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Riding the storm: Towards a connective cultural consciousness

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This comprehensive volume - containing 27 chapters and contributions from six continents - presents and discusses key principles, perspectives, and practices of social learning in the context of sustainability. Social learning is explored from a range of fields challenged by sustainability including: organizational learning, environmental management and corporate social responsibility; multi-stakeholder governance; education, learning and educational psychology; multiple land-use and integrated rural development; and consumerism and critical consumer education. An entire section of the book is devoted to a number of reflective case studies of people, organizations and communities using forms of social learning in moving towards sustainability.'This book brings together a range of ideas, stories, and discussions about purposeful learning in communities aimed at creating a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect...The book is designed to expand the network of conversations through which our society can confront various perspectives, discover emerging patterns, and apply learning to a variety of emotional and social contexts' - From the Foreword by Fritjof Capra, co-founder of the Center of Ecoliteracy. 'Joining what is so clear and refreshing in this book with the larger movements toward a critically democratic and activist education that is worthy of its name, is but one step in the struggle for sustainability. But it is an essential step if we are to use the insights that are included in this book' - From the Afterword by Michael Apple, author of "Educating the "Right" Way: Markets, Standards, God, and Inequality".

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... Moreover, SES develop new states of relative stability (or equilibrium) or resilience when they face social-ecological changes whose accommodation is beyond their carrying capacity. Humans act in these adaptive cycles by introducing and responding to social-ecological changes through adaptations of knowledge, perceptions, and practices (Sterling, 2007;Folke et al., 2016). For example, the resilience and dynamics of Amerindian landscapes resemble adaptation of indigenous knowledge and practices under territorial changes that were shaped over millennia (WinklerPrins and Barrera-Bassols, 2004). ...
... According to Toledo and Berra-Bassols (2009, p.41), this management is achieved via ILK that are established by means of a triad of 'corpus' (knowledge), 'praxis' (practices), and'kosmos' (worldviews), or k-p-w. This triad is also understood as an assemblage of knowledge, practices, and beliefs by other scholars (Berkes, 2012;Sterling, 2007). As IPLC are not isolated from society, their k-p-w is not limited to ILK, but forged in relation to k-p-w of stakeholders across scales. ...
... IPLC practices are expressed in specific forms of nature appropriation and environmental behavior (Sterling, 2007). They include adoption and distribution of land use types (i.e. ...
Article
p>Landscape approaches are prominent in current policy debates about how to achieve ecological, economic and social sustainability. These approaches assess local social-ecological contexts to plan adaptive management and often include indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC). An important aim of landscape approaches is to integrate different scientific disciplines, indigenous and local knowledge systems (ILK) and Western science, and global and local needs. In practice, such integration tends to favor globalized knowledge models and global needs over local ones. This article introduces a Territorial Social-Ecological Networks (TSEN) Framework for an integrated assessment of landscape settings and dynamics to overcome such tendencies. We argue that both scientific knowledge and ILK are entwined with practice and informed by worldviews. Moreover, these assemblages of knowledges-practice-worldviews are produced by social and ecological interrelations (or networks) that shape human appropriation of territory. We use an approach of methodological bricolage to apply the TSEN Framework to the case of the Brazilian Malhada Grande Maroon Territory. The results highlight how social-ecological networks of different space-time scales co-produce landscapes. Trade-offs and synergies between global and local needs are also discussed and used to identify priority needs that can be addressed by a landscape approach in the area. The analysis suggests that the TSEN Framework may be used by both scientists and practitioners to perform environmental assessments that are inclusive of social and ecological disciplines, of local and Western scientific knowledge, and of global and local needs in a landscape.</p
... This requires a range of teaching strategies, for example role-play and simulation, group discussion, debate, and case studies. Sterling (2007) presents a model based on whole systems thinking as a basis of paradigm change in education for sustainability; the model requires a shift in assumptions (leading toward greater compassion), distinctions (leading toward greater understanding of connectivity), and intentions (leading toward systemic wisdom and action that is more integrative and ecological). This is entirely consistent with an integrative and holistic theories in nursing (see e.g. ...
