Creative Journal # 5

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It seems that knowledge doesn’t necessarily equate to attitude and behaviour change.

During the past month, my AL group and I focussed our project on waste management. We were aware of the harm and effects of all the waste that were being produced daily by everyone on this earth and we wanted to make a change to reduce our waste. Before this project, I was pretty active in taking action to recycle but as the project progressed, I realized that there was so much more to learn about waste reduction and other ways to reuse or reduce the production of garbage that goes into the landfills.

Pollution of waste is just one of many ecological issues that surround us. During the class presentations we were made aware of other ecological issues like the harmful effects of triclosan and phosphate, decline of bees, soil erosion, consumerism, and the effects of our ecological footprint. These are major problems that we have to face and even with the knowledge of these ecological issues that are taught to us in schools or by the media, some of us might find it overwhelming to take action to help in reducing or preventing these issues. David Sobel states in an article, “My fear is that our environmentally correct curriculum will end up distancing children from, rather than connecting them with, the natural world. The natural world is being abused, and they just don’t want to deal with it.” Some people might find that even though they know the consequences of these issues and the harm it does on the environment, they might not feel like they have to or want to do anything about it because they don’t have a sense of connection to the natural world for them to care for it.

It is not enough for us to know or to teach our students about the ecological issues that are present in this world, but we need to make a connection with the world and care about it first. This ties in with my first few posts about developing a relationship with our environment and becoming eco-literate. We need to teach ourselves and our students to create a bond with nature, experience and understand what the environment is. Sobel sums the idea up nicely with this statement, “If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the Earth before we ask them to save it.”

Sobel, D. (1998). Beyond Ecophobia. Retrieved November 14, 2015, from http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/education-for-life/803

Creative Journal # 4

Development of my Eco-Identity:

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This picture represents the development of my eco-identity through multiple journeys I’ve experienced since as early as I can remember. My eco-identity has shaped who I am and is continuously changing through different encounters I have with the the world each day. Memories and stories have formed with each experience which helped me make meaning with the environment and with the world we live me.

I remember the countless amount of time we spent outside in the backyard during my childhood. My siblings and I would run through the grass in our bare feet, climb up the cherry tree to collect fruit, watch the tiny black ants crawl on the grey cement, and roam around the “scary” cobwebbed rose bush, which we later made into our secret garden. My backyard was a place of exploration and I felt free to interact with the environment which allowed me to develop my sense of eco-identity.

Along with the stories I created from exploring in my backyard, I remember all the camping trips we took as a family. These memories included the countless hours we spent on the highway as we drove to the provincial campgrounds, the different pathways we took across the mossy wet forest grounds to look for firewood, and the cold crisp air on a clear night as we gazed up into the sky. My siblings and I were always curious and wanted to explore which helped us gain a better understanding of our environment.

Through these different experiences and encounters, I was able to make a connection with the environment which will help foster “a deep respect for living nature and long lasting relationships with the world” (Capra, 2007, p.18).

Capra, F. (2007). Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, & the Breath of LifeCanadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12(1), 9-19.

Meta-Reflection

“In the Middle of Things”

Throughout this semester, we have had the opportunity to build on our knowledge of the environment and what ecological education means to us. My initial thoughts on what the environment means to me has gradually shifted and the meaning has broadened as I go through this journey of learning. As I look back at my blog posts, I realized that my ideas and beliefs of the environment has expanded and some of the discourses I thought of related to environment was interrupted. This interruption brought about change and helped me reflect on what I thought environment/ environmental education means. Also, what it means for me as an educator and ways I can bring or reflect my thoughts through practices that I can utilize in a classroom.

