Category Archives: ECOLOGICAL THINKING

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Humans: the real threat to life on Earth.

Humans: the real threat to life on Earth

Stephen Emmott – The Observer, Sunday 30 June 2013   

If population levels continue to rise at the current rate, our grandchildren will see the Earth plunged into an unprecedented environmental crisis, argues computational scientist Stephen Emmott in this extract from his book Ten Billion

Earth is home to millions of species. Just one dominates it. Us. Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. In fact, we are having a profound impact on it. Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face. And every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow towards a global population of 10 billion. In fact, I believe we can rightly call the situation we’re in right now an emergency – an unprecedented planetary emergency.

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Transition Town

Amazing Sunday at WEST TOWN FARM IDE DEVON

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Local, self-sufficient, optimistic: are Transition Towns the way forward?

Locally grown food, community-owned power stations, local currencies … can small-scale actions make a difference? Yes, according to the Transition network – in fact, it’s our only hope

John-Paul Flintoff The Guardian,

Late last year, Rob Hopkins went to a conference. Most of the delegates were chief executive officers at local authorities, but it was not a public event. Speaking in confidence, three-quarters of these officials admitted that – despite what they say publicly – they could not foresee a return to growth in the near futue.

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Talking about food

Why worrying about food miles is missing the point

Getting your lamb from New Zealand isn’t hurting the planet and buying your potatoes from the other end of the country is fine. Jay Rayner says food miles are not the problem and, below, visits an abattoir

The Observer,

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In November 2009, I lost my temper in front of a bank of television cameras in a way I have never done before or since. I was in Los Angeles working as a judge on the second season of the American TV series, Top Chef Masters. For the final, the three remaining competitors had been asked to cook a series of dishes that told their story: their first food experiences, where they are now, where they are going and the like. For the dish that defined where he was going, the famed Las Vegas-based chef Rick Moonen had cooked a venison dish, using meat imported from New Zealand.

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THE FIVE ECOLITERATE PRACTICES

With a goal of nurturing students to become ecoliterate, the Center for Ecoliteracy has identified five vital practices that integrate emotional, social, and ecological intelligence. They are described at greater length in our book, Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence (Jossey-Bass, 2012), from which the excerpt below is taken.

We work to inspire teachers to use a variety of learning opportunities that help students consider and apply these practices in a diverse range of contexts. These practices allow students to strengthen and extend their capacity to live sustainably.

1. Developing Empathy for All Forms of Life encourages students to expand their sense of compassion to other forms of life. By shifting from our society’s dominant mindset (which considers humans to be separate from and superior to the rest of life on Earth) to a view that recognizes humans as being members of the web of life, students broaden their care and concern to include a more inclusive network of relationships.

2. Embracing Sustainability as a Community Practice emerges from knowing that organisms do not exist in isolation. The quality of the web of relationships within any living community determines its collective ability to survive and thrive. By learning about the wondrous ways that plants, animals, and other living things are interdependent, students are inspired to consider the role of interconnectedness within their communities and see the value in strengthening those relationships by thinking and acting cooperatively.

3. Making the Invisible Visible assists students in recognizing the myriad effects of human behavior on other people and the environment. The impacts of human behavior have expanded exponentially in time, space, and magnitude, making the results difficult if not impossible to understand fully. Using tools to help make the invisible visible reveals the far-reaching implications of human behavior and enables us to act in more life-affirming ways.

4. Anticipating Unintended Consequences is a twofold challenge of predicting the potential implications of our behaviors as best we can, while at the same time accepting that we cannot foresee all possible cause-and-effect associations. Assuming that the ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life, students can adopt systems thinking and the “precautionary principle” as guidelines for cultivating a way of living that defends rather than destroys the web of life. Second, we build resiliency by supporting the capacity of natural and social communities to rebound from unintended consequences.

5. Understanding How Nature Sustains Life is imperative for students to cultivate a society that takes into account future generations and other forms of life. Nature has successfully supported life on Earth for billions of years. Therefore, by examining the Earth’s processes, we learn strategies that are applicable to designing human endeavors.

Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint. From Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social and Ecological Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, Lisa Bennett, and Zenobia Barlow. Copyright © 2012 by Center for Ecoliteracy.

http://www.ecoliteracy.org/essays/five-ecoliterate-practices