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Education and Worldviews, Systems Thinking and Values

On Earth Day, many people from around the world attended the Earth Charter International Earth Day Webinar; the theme was Worldviews, Systems Thinking and Values in the Planetary Phase of Human Civilization: during and beyond the pandemic. The webinar was moderated by Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of Earth Charter International and featured Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California and

Sam Crowell, Ph.D., professor emeritus of education at California State University San Bernardino and former director at the Center for Research in Integrative Learning and Teaching.  Sam Crowell is also a former faculty member of the Graduate Institute for Transformative Learning and is a facilitator with the Transformative Learning Foundation programs.

It was a rich and deep conversation that included these questions:  RECORDING HERE

What are the linkages between a healthy planet, healthy people, climate change and the current pandemic?

What is embedded in an Earth Community worldview and what is the role of education in cultivating that?

What is the role of education in this planetary phase of human civilization and in stimulating climate action?

What are the major roadblocks to move humanity towards an era of collaboration and human-nature harmony? And how to overcome them?

A few Ideas that came forward in response to listening to these speakers included:

The linkages are making it even more apparent that no matter the root cause of the virus-all systems are interrelated and the relationships between them brings home the inescapable responsibility for all people to see their part in the whole. People have personal responsibility and this is reflected in  policies, institutions, and structural adaptations. It is essential for us to be asking how do we change  people’s thinking?  New thoughts and new beliefs produce new decisions about what actions we can take and what new systems we can create that honors this interrelationship-keeping in mind that nature sustains life by sustainable community ecosystems.  Ecosystems that include plants, animals and microsystems. Fritjof encourages people to become eco-literate. This would require moving beyond linear thinking since nature is non linear, non sequential and unpredictable. Sam Crowell spoke of Paul Davies  and the nine attributes that could help us better understand the context of living systems and how to shift from linear thinking to embracing cycles, diversity, non linearity and emergence.  This list could support the shift in the culture of education systems.

  1. Complexity- we are multifaceted
  2. SelfOrganizing- we look to make meaning
  3. Unique- we have agency
  4. Emergence- life emerges from the bottom up
  5. Wholelism- reflects the parts that reflects the whole
  6. Unpredictability- and yet patterns emerge
  7. Openness – to witnessing the inter-connection
  8. Equilibrium- out of chaos comes order and creativity
  9. Evolving- sense of purpose

One quote that Sam shared from Ray Griggs is very encouraging- as we look to best engage with the fast changing world: “Teach only what you understand with your heart; then teach heart to heart.”

And Fritjof reminds us that sustainability is regenerative and sustainable education is regenerative.

Transformative learning is alive and well as we delve deeper into these topics within our TLF learning community.

Listen to the recording and take a look at the Earth Charter for it offers values -more valuable now than ever as we work toward the common good.

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