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I am a marine scientist with some philosophical training preparing an interactive class with 9 year olds to test in a primary school of Lisbon (>20 children per class, 6 classes). It is part of a sabbatical year activity and my plan is to explore: i) what terms like nature, sustainability and conservation mean to them; ii) what are their main environmental concerns (and why); and iii) what they think they can do about them (and to what effect). My objective is to stimulate reflexive thinking and joint deliberation, through a combination of guiding questions and individual responses, short periods of dialogue on collective findings and moments of individual decision/revision by positioning/re-positioning in space.
If you are interested in philosophy for children (or have strong arguments against it), I would be happy to discuss further the idea and also get tips and information from other experiences:
is it realistic to expect capacity for abstract thinking in young children (my experience as a father and in past interactions with schools is yes)?
can you see such an experiment being in any way detrimental to the participating children (other than the potential 90 min boredom/indifference of a failed class)?
how to involve everyone within a conventional and limited working space, but which is also familiar and easier to maintain focus for longer?
what can be relevant follow-up material or activities that could be pursued with the teacher to extend the activity beyond the 90 mins?
thank you and welcome
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More than 6 months after the last post, with a pandemic in the middle, some additional information on the conclusion of the first activity and the steps planned after (many halted by covid, hope temporarily):
1) The activity described in the previous post was repeated in another five classrooms in the following days of february 2020 - in total participated >130 kids, six teachers and the school director (in all six events) and the feedback was positive: the children liked it, spoke about it among themselves and with the teacher and engaged in additional activities in the hours and days after the event;
2) As a result of this positive feedback, two additional activities were planned (and subsequently cancelled due to covid): an extension of the original activity in the same school (6 mornings in April to continue the discussion outside the classroom, within the schoolyard and in an urban garden adjacent to the school, but also some abandoned area close-by) proposed by the participating teachers, and a repetition of the original activity in a school from a different area of Lisbon;
3) After the months of covid enclosure, colleagues from a University in Lisbon have invited me to present and discuss the experience, both among researchers in a department of environmental science and with high-school teachers. It is possible that in the coming school year there will be some follow-up on the initiative both by myself (possibly focusing on the aquatic sub-space to be more in line with my work environment) and by teachers that want to try the activity in their classes;
4) After the early phase, where the initiative was constructed as a civic need without theoretical study, I start to consult potentially relevant literature on environmental education, environmental philosophy, but also political science on deliberation by children, to enrich future iterations.
If you have experiences or information related to the above and want to share, please do here or by message (do not plan to maintain regular updates here, unless participation and exchanges justify it).
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Looking for a short (expert level) course on water footprint. Any recommendation?
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Water Footprint courses are reported on this website: https://waterfootprint.org/en/about-us/events/
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Question 1/2 in my 'pocket research design 2'. Inspired by professor in environmental philosophy Freya Matthews' text on biomimesis. See more details here: http://bit.ly/pokesurch2
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Dear Casper,
First of all, I would recommend you to read, besides Descola's Beyond Nature and Culture, at least The Perception of the Environment and Being Alive, by Tim Ingold. In this sense, they have been arguing for a long time about what I guess you call "pre-modern forager societies" (I am not sure what that really means; neither other categories we usually use).
In addition, I would be very careful about the conception of your "guidelines" and what you mean by that. From the "naturalist" point of view chosen by Descola, a guideline would imply a cultural pattern already laid down in advance to any personal involvement in the environment and, therefore, ready for transmission. If the draft of such guidelines would be possible, there would have no problem in transposing them from the environmental contexts of those pre-modern forager societies to the urban contexts inherent to the notion of "civilization" (in regard to the "city").
The question would be, then, whether such things as "cultural patterns" and "transmission" can even exist. If not, the answer for a "sustainability" along guidelines that cannot be transmitted as cultural patterns or mental models but re-created by a continuous education of attention would might lead to such transformation of "civilization" and the "city" that one could just say to have overcome both of them.
Regards,
Pedro
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Question 2/2 in my 'pocket research design 2'. Inspired by professor in environmental philosophy Freya Matthews' text on biomimesis. See more details here: http://bit.ly/pokesurch2
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Fantastic Idea "pocket research" ... I'll try to reply! (need to learn how to deal with my hamster wheel1)
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Brulle's framework (1996) for classifying environmental discourses (or simply, types of environmentalism) includes conservation, preservation, health, deep ecology, environmental justice, Eco-feminism and other strands of environmental philosophy that developed in the course of history of the environmental movement. I am interested in measures (e.g. scales) of individual environmental philosophy. In other words, can we examine which environmental philosophy an activist espouses?
Thank you.
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Hi Nikolay,
Good luck with this research - I'm interested in your outcomes! I know a PhD student who worked with environmental values (not philosophies) for his Honours research - here's a link as it may be of use or interest. http://www.gpem.uq.edu.au/docs/BEM-theses/Althor2014.pdf
Cheers,
Bec
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The importance of integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into western scientific knowledge system (WS) in NRM has been globally recognised. There has been a lot of research exploring the Indigenous traditional knowledge for environmental management. While sharing many research topics such as environmental philosophy in Indigenous culture and Indigenous participation, the research in different parts of world would have different focuses and interests. For example, in central Australia, where Indigenous people have always a close connection with the desert, such Indigenous traditional knowledge is closely associated with “desert knowledge”. In Taiwan, many studies focus on the relations (including conflicts) between indigenous traditional knowledge and modern environmental management approaches. In China, a lot of studies have concentrated on traditional knowledge protection.
It is believed that the indigenous knowledge from different indigenous communities in different countries would have some differences and similarities. Different researchers from different cultural backgrounds would also have different observations and perspectives on these issues. A comparative study, which involves researchers from different backgrounds, therefore, would be helpful to understand different indigenous cultures and therefore contribute to the integration of traditional knowledge into modern sciences to find the solutions for global environmental crises.
However, there are still some key issues associated with such comparative study, such as:  distinction of the role of TEK in NRM and the implication of integration of TEK into WS for NRM practice, research/practice gaps, and appropriate approaches….
Therefore I would like to ask these questions and expect to get answers, comments and ideas from you. Thank you.
1)      How do you say the role of TEK in NRM and the implication of integration of TEK into WS for NRM practice? Any examples?
2)      What should be done in future research to bridge different TEKs to contribute to fighting against global environmental crises? What are research gaps here?
3)      What do you think appropriate approaches /methodologies for such comparative study would be?
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Yes, you're right that it's relevant to compare different peoples, but then:
1) you have to make sure that your sampling scheme allows you to decipher differences due to peoples/cultures and differences due to context.
2) you have to take into account that, generally speaking, indigenous people do not like to be compared (at least it is the case in Canada). They feel it puts them into some kind of weird "competition", against their own will.
But all that being said, I agree with you that comparative studies, when conducted properly and following strict ethics rules, can be very informative.
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I am undertaking research into concern for the natural environment and I wondered if anyone could suggest models of environmental concern that I should investigate? My main interests are concerned with the psychological interaction of humans with the natural environment.
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I wrote a short piece that compares a few different theories-of-change. I tried to highlight what interventions promote durable behavior change.
I've also attached some slides I use in reviewing some of the common models of behavior change. The last slide compares a few models and shows that they may be using the same constructs but with slightly different names. (A version of the "toothbrush problem." No one want to use someone else's toothbrush).