Ecology-Across-Campuses & Curricula … and Ecological Literacy:
Toward Sustainable Livelihoods & Conservation and Sustainable Community
paul b. martin, ph.d., Marvel Maddox, & Jolly Ellis
Siempre Sustainable Network
We know we are in dire straits as a species. Also, many associated species are facing extinction by us. Moreover, at least one billion relatively powerless humans and great numbers of individuals of other species are in the midst of unprecedented peril in this moment.
Therefore why are our institutions of learning--from the pre-kindergarten to post-graduate school--not unreservedly addressing the challenge of: lowering ecological footprints and energy usage in the sectors of the world with power as well as reducing loss of topsoil, biodiversity, & available quality water, & exploitation of the poor the world over? Furthermore, these public and private institutions should be more effectively facilitating the increases in these footprints for those lacking power. The mission of our educational systems should be to realize an average worldwide per capita ecological footprint of ca. 5 acres and daily energy usage of ca. 60 thousand kilocalories, with a very small standard deviation for each.
As a part of this mission, stakeholders should be basing their decisions on ecological principles and processes. They should be thinking critically & creatively and acting in local & global systems with goals of banning inequality, and enhancing conservation, resilience and sustainability. A comprehensive and intensive plan for making this happen through our educational systems is seriously needed.
Development of ecology-across-curricula toward ecological literacy and sustainable livelihoods and sustainable community is a moral and ethical imperative for true scholars and educators. Educational systems should be a part of the solution rather than serving to increase social and ecological problems. We must use education to begin to rapidly change our socio-political/economic local and global systems, otherwise we all face serious ecological consequences in our future.
“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road -- the one less traveled by -- offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” Rachel Carson, Ecologist (Author of Silent Spring)