Posting on NZ Environmental Educators List (EEList) 11 June 2009
2006 I noted that there was no Wikipedia entry for Environmental Education
and posted some suggestions to members of EElist. I observed that NZ
Environmental Educators used the “Environmental Education”
symbol in a very exclusive way: Environmental Education is the
communication of how “biomass out
example I gave was the widespread support of NZ and other Environmental
Educators for the proposed Marine Education Centre on Te Raekaihau Point
here in Wellington. The submissions for the proposal lacked analysis of,
for instance, the impacts and costs of
correctly argued there is a great need to communicate how seashore and
ocean life works but the analysis literally stopped at the sea’s
surface. There was no recognition, for instance, that major sponsors such
as the Wellington City Council, StageCoach, the Wellington Airport
Authority (Infratil) et al would lever off the education resource to
promote highly wasteful and polluting tourism or the siting of such a
resource on the Point needlessly distant from mass transit taught a
powerful message about our stewardship of our carbon potential .
I argued that Environmental Education need be inclusive and educate of the nature of human systems for without this self awareness the Green Movement becomes very vulnerable to becoming simply a prime conduit for all the Greenwash, Banker Speak and Energy Gobbledygook of the our most psychopathic institutions. Indeed my website contains a mass of evidence indicating that the Green Movement is such a conduit.
In fact the
Sustainability Principle of Energy suggests that the Green Movement with
its pivotal role in promoting societal transformation may
well pose the greatest risk of all to humanity. This Principle suggests that the Green
Movement destroys science on a massive scale.
Principle inverts our fondest beliefs and I too find this notion that the
Green Movement might be so destructive very inconvenient indeed. I am well
aware of how well meaning members of this movement are and very much enjoy
their company. However if the
Sustainability Principle of Energy is indeed born of science then I know I
am wise to accept its truth as best I can, no matter how inconvenient.
couple of weeks ago I published on EEList the links to an inventory of
symbols uses. Each symbol use
is analysed according to whether it accepts or denies change/stewardship
and, if the Sustainability Principle is correct, this provides us with a
good guide as to whether the symbol use is sustaining in the longer term.
I have no idea what EElist members made of it and as I said, if you did
catch a glimpse of its insight I hope you did so in a state of compassion.
I have long been troubled by our current use of the “Environment” symbol and have wondered if this use might reflect the psychopathic and psychotic elements present in each of us. Could our use of the symbol place Civics in a framework of denial of Civics? Is this a more civic world now than forty years ago when the Green/Environmental Movement emerged as a separate entity in our consciousness? Is it possible that the Green Movement has been pivotal in the promotion of fossil fuel burning, Electricity Industry Reforms, Carbon Trading, Water Trading and other commodifications of precious resources?
The escalation in the consumption of the
planet's resources by
the human species certainly suggests something is amiss.
is now a Wikipedia entry on Environmental Education.
quick peruse suggests it contains little more than my 2006 offering and I
do not find it very helpful. The learning activities it promotes are
simply the ones we should be enjoying in all our learning endeavours. If
they are applied successfully to the development of civic beings then we
would automatically embrace with joy our roles as stewards amidst the
flux. We would enjoy far greater harmony with all the balances and flows
that sustain us.
= the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences;
surroundings; milieu; and which includes the observer. (The environment
symbol expresses great paradox: the observer is part of what he or she is
not part of.)
= the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences;
surroundings; milieu. (That which the observer is not)
= A human is a member of a species of bipedal primates in the
family Hominidae (Taxonomically Homo sapiens—Latin:
"wise man" or "knowing man" and coming with this
capacity for knowledge is the condition that humans are stewards of the
flows and balances that sustain them on Earth.)
= any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae characterized by
superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage (This
superior intelligence giving them the right to use and trade the resources
of the planet as they please)
and the Environment
and the Environment = Non existent (The act of experiencing existence
means we humans are participants in all that we are not i.e. our lives are
born of paradox.)
