationalism  meeting greatest ‘good’


(monetary system of values) (social justice…)
 transglobal corporate  regional self-reliance &
managerialism responsibility
 mobile disposable workforce  sense of place, right
(disconnected from place) to meaningful work

The myths that these are We need to search for new


embedded in are life-promoting myths that
inadequate for securing a can accommodate these
‘good’ future for most in characteristics: some can
present & future be found within nature
generations (bio-ecology & psychology)
Ecologists studying other animal species
ask primarily four questions:
• How many are there? - 'numbers'
• How are they distributed? - 'distribution'
• What are they doing? - 'activities'
• What are their relationships with the 'environment‘?

Thus, to be responsible we must ask of ourselves:


• How many is optimum?
• How should & shouldn’t we distribute ourselves?
• What should & shouldn’t we do?
• How should & shouldn’t we relate to & interact with the
environment ( taking into account its ‘carrying capacity’)?
Population
activities

Resource
need & use

Environmental
impact
Population Population
numbers distribution

Sustainable Unsustainable
If any species (including our own) has: 
• high numbers
• highly aggregated distribution
(located away from the resources it needs)
• highly consumptive lifestyle

then it will: 
• need & will consume lots of resources
• have a high impact on the environment

& so, will eventually become unsustainable

the time taken to experience this will be shorter the


lower the environment’s ‘carrying capacity’
If a species has:
• low numbers

• is distributed close to the resources it needs

• has a conserver lifestyle

• lives in an environment with a high ‘carrying


capacity’

then it should be able to live sustainably


Resilience
Capability of living systems to persist when
'challenged' (by 'insults' &/or lack of resources):

• dependent on interactions between 'genetic',


historical & contextual factors

• can be increased by capital building processes at


all levels (including individuals, groups & ecosystems)

• reduced by capital eroding processes; so,


requires effective system maintenance practices
The Illusion
• Advanced:
 technologically

 also psychosocially?
We must recognise that we are
evolving psychosocially

…& must plan for better futures


rather than more efficient & controlled pasts
What might be the outcomes if the next
step in our psychosocial evolution is:

from economics-obsessed,
socializing (manipulative,
controlling, problem-solving)
cultures (compensatory, back-
end/reactive patterned living)

to higher values-based,
life-enabling cultures
(proactive, spontaneous living)
Psychosocial evolution of child development
(de Mause 1982 Foundations of Psychohistory, Creative Roots, New York)

Enabling

Enabling recognises all humans as social, potentially benign beings,


capable of developing their own agendas; & it is supportive of this
All other stages impose adult agendas on children & others,
& so undermine their potential development
Socialising, like all previous stages in our psychosocial
evolution, involves the excessive imposition by adults,
& society in general, of foreign agendas
(invariably inappropriate in content & with respect to time & space)
on children & others who (if not wounded) have their own benign,
uniquely personal & contextually fine-tuned agendas

This oppressive process results in young people’s


disempowerment, loss of awareness, the development of
adaptive non-benign thoughts & behaviours, & a sense of
disconnectedness, both from their external & internal worlds
moment-to-moment they must choose to conform or rebel
In contrast to this, enabling approaches to child-rearing
& education have the potential to support the development
of individuals who are empowered, aware, loving, caring,
responsible, creative, visionary, knowledgeable,
competent, relational, wise, & with a zest for life

Such individuals are likely to be much more capable


of acting alone, & in collaboration with others,
to radically transform & redesign
our institutional structures & process, & our lifestyles,
to make the world a better place for all
In considering our roles as teachers in
enabling these changes it is important to
remember that we teach two things:

the subject/curriculum

& ourselves
Recall a particularly
‘meaningful learning moment’

I suspect you recalled a person/teacher


rather than a subject
Hence the importance of focussing on our:

love of life & passion for learning

authenticity & transparency

caring & compassion

active & empathic listening: being heard

supporting student’s learning agendas

mentoring & modelling

vs. just the curriculum, resources, assessment...


Most current education is socialising/colonising
education that emphasises (modified from O’Sullivan 1999):

Inequitable, hierarchical
differentiation
(winners & losers)

Colonising
education

Predictability & Individualism


naive objectivity & competition
(cleverness) (non-relational)
What is needed is transformative education
that enables (modified from O’Sullivan 1999):

Equitable differentiation
(valuing difference)

Transformative
education

Spontaneity & Mutualistic,


deep subjectivity caring
(wisdom) relationships
Significance
(the educators’ agenda for the students)

Socialising/
colonising
pedagogy?

