Ecoliteracy was a term I’ve heard of before but I didn’t have a really good understanding of what it meant. I associated the term with topics related to ecology and sustainability and had a very broad idea as to what ecoliteracy entitled. After reading the article Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, and the breath of Life by Fritjof Capra, I started to grasp the idea that ecoliteracy meant understanding the natural systems in our world that make life possible. Capra suggests that the “definition of sustainability implies that in order to build sustainable communities, we must understand the principles of organization that have evolved in ecosystems over billions of years. This understanding is what we call “ecological literacy.””(p.10, 2007).
In the article, Capra describes that “every living organism, from the smallest bacterium to all the varieties of plants and animals (including humans) is a living system” (p.11, 2007). This means everything in our environment from the trees that we see when we walk outside to the hidden fungi growing in the dirt and the tiniest living particles floating in the air. Along with the natural environment or ecosystem, we can also think about human social systems like families, school, and other human communities as a part of the living system (Capra, 2007).
We need to understand how these living organisms are connected and how they are important to us in our environment. We need to understand how nature sustains life and how we can interact better with the world around us. We as future teachers need to help students experience and understand how nature sustains life and how to live accordingly. To do that, I think we need to teach and model sustainable practice by giving the opportunity for students to explore and build a relationship with the environment.
Capra, F. (2007). Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, & the Breath of Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12(1), 9-19.