Denial: Humans and the Environment = The environment exists separate from human beings.
are their Environment
are their Environment = Each human being by experiencing the environment
participates in the environment. (Existence is a paradox in which the
observer is a participant in what they observe
Humans are their Environment
= impossible notion
most probable reality is that our universe is constant change, continual
transformation. Human beings are of this change and affect this change. As
such we need act as stewards if we are to enjoy harmony with all. Humans
have a great capacity to accept change/stewards even as we have a great
capacity to deny change/stewardship.
use of the “and” symbol reveals denial as in 1 + 1 = 2. Humans
and environment are two separate things.
use of the “are” symbol reveals acceptance as in 1 +1 = 1
to our way of thinking 1 = 1 cannot equal 1 but then our way of thinking
finds it very difficult to symbolise paradox in meaningful ways. And the Humans
are their Environment symbol
is a paradox.
Paradox derives from the Greek “beyond
how do we make sense of the Humans
are their Environment
symbol to our students?
Our so-called “science teachers” cannot make sense of it. They can tell us, for instance that light is a paradox (It is quantum particles even as it is continuous waves) and that electrons are paradoxes (the change in one electron simultaneously affects change in another electron somewhere else in the universe(s). In other words all atoms reside in an atom.
They also create false paradoxes such as symbolising the regions of most concentrated matter as “holes”, forms that are almost entirely empty space as “solids” and Earth’s atmosphere as a “greenhouse”.
these symbol uses tend to
generate dissonance within us. They don’t make real sense.
Possibly it is our so-called “art” teachers who can make most sense of the Humans are their Environment symbol and draw most meaning from its paradox.
The drawing teacher can set a many-runged chair on the table and teach how to draw the negative space of the chair so the student eventually can reflect reality accurately as the negative space and the positive space become one.
Note: In one twenty minute lesson a drawing teacher gave me profound insights into quantum physics. Years of so-called “science” teachers had failed to give me such insight and they had left me confused and disempowered.
music teachers can teach how the moments of silence are equally as potent
the moments of sound until the student hears them as one and can make
music that resolves and transcends the paradox.
the painting teacher can communicate how light comes from dark and dark
from light so again the student sees them as one and the painting becomes
alive in reality
dance teachers can teach imbalance to communicate balance.
the language teacher can communicate paradox through poetry, haiku etc
of us sense a truth in Blake's poetry even if we cannot articulate it.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.
how does the student learn to
thrive in paradox? It seems to me that always we come back to the
experience of the state of compassion and the notion that without
compassion we cannot enjoy the state of science. It is compassion that
enables us to accept paradox; to learn from our perceived errors; to live
in acceptance of change; to acknowledge opposites as complementary and
experience them as one; to act as stewards; and to enjoy harmony with all.
Humans and the Environment symbol
denies the paradoxical nature of change. It disconnects the observer from
the observed and thus educators who use it work directly against their
stated objectives of promoting an integrated vision of reality.
Humans and their Environment symbol similarly promotes
disintegration though the use of the “their” symbol ameliorates it a
little. It does evoke some sense of ownership, if not stewardship, of the
both uses tend to create barriers to the reality that all is change. It
does this by denying the critical element of change, which is that the
observer is the change they cause. The observer is no longer a participant
and is divorced from change.
thoughts leave me wondering if there may indeed be great sustenance in the
Compassionate Curriculum Framework I proposed on this forum in 2007.
It promotes uses of the “science” symbol that are very inclusive compared to those generated by the New Zealand Curriculum Framework Indeed the latter promotes profound exclusive uses of the symbol and surely inclusiveness is a requisite for science to exist?
Compassionate Curriculum Framework
enables an appreciation of paradox and an acceptance of change, both of
which are requisites for giving meaning to the Humans are their
Environment symbol. And in this context the Humans and the
Environment symbol simply does not occur.
Framework also gives meaning to the existence of the complex mirror neuron systems
that lace our brains. It allows the possibility that they enable us to be our environment so that what we
do is at one with what we say. In other words we each form a symbol and
when our walk matches our talk of care then we become symbols
reflecting harmony within and without.
All feedback most welcome and most valued – especially any insights into flaws in this work. I find it unhelpful when I am informed that Environmental Educators have been scathing of my work and when I ask. “What was the substance of their argument?” I am told it was not clear.