Quality learning Intellectual quality


environment (neglecting wisdom
(controlled - in the school) & the ‘unknown’)
Students’ learning agendas
(supported & enabled by teachers)

Enabling/
transformative
pedagogy

Supportive learning Ongoing, whole-person


environments, resources, (intellectual, physical,
experiences & opportunities for emotional, relational &
reflection (alone & with others), ‘spiritual’) development
within & beyond the school (wisdom included)
Whole person learning

Head
Thinking
Cognitive

Soul/Spirit
Values/Ethics
Agenda/
Heart Mission Hands
Feeling Physical Body
Affective
Action
Emotional
Keys for enabling transformative learning:
• empathic & responsive listening

• gaining trust

• meeting each student’s specific needs

• being ‘critically’ supportive & loving

• mentoring, modelling, inspiring, challenging

• acknowledging, celebrating

• creating supportive structures & processes


Keys for enabling transformative learning: (cont.)

• supportive contexts & experiences for


emergent, owned initiatives (experiential)

• opportunities to reflect on processes,


learnings & outcomes (including ‘mistakes’)

• being playful, humorous

• being paradoxical (part of wisdom)

• extending boundaries of thinking & action

• providing access to supportive, &


inspirational resources
Another’s agenda for anyone can only
ever be second best to their own
(from their empowered, aware, unwounded/healed,
loving, visionary ,ethical, relational self)
Establishment of maladaptive ‘compensatory’ selves
Hurt Oppression

Adaptation
(maladaptation)

Core ‘healthy’
self/essence
Hurt
Oppression
Core Maladaptive
‘Healthy’ ‘Compensatory’ Multiple
•spontaneous •patterned Distorted potentially
Selves ‘healthy’ behaviour
•aware •unaware
•empowered •disempowered Superimposed
•loving •fearful ‘unhealthy’ behaviour
•informed action •acting out
The way I look at
it, for what I lose
in freedom I gain
in security
Most of the time we behave as if we
were hypnotised twice

firstly into accepting pseudoreality


as reality, &

secondly into believing we were


not hypnotised

R. D. Laing 1971
The Politics of the Family
REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE

REPAIR REFRAIN REFUSE


RESCUE REGENERATE REDESIGN
REFLECT REVIEW RE-EVALUATE
READ RISK REGISTER
RULES RESPONSIBILITY RECOVER
REVOLT REBEL RECONSIDER
REFUTE REBUKE REGULATE

Etc, etc, AND all other letters & alphabets


Stages in understanding (Rachel Lauer’s ‘epistemes’ 1983)

1. initial recognition of thing or concept

2. its definition & measurement

3. understanding its relationships/parallels


4. critical reflection on it (going deeper)

5. recognizing its paradoxical & unknown


qualities (going beyond the thing!)
Known & unknown

What is unknown
(the focus of ‘wisdom’)

What is known
(the focus of ‘cleverness’)
The challenge: how to engage clearly with the unknown & mystical
André Voisin, 1959. Soil, Grass and Cancer. Longmans, London
We tend to over-focus on knowledge &
data; & neglect wisdom & experience

• most wisdom cannot be supported by data;


it involves working with the unknown – most of
what is – not just the limited known; often in
ways that rely on intuition & gut feelings, etc
Clever people know how
to solve problems

Wise people avoid them!

Attributed to Albert Einstein


Stuart B Hill: 2003 (Campus Review)

In response to 9/11:
“…all those who have it figured out, from whatever
angle, are the problem; if the world is going to change
it will be by enough of us being
WILLING TO NOT KNOW,
so that a new kind of knowing might emerge”
Progressive spiral

To act

Knowing
To learn

Unknowing
Because all such neglected resources offer
enormous opportunities for improved use

the future may be much more hopeful


than is generally imagined
We need to be much better at:

• recognising, valuing & involving the wisest &


most experienced in our societies; & not be so
obsessed with cleverness
(whereas wisdom enables us to work with the unknown & know,
cleverness is limited to working with the miniscule known)
‘Unknowns’ (things we don’t have simple, neat answers for) can:
have questions asked about them

be mapped

researched (conventionally & on internet)

related to one’s life, experiences, hopes


(in fact, everything, even the curriculum)

lead to designing, & possibly carrying out,


small meaningful initiatives/experiments

dramatised

be a stimulus for art, poetry, prose, music

& projects, in & beyond the school/community

AND, they don’t need to be answered


(at least, not by you in that moment)
Emphasising problem-solving approaches
(back-end, reactive/responsive, curative ‘solutions’)