My first thoughts on what the environment meant to me was very simple and narrow minded. At the beginning of this semester, I viewed the environment as everything around us which includes the people we are with, the classroom we are in, the pathway we walk on, or the trees that we see. My view started to shift as we discussed our thoughts with a partner in class. Rhandi discussed her views on the environment which helped me broaden my idea and belief of what the environment consists of. She explained that everything in nature like the trees, lakes and animals was her view of environment which was a new perspective for me. With this understanding, I started to bridge the two thoughts together and expanded my thinking that the environment is all the natural and artificial things that are in our daily lives. It is about understanding and connecting ourselves with the world around us, along with making sense of the natural systems that are apart of our lives.

With having the belief that the environment is everything around us, including the natural world and artificial man-made structures, we need to think of or learn ways to live respectfully in this environment. A quote from an article by David Orr really impacted my way of thinking and made me question my role as a human in this environment. Orr suggests in the reading that we “desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places.” (2004, p. 12). I pondered a while about what it meant and how I can be one of those people that Orr talks about. I realized that it’s not just about knowing what the environment is, but how we can sustain and protect our natural environment through action and words. This realization was not made by reading Orr alone, but with the new perspective that Victoria shared through her ecoliteracy poem. She helped me become aware of the importance of knowing and recognizing the ecological issues that are currently present in our environment and to take action to preserve and prevent further damage to the place we call home.

As the semester continued, my thoughts on environment slowly changed. Along with thinking about environment as everything in our surrounding, I was beginning to recognize that ecological issues are playing a big part in my understanding of environment and eco-literacy. We easily think of the environment as something beautiful and natural, something we assume will always stay the same even though we are well aware of the consequences of our actions. As Rachel Carson questions in a reading, “have we fallen mesmerized and accepted the inevitable which is inferior and detrimental, as though we have lost the will or vision to demand that which is good?” (1962, p.12). I have to admit, prior to this class I didn’t think much about the issues that were affecting our environment even though I was aware of them and I didn’t do much to resolve the problem.

The knowledge that I gained and the change of perspectives made me become more aware and broadened my understanding of the environment and what it meant to be eco-literate. This knowledge has translated through my actions and thoughts towards our AL Group project which we have chosen to focus on waste reduction. As this project is taking place, I have strengthened my awareness of the amount of waste I produce which is contributing to the pollution of our environment. I keep trying to imagine the amount of waste that is accumulated throughout the years by humans and the effects of this contamination to our environment.

It is not enough for us to become aware of the environment and the harmful effects that we are doing, but we also need to educate others, especially future generations. We as teachers can bring change to our environment through teaching students to understand, build relationships, connect with the environment and maintain positive interactions. As Capra suggests, we should “create possibilities for developing abiding relationships with the natural world” (2007, p. 17). I want to be able to teach my students to look beyond what they see in the world and really connect with the environment through creating experiences and meaning.

Carson, R. (2002/1962). Silent Spring. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Capra, F. (2007). Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, & the Breath of Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12(1), 9-19.

Orr, David (2004), What is Education for? In Earth in Mind, pp. 7-15. Washington DC: First Island Press.

Creative Journal # 3

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Knowing the context and history of environment will help us become more connected to the environment:

When we think about or go into our environment, we often just see it as it is.

We notice the colours of the leaves change, the drying of the cement after a rainstorm, and the grass moving with the wind. We are connected to the nature through experiences that we encounter everyday but have we ever wondered about the history and stories that are embedded in our environment? After reading Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring contested spaces of outdoor environment Education by Liz Newberry, I realized that it is very important for us to understand the history and context of our enviroment which will enable us to connect in a deeper way.

The land that we and others have lived on, the trees we see, the grass we smell, and the water we touch all have stories of their own that needs to be told. They have all encounter different struggles, relationships with people and animals, developed stories and knowledge that should be shared. Newberry describes, “the very place of outdoor education—the outdoors, the land—bears a heavy imprint of colonization both in its histories of land cessions and in the dominant discourses through which wilderness space is so often imagined.” (p. 30, 2012). We need to understand that the natural environment that we see today have been through many struggles to get to where it is now. Being able to learn and understand the history and context of our environment will help us become more connected and develop a new sense of appreciation and respect. It may also help us find ways to restore the culture, tradition, and relationships that nature has lost.