... However, attitudes and behavior are determined by a range of factors impacting peoples' lives, and these will contribute to the extent to which education provides the motivation to bring about the desired changes. This study is based on social learning theory in the context of education for sustainability (Wals, 2007); for a sustainable future, society as a whole needs to recognize, embed, and enact social learning toward an ecological world-view (Sterling, 2007). It is supported by nursing educational approaches, for example scenario-based learning, founded on situated learning theory, providing opportunities for active learning, valuing contextual knowledge, and bringing students closer to other realities of their profession (Errington, 2011). ...
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Climate change will adversely impact on the health of populations and on the ability of healthcare systems to deliver appropriate and timely care. Furthermore, resource scarcity requires nurses to practice in more sustainable ways. This study investigated the extent to which student nurses reported that they were able to apply their knowledge of sustainability in clinical practice following educational sessions on relevant topics. Students were exposed to scenario‐based sustainability education in year 1, 2 and 3 of their three‐year programme. Data were collected using a questionnaire which asked participants if they were able to implement sustainable practice. In year 2,121 students, and in year 3, 68 stated they made a change or challenged practice as a consequence of learning about sustainability. Barriers preventing them from challenging unsustainable practice were lack of confidence and resistance to change. Year 3 students were more able to influence unsustainable practice than those in year 2. This study indicates that sustainability sessions, focussed on aspects of clinical relevance can support nurses to implement change; barriers remain that require confidence‐building for the students.
... Arguably, as the systemic crises bite, our shared "epistemological error" of separation is becoming ever more apparent (even if it is not labeled as such). The realization of profound human and biotic/biospheric interdependence is breaking the illusion of separation and disassociation and giving rise to "a relational, ecological or participative consciousness appropriate to the deeply interconnected world that we have created" (Sterling, 2007). The emergence of the ecological worldview may be seen as evidence of a deep learning process of social change including unlearning (Moore et al., 2018). ...
... bath.ac.uk/cree/sterling/sterlingthesis.pdf and have worked on its implications and possible utility since. Whilst the theory is elaborated in depth in Sterling (2007) and has been taken up by others (see for example Cook, 2019), this paper represents the first attempt to adapt the model to the context of the challenge to universities to adapt rapidly to the new conditions of global crisis and instability. I maintain that it may help deep recognition of and reflection on paradigm. ...
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Discussion of the role of universities in relation to broad issues of sustainability has been current for some decades, although predominantly at the margins of debate and policy. Yet a recent rapid rise of concern—catalyzed by mounting evidence of climate crisis, biodiversity loss, pandemic disease and further systemic issues -is focusing renewed attention on the adequacy of the response of higher education to unprecedented times of urgency, uncertainty and threat. Whilst it is now widely acknowledged that the fate of the planet and of humanity hangs in the balance, there still remains an astonishing disconnect between pressing signs of global change, and the relatively closed world of higher education. A trend toward greening universities' operations is positive, but fails to engage or galvanize the cultural and value shift toward a holistic and ecological zeitgeist that is now necessary to generate widespread institutional systemic change. This paper delves into deep causal factors that have historically impeded the ability of universities to respond fully and effectively to present and probable future realities, pointing to the foundations of Western thought such as reductionism, objectivism, dualism, individualism, anthropocentrism, rationalism, instrumentalism and technocentrism that shape mainstream education policy and practice, overlain and reinforced in more recent times by neo-liberal conceptions of the purpose of universities in a modern economy. It is argued that these elements of our culturally shared worldview constrain our ability to perceive and respond deeply, fully and wisely to the global predicament, but also maintain destructive patterns of development. Whilst there is increasing acceptance that education must “transform” in order to—in turn—be transformative in effect, there is less clarity about the guiding assumptions and ideas that inform mainstream policy and practice, and about the philosophic value bases that can facilitate transformative educational thinking, policy and practice. A framework of three broad and complementary components of paradigm—Concern, Conception, and Consequence—is employed to outline the shape of the systemic paradigmatic shift that universities need to urgently navigate in order to maximize their ability to respond fully to contemporary socio-economic and ecological conditions and trajectories.