• makes us focus on symptom management & neglect


the need to address the underlying maldesign
& mismanagement roots of all problems

• over-focus on the endless measuring of problems


(a main strategy used for postponing action - by those who
benefit from the status quo – ‘monitoring our extinction’)

• & over-focus on efficiency & substitution strategies,


e.g., in agriculture, improved application of pesticides, & on
finding less disruptive (but still ‘curative’, purchased) substitutes,
such as biological controls & genetically modified organisms

same story in all other areas: medicine, energy, etc


Hill’s ESR problem-solving/proofing model

Conventional
P

Efficiency

P
P

Substitution
Redesign/design
Unrealised potential of design/redesign
3 etc

REDESIGN
(proactive)

SUBSTITUTION
EFFICIENCY
(both primarily reactive)
We need to:

• redesign existing systems (& design new systems)

to make them as problem-proof as possible

• & enable effective change from flawed


/defective systems to significantly more
improved (sustainable, wellbeing enabling) ones
Testing questions for
evaluating all ‘progressive’ initiatives
Does it support?

Socio-political/cultural (capital & sustainability)

• building & maintaining trust, access, collaborative,


life-affirming community structures & processes

• reflexive, critical, imaginative, celebrational attitudes

• cultural diversity & respectful, caring, mutualistic


relationships

• cultural development & psychosocial co-evolution


Does it support?

Personal (capital & sustainability)


• spontaneity, curiosity & engagement

• empowerment, awareness, respect of the unknown

• creative visioning, values & worldviews clarification

• acquisition of essential literacies & competencies

• building & maintaining vitality, health & wellbeing

• caring, loving, responsible, negentropic relationships

• lifelong personal development & responsibility


Does it support?

Environmental/natural (capital & sustainability)

• life-supporting ecological (maintenance & developmental)


processes that enable wellbeing & resilience

• conserving habitats & ‘functional’ high biodiversity

• ecosystem development & co-evolutionary change


Does it support?

General foci

• proactive, whole system design/redesign for


enabling wellbeing & problem prevention

• small/doable, meaningful, collaborative initiatives

• windows of change & use of integrator-indicators

• attentive to all outcomes & feedback


The challenge - how to change?

How to best enable cultural transformation?


Progressive change is often first ridiculed
Just because you’re outnumbered
doesn’t mean you’re wrong
5 overlapping stages in change (Hill 2005)

• ignorance & denial (in any area: climate...)

• awareness & acknowledgement

• gaining understanding & competence

• effective action & project-based initiatives

• ongoing co-evolution of responsible


life-affirming practices (how we now live)
Psychosocial evolution & transformative
institutional & structural change (from above to below)

• Socialising

• Exclusionary
• Problem focus hierarchical social
institutions

• Enabling

• Participatory
• Redesign/design social institutions
(co-operacy)
Shared – dare I call it – WISDOM – 2007
www.stuartbhill.com; s.hill@uws.edu.au

• Ask of all theory & practice – what is it in the


service of? – before supporting or copying it
Appropriate next steps are:
• deeply personal &
• highly context specific

This is why:
•formulaic,
•centrally-directed &
•imposed change

 always fails to achieve its stated aims &

 invariably causes more problems than it solves


Decisions to make re all change

• what to stop doing

• what to reduce/de-emphasise

• what to do differently

• what to increase/expand

• what to start doing (new)


Decisions to make re all change (cont.)

• what will it take to do this?

• what are the barriers & what


will remove & weaken them?

• what resources are needed &


available (particularly locally) &
how to get them?
Kurt Lewin’s ‘Force Field Analysis’
add
strengthen

Driving forces*

Restraining forces (barriers)*

*external
remove & internal
weaken
Limiting factors for change
(the commonly mentioned ‘barriers’)

• information & access to it, misinformation,


knowledge, skills, competencies…

• resources: renewable, non-renewable,


technologies, money, time…

• institutional supports: policies, programs,


structures, services, legislation, regulations…
Forms of political action
Supports (need to be ongoing)
• education, demonstration & models
• extension & other services
• research & development
• legislation & regulation

Rewards
(only available during transition period to prevent development of dependence)
• tax incentives
• subsidies
• low interest loans

Penalties (for those who act irresponsibly)


• monitoring programs
• legislation & its implementation
Limiting factors for change
(usually the more important ones)

• family & community support

• empowerment/disempowerment
(feelings of helplessness/hopelessness)

• awareness

• vision & imagination

• values, worldviews, paradigms, beliefs

• persistent denial, procrastination &


distractive/compensatory activities
‘Extension’ in complex situations
Increasing
people skills

Human development

Education

Problem solving
Technical Technology
know how transfer
Short-term Longer-term

Increasing complexity of situations

modified from Peter Van Beek, 1993


Framework for planning change
Beyond Average 5-10 1 2 1 Before
average lifetime years year months week going
lifetime to bed
tonight

Self

Family

Work/Enterprise/
Business
Local community

Local landscape/
Environment

Strategic questions: What would it take to…….?


