`
Green Living Journal article page logo
northwestern and central Vermont
click to visit this advertiser\
click to visit this advertiser\
This ad has been seen 23,964 times

spectrum line
An Ecology-Based Education : Champlain edition : Saturday, 20 December 2014 09:20 EST : a service of The Public Press
spectrum line
other editions:
River Valley
Upper Connecticut River Valley
Columbia River
Portland, Oregon - Vancouver, Washington
Shire
SW Vermont, western MA, and the Capital District of NY
spectrum line
Read our current paper issue here
current issue cover
Who We Are
Advertising Information
Who Reads Green Living?
home


look up


many more articles about
click for more Building articlesclick for more Garden articles
click for more Health articlesclick for more Energy articles
click for more Money articlesclick for more Food articles
click for more Nature articlesclick for more Education articles
click for more Travel articles

more Education articles
Google
   Web   Green Living

click to visit this advertiser\
click to visit this advertiser\


click to visit this advertiser\
click to visit this advertiser\


They always talk who
never think.
– Matthew Prior



Prentiss Smith & Company
  110 Main Street
  Burlington, Burlington  05401
  802.651.4045
Combining socially screened portfolios with disciplined financial management for clients since 1982. Serving individuals and family groups, businesses, endowments and foundations. View our performance history at www.socialinvesting.com.
click to visit this advertiser\


An Ecology-Based Education

     by David Orr

Interview with David W. Orr

What is the purpose of education? What exactly are we trying to achieve by sending kids to school for twelve years? Many people talk about reform, but Dr. David Orr, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, says we need to rethink our school systems altogether. Further, he sees a direct connection between how we teach children and the disastrous impacts of our dependence on fossil fuels. A pioneer in the ecological literacy movement, he believes that all education should be ecologically based, from the design of the campus to the curriculum itself.

This article is reprinted with permission from the periodical SuperConsciousness

"All education is environmental education," says Orr. "Students either learn that they are a part of or apart from the natural world." He points out that some of the worst atrocities in modern memory, including those perpetuated in Nazi Germany, were carried out by highly educated people. "Much of what has gone wrong with the world is the result of education that alienates us from life in the name of human domination . . . and unleashes on the world minds ignorant of their own ignorance," he says. One result is the abuse of the environment, leading to an accelerated rate of climate change.

There's a whole lot of stuff I think we don't need to know. The things that we do need to know are going to pertain to basics like growing food, building shelter, creating local economies that work, capturing energy.

The remedy Orr proposes would teach interrelatedness through schools that are fundamentally rooted in a sense of place. As the driving force behind the erection of Oberlin's Lewis Center, a building described by the New York Times as "the most remarkable" of a new generation of college buildings, Orr put his ideas into action. The building is a model of sustainable design and students and faculty were included in the planning process. He spoke with SC Magazine about an education that empowers students to be creative and make decisions that enable a renewable future.

SC: You mentioned that you believe every school, every college and every university needs to take a stand on terms of the climate crisis in terms of ecological literacy. Have you seen any progress on that?
DO: Yes, I think there is progress. Twenty years ago during the beginning of the green campus movement, we did food audits in places like Hendricks College and Swarthmore and St. Olaf and Carleton College. I wrote an article in Chronicle of Higher Education proposing climate neutrality as a goal for colleges and universities and that was about 1999 or 2000, and there now is an organization that got more than 500 signatures of college presidents pledging their institutions to go carbon neutral.
SC: In terms of taking back our power related to education specifically, what can individuals do?
DO: I think we have to learn what it is we're trying to do. Are we trying to equip somebody to be a good, dependable member of the economy or to become a person of considerable stature and potential? If our goal is more to educe, or to draw forth, then I think it's a very different kind of education and empowering. Taking back the power in some ways is a matter of discovering the power that we have inside ourselves. It's the power of creativity, it's the power of discernment, it's the power of moral character. It is the power to be creative and it is the power to seize power, to make decisions.

That's a much messier process because some people will be given the opportunity and will become destructive in the process. But the best kind of education I can think of is rather more like a combination of Buddhism and Marie Montessori. It has a lot of freedom and it has to begin early because if all of a sudden you say to kids in their sophomore year of college, "now we're going to give you this freedom," they won't know how to handle it.

