Sunday, June 10, 2012

I am currently exploring ways and means to develop suitable stimulus materials for our APL candidates to reflect on what makes a sustainable practioner in their sepcific disciplines, occupationbs and professions. I'm pondering Sam Mann's (the green graduate. 2011. p38) statement: "Sustainability is about context and the big picture (systems thinking, ethics, evaluating change,scientific and creative paradigms) and a few methodologies.(eg. carbon footprinting,as appropriate). We can offer a bottom line foir each discipline. A sustainable practitionere will be succesful when they support people and nature in their actions by: a) enabling people to meet their own and future generations' needs in an equitable way; b) causing no harm to nature; c) consuming resources at a rate at which nature replaces them; d) ensuring nature is not subject to materials it cannot process. I'm hoping some folk will attempt to develop a statement about themselves as a sustainable practitioner in the (particular occupation or discipline) based on this bottom line. Currently I'm working with a number of Social Service candidates and am conscious that the School has chosen to highlight the social justice "equitable"sense of sustainability. Design has a much more obvious focus on consumables. I'm wondering what would make me (an educator) a sustainable practitioner?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My perspective on sustainability, sustainable development and education for sustainability is shifting with the valuable challenges from what I am reading and what others in the group have as exeprience, values and actions. I am ever up for such shifts and probably have deliberately exposed myself to many during my learning life. I find reassurance in Sam Mann's "The Green Graduate: Educating every student as a sustainable practitioner" 2011. Wellington:NCER. While his own passion and determination to make a change is very evident he acknowledges that the development towards truly sustainable practice is an ongoing and neverending journey. In terms of supporting students to be sustainable practitioners, he is in the classic change-agent territory,as he suggests that ecological literacy is in fact cultural literacy and quotes Polistina (2009) "reflection on our culture and other cultural systems can help reveal the complex social, environmental,and economic relationships that need to be changed to make a successful shift towards sustainability"(p121) I notice that we venture on a regular basis into the consideration of the cultural systems in our own institution. And of course, any change agent knows that simply preaching doesn't do it. there has to be a hook that catches the interest of the student.Usually it will be a personal one such as power relationships,depletion of a desired recource. I look forward to further refinements and actions.

Friday, April 27, 2012

sustainability in the international arena

since our discussion on Friday I have been mulling over the notion that is called Strong Sustainability in NZ and I think I have understood it. It is to do with equitable access to "needed" resources across members of any given society. This morning, Kim Hill interviewed ChandranNair who is the founder of the Global Institute for Tomorrow and proposes that the East will be the place that is able to reshape the rules of global capitalism. He sees the West as too well entrenched in the liberal rational decision making narrative to consider it. I wonder? He maintains that all people need somewhere safe to live, access to clean food and water, healthcare and education. Probably no arguments from anyione there, but how do you provide that when everyone in the population wants to drive a car everyday? or have the two or more bathrooms? In addition,if you look at how this practice has been maintained, it is one of privilege and in many cases has been supported by exploitation of other populations. When we sit ourselves in positions of relative privilege, what are we prepared to accept as strict limits imposed by others on our aquisition of material goods?Having had copmparative choice, it is difficult to reduce that,as in the process you reduce also someone's sense of freedom and power. Still more thinking to do I believe.

what really is "hard" susatainability?

today's gathering allowed my thoughts in four last posts to come together into something cohesive and congruent. Sustainability is indeed about the maintenance of resouces for human, social, economc, and built capital to be available to both us and those whi come after us. the "Hard or Strong" sustainalbilty notions fit well with this. all aspects of the universal system- are needed to be in some sort of alignment for our lives to continue. well if we can (and probably it is only the middle class who can) we could and should: 1)collect less "stuff"; 2) not look for Mansions with several bathrooms in posh suburbs; 3) add our political voice to causes (eg;MMp/Lignite mining); 4)foreshore and seabed; 5) south Dunedeih school amalgamation. I'm vbecoming transformed in my thinging andf beleieve that that is the opurpose of this course. What my actions are will be different possibly to my vlaues.

Monday, April 16, 2012

education for sustainability at Otago Polytechnic

all this interlocking view of life, both biological, spiritual, manufactured and economic, including issues of equity and ethical practice, is what our institution is trying to implement. It should be threaded through any qualification offered by us. At CAPABLENZ it should be threaded throughna ny qualification we award, so I need to come to grips with what it means.
To this end I'm looking at three major resources- the Education for Sustainability Blog that can be found in the links on the lefthand side of Insite- has some interesting contributions from school champions. I found the Vet Nursing discussion on uniforms (made in China) and Jenny Rudd's Mental Health Support threading of great interest. Also I have borrowed two books by Sam Mann- "Sustainable Lens" is to be recomended- it has a vast array of diagrams that attempt to depict sustainability in many forms, faced by a one page commentary by SWam who with his usual insight is always pushing me just a little beyond my comfort zone. His second publication "The Green Graduate" is an account of the process introducing Sustainable Ppractice into Otago Polytechnic qualifications- and again causes me to take time out to consider. (you could always listen to Sam's radio programme on Thursday nights as well).

Sustainability, that began for me on an environemntal level is becoming moral and ethical. A matter of values, equity, fairness and stewardship -kaitiaki- over both material and biological resources.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fritjof Capra- easier link

the last link is a bit astray- I quite like its quirkiness, but here is a more obvious connection toCapra

great reading.

Orr's Six Myths about education

Orr quotes Elie Wiesel as saying Education "emphasised theories instead of values, cponcepts rather than human beings, abstraction rather than consciousness, answers instead of questions, ideology and efficiency rather than conscience". This is not a new criticism of an education system- it is rather one that challenges the Western rational approach to knowledge collection and use. Weisel and Orr with him are sitting on a rationale that would have education being about values and conscience. (not so different from the base and justification for many of our integrated private schools in New Zealand)
Having experienced the formal education system both as a receiver (what a passive word) and a giver (under a plethera of role titles)for more years than I can count on my fingers, I am very inclined to agree with critiques that give knowledge, its reception and use a priviliege for the rational and indeed support the false dualism of the intellect and the spirit. What you replace it with is the moot point. Clearly Orr wants to replace it with the notion that "all education is environmental education" and lists curriculum content that would provide that. This is a seductively partisan view and one which is quite cleverly argued. I'm in the process of exploring other readings (Design for Sustainability and FritjofCapra ) where an holistic and integrated world is pictured and ways to support that are explored.
I'll just keep on with it I think and I look forward to our next gathering.