... In the past decade, however, there have been more studies examining the implications of developmental psychology for sustainability education including Reid, Mustakova-Possardt and Podger's (2010) study on "A whole-person approach to educating for sustainability" and Meyers and Beringer's (2010) study of cognitive and identity development of college students in learnercentered and project-based sustainability pedagogy. Reid et al., (2010) state that much of what sustainability education calls for in terms of capabilities and disposition, such as selflessness (Taylor, 2000), a "connective cultural consciousness" informed by a relational worldview (Sterling, 2007), and a new ecological, humanistic, and transformative worldview that assumes interdependence and interconnection, have been shown by psychological developmental research to pertain to mature critical moral consciousness (Mustakova-Possardt, 1998, in other words, later stages of adult development. Their case study, albeit limited in scope, suggests that a whole-person approach to education for sustainability may yield more fruitful societal and personal benefits than traditional, and predominantly, behavioral approaches. ...
Thesis
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This research examined the personal, professional, and developmental impact of introducing a constructive developmental perspective to faculty and students in a post-secondary program in sustainability education and leadership development. It also explored the relationship between adult development and sustainability education, teaching, and mentorship. There is increasing emphasis on integrating human interiors (values, beliefs, worldviews) in sustainability work. However, little research has examined the relationship between adult development and sustainability education. The purpose of this research was to explore deepening the transformative nature of learning and leadership development in graduate education through the use of a developmental framework and assessment, and to contribute to advancing the application of adult developmental research to adult learning and sustainability education. The site of study was Prescott College, and the sample of 11 included four Ph.D. faculty and seven students. This mixed-methods study included semi-structured interviews, a five-month action inquiry process, and a pre and post developmental assessment. The findings demonstrate that sustainability is significantly different for individuals assessed at different developmental stages; learning about adult development is transformative developmentally, personally, and professionally; a developmental awareness may deepen the transformative impact of graduate sustainability education and leadership development; and teaching about adult development is more effective when it is developmentally responsive. Integrating a developmental awareness into graduate and sustainability education is recommended to support learning and growth at all stages of development, support the development of the educators themselves, and support skill development for working well with diverse groups.
... In the context of an increasingly globalized, interconnected -yet fractured and unsustainable -world, striving for critical consciousness steers us away from the dominant strongholds of modernism characterized by competition and control (Sterling, 2007), issues often shaping TWDL implementation. Critical consciousness that seeks human solidarity and participation for a more sustainable civilization moves us toward a more culturally, linguistically, humanly connected paradigm. ...
Article
Two-way dual language (TWDL) bilingual education programs share 3 core goals: academic achievement, bilingualism and biliteracy, and sociocultural competence. This article proposes a fourth core goal: Critical consciousness. Although TWDL programs are designed to integrate students from diverse language, culture and race backgrounds, equity is unfortunately still a challenge in TWDL classrooms and schools. We argue that centering critical consciousness, or fostering among teachers, parents and children an awareness of the structural oppression that surrounds us and a readiness to take action to correct it, can support increased equity and social justice in TWDL education. We elaborate 4 elements of critical consciousness: interrogating power, critical listening, historicizing schools, and embracing discomfort. We illustrate these elements with examples from TWDL research and practice. In addition, we describe how critical consciousness impacts and radicalizes the other three core goals, in turn supporting the development of more successful, equitable, and socially just TWDL schools.
... O estudo desenvolvido por Steffen et al. (2015) demostra que as alterações nos ciclos do fósforo e do nitrogênio, a perda de biodiversidade, e as mudanças climáticas são as variáveis ambientais em condição mais crítica de operação no sistema humano, e estão interligadas. Ou seja, já é possível afirmar que será necessário um engajamento para o reestabelecimento do equilíbrio de alguns fatores do funcionamento ecológico do planeta, que passa por novos modos de aprendizagem coletiva (Sterling, 2009 Isto coloca a importância de enfatizar que a base de conhecimento deve ser pluralizada e diversificada para incluir a mais ampla gama possível de conhecimentos, de forma a questionar visões tecnocráticas que defendem uma ciência que tenha uma só voz. ...
