So far, throughout the semester, I have repeated a theme of a binary of humans vs. the environment. For example, CJ1 discusses a memorable experience of the environment by doing something that was outside of my comfort zone, going kayaking on Wascana Lake. This is a binary/Western way of experiencing the environment because my experience is as an observer of nature, suggesting that humans are removed from nature. In CJ1 I wrote, “EE is ... learning about what surrounds humans every day [the environment]”, which implies that humans are not a part of the environment. However, I disrupt the binary by questioning it in my Ecoliteracy Love Poem, titled "To Myself in a Past Life"; “humans are over here, environment over there. What would happen if we made these two, one?”. I continue to analyze the construction of the binary in “To Myself in a Past Life”; “due to this common binary thinking, there is fear surrounding the idea of nature. An ecoliterate person is not afraid of nature or the environment because they see themselves as a part of nature.” Also, in my Ecoliteracy Braid I state, “using senses describes ecoliteracy in a personal way, it reinforces the normative that nature is something that humans want to be a part of and touch, [therefore] illustrating that nature is removed from our bodies.” Harper’s comment on my CJ1 has made me wonder how I will teach future students to also disrupt the normative, which may lead me to become even more ecoliterate. The binary of human and the environment is engrained in students due to their schooling; taking away recess, cancelling field trips and EE (Louv) being afraid of insects or wearing rubber gloves when touching insects/dirt/etc. In addition, Louv states that even parents have a “number of everyday reasons why their children spend less time in nature than they themselves did; … most of all, parents cite fear of stranger-danger”. And, “even as children and teenager become more aware of global threats to the environment, their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading” (Louv).
Furthermore, a Western way of thinking about EE is going to camp, as my CJ3 discusses. At Dallas Valley, I am “problematically invited … to ‘reconnect with the land’ without incorporating an analysis of [Canada’s] violent history” (McLean, 2013, p. 359). At camp we tell stories around the campfire, watch the stars and ride horses, all very Western experiences of connecting with the land. This is a normative way of thinking about environment as outside the city, and is consumerism.
Another theme that I repeated throughout the semester is using sensory words to experience the environment. My Ecoliteracy Braid uses 5 senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, sound. But I go beyond just using senses, I associate senses with stillness, a relatively new concept in my ecoliteracy journey. Using our senses to learn and understand something is not a traditional way of thinking about education or EE because humans live busy lifestyles. Stillness may come from the eagerness to slow down the modern world and realize how humans’ busy lives distract us from the destruction that we cause the environment.
Critical thinking theory is an EE philosophy that is apparent in my writing/thinking. I illustrate this theory, learning through stories, in CJ1, Ecoliteracy Braid and CJ3. I think the Embodying Ecoliteracy project illustrates stories in that our video of our field trip portrayed a certain type of story at Crown Shred, as well as the entire project will be told as a story/summary of how it went from the member’s perpsectives. As Curthoys (2012) states, “all forms of narrative inquiry are valuable for interpretive planning … [but] the synergy of the community story circle provides a depth and diversity that may not emerge with more individualistic narrative methods” (p. 173). The project done in a group benefits the individuals’ learning. As a teacher, community/group narratives are valuable to share information/perspectives and build relationships to communicate these things.
Furthermore, anthropocentrism is apparent in my blog posts. CJ2 suggests how to save the planet as I list how to “actually build a sustainable society" (Capra, 2007, p. 10) because the article fails to explain how to do so. In this philosophy, it is suggested that a problem, such as climate change and lack of sustainability, has a human solution. Reducing plastics as a part of my Embodying Ecoliteracy project also adheres to the anthropocentrism philosophy because it is often a ‘save the planet’ action encouraged in elementary education.
Capra, F. (2007). Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, and t he Breath of Life. Pg. 9-19.
Curthoys, L. (2012). Community Story Circles: An Opportunity to Rethink the Epistemology Approach to Heritage Interpretive Planning. 173-187.
McLean, S. (2013). The whiteness of green: Racialization and environmental education, 57(3), 354-362. DOI: 10.1111/cag.12025