What gets in the way & what would remove these ‘barriers’?
One radical way to progress our thinking & action
is paradoxically (in a workshop context) to boldly 'lie'
about changes that you have already brought about
(that you have actually not brought about!)

This enables us to vision in relation to our benign potential,


rather than settle for tinkering with the status quo

By daring to engage in such 'deep' reflection & implementation


of meaningful doable initiatives, we can significantly contribute
to changing the world for the better
Evidence of our behavioural & health potential
(Peckham Experiment, UK, 1926-1950: www.thephf.org)
Community/health centre
• over 1,000 families (up to 550 at any one time)

• access to a range of facilities (pool, gym etc.)

• glass walls (all activity areas visually accessible)

• free to choose activities (but recorded)

• minimal supervision

• organic cafeteria (linked to organic farm)

• annual ‘health’ audit as a family (where you ‘stand’)

• access to essential information (talks, referrals,


networking, interest-groups, ‘gossip’ etc)
Peckham Experiment (cont.)

• initial 6- to18-month period of relative chaos


(a necessary pre-requisite & recurring stage)

• switch from living ‘reactively’ (from the outside-in)


to ‘proactively’ (from the inside-out)
Peckham Experiment (cont.)
Subsequent 12 years
(4 years pre-WWII, WWII [closed], & 4 years after):

• no marriage breakdowns

• no bullying & only one accident

• low interest in competitive games

• high-level collaboration & joint projects

• high skill acquisition

• improved health & wellbeing

• increased creativity
Peckham Experiment (cont.)
Keys:

• supportive environment

• freedom to be spontaneous

• non-judgemental feedback

• supportive vs. intrusive/manipulative staff

• support during narrow windows of change (puberty,


forming primary relationships, pregnancy, birth etc)
Peckham Experiment (cont.)

Health: (a process)

• contagious

• spontaneity

• facility for mutual synthesis with others & environment

http://www.thephf.org

Stallibrass, A. 1989. Being Me and Also Us: Lessons from the


Peckham Experiment. Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh. 275 pp.
8 stages in developing relational competence
with nature & place
(based largely on: Ruthellen Josselson 1996. The Space Between Us:
Exploring the Dimensions of Human Relationships. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA)

4 sensory grounded experiences:


from the beginning of one’s life

4 cognitive/meaning-making processes
Holding

provision of safety, security & assurance

someone being there for you

safe, non-frightening early experiences


lay the foundation for expectations of
support, feeling secure, at ‘home’, &
physically connected with nature & place
Attachment

acknowledged
reliable emotional (& material) connection(s)

recognition of primacy of our dependence on, & relationship


with, ‘nature’ (emotionally connected with nature & place)

provides foundation for development of a ‘sense of place’

nature as ‘sanctuary’; also with therapeutic/healing roles

recognition of special & favourite places

basis for subsequent familiarity & identification with physical


& bio-ecological characteristics of particular environments
Passionate Experience

encounter intense pleasure


e.g. through respectful physical contact

experience of multifaceted, holistic pleasures of nature

fascination & joy with its diversity, mystery & ‘otherness’

stimulation, excitement & development of deep love of nature

basis for development of sense of stewardship &


responsibilities
Eye-to-Eye Validation
communication of authenticity

confirmation, encouragement, understanding &


empathy for one’s ‘being’

also, conditional approval of one’s ‘doing’

positive (& negative) feedback from interactions with nature


(pets, other domesticated animals, wildlife, plants & place)

becoming aware of both the predictable & knowable

& also the spontaneous, emergent & mysterious (the


largely ‘unknown’) properties of nature
Identification & Idealisation
recognition & respect for others’ desirable qualities
(& of the undesirability & repulsion of others)

key drive for personal development & transcendence


basis for attraction to mentors & partners (& ‘totems’)