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A universidade é ponto de convergência e motor privilegiado de aspectos do desenvolvimento cultural, social e econômico de uma nação. As emergências e problematicas socioambientais complexas colocam para esse espaço desafios para uma reestruturação curricular e de práticas de ensino interdisciplinares capazes de formar novos profissionais com habilidades de pensamento complexo e analítico para lidar melhor com a multicausalidade dessas questões. Nesse artigo discute-se o papel da universidade perante esse cenário, por meio da argumentação da inexorabilidade das questões socioambientais contemporâneas, e apontando possíveis caminhos de transformação em diálogo com a ciência pós-normal e ciência cidadã de modo interdisciplinar.
... Moreover, contemporary societal challenges require interventions that promote social learning (Wals, 2007). Theories on learning processes that have evolved in the long run are increasingly more socially rather than individually oriented (Paavola et al., 2004;Blackmore, 2007). ...
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Formative intervention methodologies, such as the Change Laboratory (CL), are increasingly being used in work environments. However, the learning process entailed in the application of these methodologies has received insufficient attention and may be facilitated through the use of learning platforms. We examined the development of learning and training strategies for implementing formative interventions, drawing on the experiences of a research group focusing on workers’ health. Information obtained from individuals involved in CL formative activities was analyzed and interpreted using Cultural-Historical Activity Theory and the theory of expansive learning. The process of learning to implement formative interventions unfolded gradually, beginning with the interventionists’ initial exposure to abstract concepts that they subsequently internalized via various mediations and applied in concrete situations. Four key interventionist training strategies used to foster collective learning were identified: (1) promoting dialogues and exchange of experiences, (2) creating environments for continuous learning and permanent discussion (seminars and post-graduate courses and the use of communication technologies), (3) creating spaces for experimentation and the practical application of concepts (case studies and participation in interventions), and (4) the use of the double stimulation method during training programs.
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Chapter
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In this study, we assessed how 34 young adult participants in an environmental education (EE) program from 2011 to 2014 constructed their learning outcomes through interviews and the exploration of autobiographical memory functions (AMFs) regarding program experiences. We articulated a variety of directive, social, and self AMFs, including the achievement of the top five typical objectives of EE, increase in positive social norms through reminiscing and sharing memories, and attainment of diverse personal growth. We also constructed the relationship of these outcomes with the ultimate objective of EE. This method can presumably be used to emergently construct outcomes for evaluating emancipatory EE programs, which are on the request of tackling wicked environmental problems.
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As water funds and other watershed investment programs expand around the world, there is growing interest in designing equitable programs that provide both upstream and downstream benefits. While research demonstrates that diverse values underlie upstream participation, existing communication and outreach materials from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, development banks, and others tend to highlight the goals of downstream actors (e.g., improving water supply for cities), with little attention to upstream perspectives. We present a case study in response to this gap, where we collaborated with a water fund and a river users association in Colombia to co-produce a website entitled “Putting Suppliers on the Map” in which interviews and photography illuminate the perspectives of upstream participants and the intermediary organization. The website offers multiple lessons for communication and environmental education in water funds by shifting focus to the motivations of upstream participants, including trust-building among upstream and downstream participants via intermediary actors, and informing downstream water users of the essential role of these processes for program success. Analyzing the website testimonials, we show that the vast majority of participants were motivated not only by overlapping instrumental and relational values associated with conservation, but also by a variety of personal and community goals. We found that the largest barrier to participation over time was the need to build trust between the water fund and rural communities and to align water fund goals with participants' motivations. By making visible the motivations and challenges of upstream actors, the website reverses the standard direction of environmental education (in which high-level actors or downstream groups educate upstream residents). In-so-doing, the website aims to help downstream actors envision more productive and equitable ways of interacting with upstream participants.
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Drawing on both social practice and social innovation research, this article analyzes 48 qualitative interviews to explore the narratives of self-described green parents who live in Lowcountry South Carolina. The interviewees talked about their motivations, challenges, and understandings of the goals and meanings of green parenting. They reported that the arrival of young children represented a new challenge but also triggered motivations to continue and often intensify green lifestyles. Parents voiced three key challenges: living “green” in a “red” state, time and financial constraints, and navigating environmental media. In parallel, they articulated three main goals: to limit their impact on earth, to live healthier lives, and to socialize their children into green living. When asked about meanings, parents stressed the overlapping importance of engaging in conscious decision-making, building connections to people and nature, and cultivating overall well-being. This study suggests that parents remain resilient in the face of multiple challenges and innovate by socializing their children to live green lifestyles.