Newberry, L. (2012). Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring contested spaces of outdoor environmental education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 17, 30-45.

Eco-Literacy Braid

Eco-literacy Letter: Braid

At the start of this assignment, I had to think and reflect again as to what I thought eco-literacy meant to me and my experience with the environment. I thought about my two nieces, Nicole and Jessica, who have brought me on so many of their adventures around nature and have taught me to see the environment through different lenses. As Capra (2007) states in the reading, Ecological literacy is the understanding the principles of organization that have evolved in ecosystems and to understand the principles of ecology, we need a new way of seeing and thinking about the world- in terms of relationships, connectedness, and context. Also, Capra suggests that we should “create possibilities for developing abiding relationships with the natural world” (2007, p. 17). Through the encounters of the environment and the lessons of interacting, connecting, and making relationships with the world around us, my nieces have taught me what it meant to be eco-literate.

As we shared our letter or poem in a group, I noticed that Payton wrote a poem very similar to mine. She looked at ecoliteracy through the eyes of her young neighbour who was very curious about the world and had a passion for nature. She watched the joy and fascination of all the different encounters he had with the environment from the littlest things like watching the fresh snow fall to playing in the leaves. Payton saw the connection her neighbour had with the environment and the love he had for mother nature. Both, Payton’s neighbour and myself had a connection to the environment through nature which we explored, asked questions, and interacted with.

At the end of Payton’s poem she wrote that she wishes for her neighbour to never see the harm that humans have done to the environment. This sentence made me think about eco-literacy in a whole new light which I want to connect with the poem that Victoria shared. Victoria wrote a poem about her sister who is aware of the ecological issues that are present in the world and is actively taking part in caring about the environment by doing everything she can to reduce her carbon footprint in the world she lives in. She highlighted the importance of knowing and recognizing environmental issues and described the actions her sister was taking to preserve or prevent destruction of the environment.

This view of seeing the environment through the lens of ecological issues and sustainability has broadened my understanding of eco-literacy. I had a narrow view on the environment and only thought of it in the perspective of nature, but after hearing Victoria’s poem, I have connected the two ideas together and recognized that the environment and eco-literacy is about how we connect and maintain positive interactions with the world around us through curiosities and actions to preserve our environment. As David Orr suggests in the reading, we “desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places.” (2004, p. 12). We all need to do our part in maintaining the beauty of our environment so future generations can experience the world as we have.
Capra, F. (2007). Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, & the Breath of LifeCanadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12(1), 9-19.

Orr, David (2004), What is Education for? In Earth in Mind, pp. 7-15. Washington DC: First Island Press.

Eco-Literacy Letter

Ecoliteracy Love Letter

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Dear Nicole and Jess,

First off, I want to say thank you! Thank you for letting me come on all your adventures and explorations. From walking to the park behind 婆婆 (grandma’s) house, to walking down the wobbly dock to the lake at the cabin, or skipping down the sidewalk of the busy street. Both of you have shown me so much more about the environment than I have ever experienced before on my own.

You have taught me to wait in stillness as we sit on the side of the dock with our feet dipped in the lake, listening to the crickets chirp on the grass, watching the ripples in the water as the fish poke its head up, and feeling the coolness of the wind against my face. Both of you have also helped me to become more aware of everything that is in our pathway. I remember the time we slowly walked across the squeaky suspension bridge as we stepped across the wooden planks and the cool touch of the wire when we grasped it for balance, along with the sound of the rushing river below us.

You have taught me to wonder about the nature and the environment, interact with the world around us and make connections and relationships with living and non-living things. Thank you for helping me better connect with our environment and for helping me understand that there is more than just what we see. Rather, it is the sounds we hear, the touch we feels, the scents we smell and the connections and interactions we make with the world around us.

Love,
大姨