recognition of the amazingness, wonder & power of nature

& of the value of the numerous processes & ‘models’ in nature

its use in metaphors & mythology

basis for respecting its limits & working with its potential

needed for managing one’s desire to contain, control, own &


domesticate nature; & for designing & redesigning with nature
Mutuality & Resonance
simultaneously recognising similarities in our experiences,
thinking & feeling; & being willing to share them openly

experiencing connectedness, communion & sense of ‘we’


finding & recognising oneself in the ‘other & otherness’

through awe, compassion, integration & collaboration, learning to


recognise synergy, synchronicity & mutuality in nature

further deepening of respect of limits

& realisation of diverse possibilities & opportunities

involves letting go of competition & desires to control

deepening one’s connection with other species, & nature in general

described well in some nature poetry


F lat outstretched upon a mound of
earth I lie; I Press my ear against its surface
and I hear far off and deep, the measured
sound of heart that beats within the
ground. And with it pounds in harmony
with the swift, familiar heart in me. They
pulse as one, together swell, together fall: I
cannot tell my sound from Earth’s, for I am
part of rhythmic, universal heart.
- Elizabeth Odell
Embeddedness
identification with our connectedness
recognition of being a small part of larger groupings
enables us to speak from our particular roles, groups & places
also, being able to contribute to them & feel we belong
basis for interest in history, & concern for inter-generational &
global equity, & the needs of ‘others’
& for experiencing meaning in one’s life

deep connectedness to the planet & its other inhabitants


‘spiritual & soulful’ experiences in nature
& sense of our lineage & place within it; & of its ‘holographic’ aspects
deepens our evolving sense of meaning, & of the wonder of life
Tending & Caring

our experience of this enables us to choose to offer


ourselves in the service of others & ‘otherness’

being there for them, particularly in their times of need

involves diverse expressions of empathy & sensitivity to


boundaries

recognition of the joys experienced in caring for nature, & for


specific habitats, biodiversity, ecological cycles & processes

protection from invasive species & materials; & recognition of


responsibilities for ‘stewardship’
Contrasting transformative & colonising learning

Transformative (TL) Colonising (CL)

Goals
• unique, diverse, personally • pre-determined elsewhere,
relevant, emergent from imposed, manipulative,
experience, & context, universal, homogenised,
flexible, open, transparent closed, not transparent

• sensitive (history & context • insensitive to context


carefully considered & (personal & group history
having a determining role) & aspirations not, or only
superficially, considered)
Curriculum Content

• transdisciplinary, holistic, • disciplinary, subject focus,


all disciplines considered fragmented, not integrated,
within integrated, isolational, not respectful
frameworks, relational, of other knowledges
respectful

• current, present moment • de-contextual re time,


(to long term), local (to place etc.; academic
global) reference points & prioritisation
other personal, group,
contextual & consequential
sensitivity
Learning Experiences

• emergent (inside-out), • didactic, imposed (outside-


flexible, open to spontaneity, in), inflexible, formulaic,
unique features, experiential, universal
developmental
• supporting self-motivation & • ‘motivation’ through control,
personal & group learning reward, punishment, fear
journeys

• integrating arts & sciences, • disciplinary bound


conventional & unconventional
• group collaboration • competitive individualism

• valuing creativity & questioning • creativity & alternative


at all times & in all subjects experiences limited to certain
‘soft’ subjects
Evaluation

• tested against shared • measured against


visions for improved lives ‘universal’ academic
& societies, & progress standards, competitive
towards personal & group examinations
development

• diverse measures & • one exam format for all,


options, including self- prizes for top performers
evaluation, encouraging & at formal ceremonies
celebrational throughout
Earth citizenship: A conceptual framework for learning for sustainability (NSW DET, 2009).
Earth citizenship:
A conceptual
framework for
learning for
sustainability
(NSW DET, 2009).

Habits of a Systems Thinker (Waters Foundation 2009)


Levels of consideration for better action

actions
answers,
plans
ideas, imaginings,
visions & creativity
(ability to design)

feelings & passions

worldviews, values & beliefs

Top two overemphasised


(modified from John Herron, 1992. Feeling and Personhood. Sage, London)
We can apply profound understandings
from developed areas to less developed ones
Cancer patients who have gone into remission
identified the following four factors as key:
(Herschberg, C. & Barasch, M.I. 1995. Remarkable Recovery: What Extraordinary Healings
Tell Us About Getting Well and Staying Well. Riverhead Books, San Francisco, CA)

• connectedness

• control over one’s life

• passion for life

• challenges & goals extending beyond current crises

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