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This chapter discusses the opportunities and challenges of collaborative and participatory working across a range of stakeholders groups – scientists, fishers, and the local community – to address issues of social, environmental and economic sustainability within coastal fishing communities. Using key concepts in ‘social learning for sustainability’, the particular case study of the Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area highlights key themes of ‘social learning’ undertaken by the various stakeholder groups. Personal narratives by key personnel engaged in a particular Citizen Science research initiative provides insight into the personal and professional motivations and learning outcomes from engaging in such work, as well as broader societal impacts.
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The objective of this chapter is to provide an overview of research in the convergence of environmental education and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (E-STEM) education models through a values-based framework for nature. An argument for the interconnectedness of environmental education and STEM programs is presented. A further argument presented that nature-based learning environments engage children in E-STEM. Lastly, an exploration of research suggests how various pedagogical practices incorporate and facilitate the E-STEM paradigm to prepare young children for 21st century workforce that can solve large, complex problems in an information and service-based economy.
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To address the role of the arts in the context of sustainability, global warming and climate change, I build on the following ideas: Change for sustainability requires a paradigmatic social-cultural shift toward an ecological worldview based on Whole Systems Thinking. This involves a path to change which is characterised as a learning process whereby the arts are a natural facilitator for many aspects of this process. A movement within the arts has emerged accepting the challenge of issues of sustainability as their "new frontier" and not surprisingly, many of its participants base their theories and practices in Systems Thinking. Outlining some of the processes and outcomes of "Fresh & Salty" within this frame of reference assists in articulating the potential of the arts as another force to advance our transition to sustainability. Various facets of the role of the arts thus emerge: the arts as an agent to reshape relations between people and environments; to re-vision kinds of relationships, kinds of thinking and kinds of futures; to instigate social learning; to practice sustainable actions; to foster cultural diversity and resilience; to promote transdisciplinarity; to unveil hidden paradigms and to practice what we have not yet experienced - thinking, knowing and acting under the new ecological paradigm.
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The agro-food system needs a genuine sustainability transition to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security in the face of climate change, population growth, ecosystem degradation and increasing resource scarcity. Agro-food sustainability transitions refer to transformation processes needed to move towards sustainable agriculture and food systems. There is a broad range of theoretical and conceptual frameworks that have been used to understand and promote transition towards sustainability. These include the multi-level perspective (MLP) on socio-technical transitions, transition management (TM), strategic niche management (SNM), technological innovation system (TIS) and social practice approach (SPA). The paper analyses the use of these heuristic frameworks in research on agro-food sustainability transitions. A search carried out in March 2018 on Scopus yielded 791 documents, and 127 research articles underwent a systematic review. Results show that more than three-fifths of research papers dealing with sustainability transitions in agriculture, food processing, distribution and consumption use at least one of the five heuristic frameworks (MLP, TM, SNM, TIS and SPA). The MLP is the most prominent framework in research on agro-food sustainability transitions, followed by TM, SPA, SNM and then TIS. Nevertheless, MLP is increasingly complemented with frameworks that focus on human-related and social factors (SPA), management and governance (TM, SNM) or agency and interactions between actors (TIS) in sustainability transitions processes. Therefore, the paper makes the case for more integration of transition frameworks in order to better nurture and foster transitions towards sustainable agro-food systems.
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Discusses current thinking about learning organizations, including the theories of C. Argyris (1982), M. Pedler et al (1988), and B. Garratt (1987, 1990). The limitations of these theories are addressed in light of G. Bateson's (1973) notions of levels of learning. It is argued that a better understanding of Bateson's Level III learning (the spiritual dimension) is necessary, both to increase the quality and depth of double-loop learning and to bring the spiritual dimension into organizations, so that organizations can develop a sense of purpose that transcends mere survival. A vignette involving a religious caring organization illustrates the need to engage in Level II thinking about changing the organization and for managers and the consultant to enter Level III thinking to determine the future of the organization. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)