When it doesn't start early that means that people like me that teach in the college level basically do a lot of remedial education and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. More often than not I think it really doesn't work because the habits of independence and creativity and the habits of knowing what to do when you're empowered just aren't there.

If you took fossil fuels out and took the oil out of the human fixture in the twentieth century, we would have educated people radically differently. I don't think we would have ever made the split between liberal arts and practical arts.quiet zone
click to visit this advertiser\
click to visit this advertiser\

This ad has been seen 84,277 times

SC: "All education is environmental education." What does that mean exactly?

It's the great out of doors that shaped the human mind. I can't imagine the mind like we have emerging in an indoor setting or something like a shopping mall. And I think our capabilities were honed by tens of thousands of years in the savannah and in forests and looking at the night sky. I think that shaped our religion, our philosophy, our fears, our animosities, the heights and depths of the human character. These are places in which we find ourselves.

SC: You mentioned that you believe every school, every college and every university needs to take a stand on terms of the climate crisis in terms of ecological literacy. Have you seen any progress on that?
DO: Yes, I think there is progress. Twenty years ago during the beginning of the green campus movement, we did food audits in places like Hendricks College and Swarthmore and St. Olaf and Carleton College. I wrote an article in Chronicle of Higher Education proposing climate neutrality as a goal for colleges and universities and that was about 1999 or 2000, and there now is an organization that got more than 500 signatures of college presidents pledging their institutions to go carbon neutral.
SC: In terms of taking back our power related to education specifically, what can individuals do?
DO: I think we have to learn what it is we're trying to do. Are we trying to equip somebody to be a good, dependable member of the economy or to become a person of considerable stature and potential? If our goal is more to educe, or to draw forth, then I think it's a very different kind of education and empowering. Taking back the power in some ways is a matter of discovering the power that we have inside ourselves. It's the power of creativity, it's the power of discernment, it's the power of moral character. It is the power to be creative and it is the power to seize power, to make decisions.

That's a much messier process because some people will be given the opportunity and will become destructive in the process. But the best kind of education I can think of is rather more like a combination of Buddhism and Marie Montessori. It has a lot of freedom and it has to begin early because if all of a sudden you say to kids in their sophomore year of college, "now we're going to give you this freedom," they won't know how to handle it.
click to visit this advertiser\
click to visit this advertiser\

When it doesn't start early that means that people like me that teach in the college level basically do a lot of remedial education and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. More often than not I think it really doesn't work because the habits of independence and creativity and the habits of knowing what to do when you're empowered just aren't there.

If you took fossil fuels out and took the oil out of the human fixture in the twentieth century, we would have educated people radically differently. I don't think we would have ever made the split between liberal arts and practical arts.

SC: "All education is environmental education." What does that mean exactly?

It's the great out of doors that shaped the human mind. I can't imagine the mind like we have emerging in an indoor setting or something like a shopping mall. And I think our capabilities were honed by tens of thousands of years in the savannah and in forests and looking at the night sky. I think that shaped our religion, our philosophy, our fears, our animosities, the heights and depths of the human character. These are places in which we find ourselves.


This article appeared originally on superconsciousness.com and is used by permission. Super Consciousness is "The Voice for Human Potential".


2,013 neighbors have viewed this article.


spectrum line
home        the top                WHO WE ARE        ADVERTISE        
spectrum line
Champlain editor: Ellen Shapiro
advertising : Ellen Shapiro : 802.373.4006 : Ellen <at> GreenLivingJournal.com

site designed by the Caspar Institute
this site generated with 100% recycled electrons!
send website feedback to the GLJwebster <at> CasparInstitute.org
last updated 20 January 2009 :: 9:04 :m: Yes We Can! Caspar (Pacific) time
all content and photos copyright © 2001-2009
by Stephen Morris & Michael Potts, Green Living Journal
except as noted


K 314 2GreenlinePV134.jpg23,96449167,303
B 210 bnrPrentissSmithCH101.gif84,2771,48381,111
M 220 CoopInsurance092PVUV.jpg97,3352,23189,706
266 EnergyCoop074.jpg111,0082,91489,706
271 CCVweb111.jpg89,1531,91989,706
T 248 Prentiss Smith & Company118,1095,205115,226