Meta Reflection~ In the Middle of Things

I focused my first journal article on the reading by David Orr (2004). Initially my views on this article were a little hostile. He scrutinized education for the way that it teaches us to see the world. He criticized success and all that it stands for. At first, this offended me and made me uncomfortable for some of my greatest wants are to be an “educated” individual and I don’t plan to stop educating myself until I become “successful”. I dream of success and living this life of luxury and that is when I realize that maybe Orr (2004) is right, maybe this path of success that I am dreaming about isn’t what I should be dreaming about at all. These dreams I’m having do not involve according with nature and the world at all, they involve me getting ahead and “using” aspects of nature to get there.

I do still believe that there are different definitions of success out there and I don’t hold Orr’s idea of success to be the one and only yet. Orr views success as this evil and bad thing. He makes this clear in his statement, “but at all costs avoid one thing: success” (Orr 2004, pg 11). He holds the view that being a drunk or a bastard is somehow much better than achieving success. In contrast, I believe that it can be good and that we can be successful while still seeing the value in things and according with nature. Since I have read this article I have realized that I need to not be so sceptical when someone makes such bold claims that don’t harmonize with my initial thoughts. My beliefs have evolved and I can now and in the future be critical of what I read and what I hear. I realize that you can agree with certain parts and disagree with others; I don’t have to accept the whole entirety as true.

Capra’s article really pushed my understandings of our world a little bit deeper. We tend to overlook the fact that we depend on so many things in our existence. We are such an individualistic nation that we ignore that fact that we wouldn’t exist on our own. We are all interconnected, with people and with nature in general. In school assignments we tended to leave ourselves out of the food webs that we created because we view ourselves as superior to all of that yet in actuality we are a part of it. We also depend on of the aspects of nature, just as they depend on us. Why is it that we hold ourselves higher than everything else? Is it the Normative Narrative that has urged us to believe that we are better than life itself? If we had taken into account a more Eastern Narrative or an Aboriginal Narrative would we still be so individualistic and in my opinion, naïve? I believe that Western society has created many of the environmental issues that are occurring today and maybe if we criticised the dominant discourse more frequently, the earth would be in better condition.

In terms of Eco literacy, I believe that I was very naïve in my initial thoughts towards it. I believed that Eco literacy was one static idea or definition. I thought that it was simply reducing, reusing and recycling. How much more complex could you make that? Now, I know that it is much more complicated and that it isn’t simply one thing. There are so many facets involved in Eco Literacy and I realized that when we shared our Love Letters and Poems with each other in groups. Everyone seemed to have this fresh outlook on what Eco Literacy is. That urges me to believe that it is something different to everyone and there is no “definition” of it. Payton’s view was in the eyes of a child, and on experiencing and appreciating the outdoors and what it has to offer. Chloe and myself shared a more similar view of Eco Literacy. We focused more on the small changes that individuals could do in order to have less negative impact on the environment. We may have overlooked experiencing and appreciating the outdoor aspects. Eco Literacy is in the eye of the beholder I suppose.

In terms of my most recent blog post regarding the Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History (Newman, 2012) article by Liz Newman, this is the area of change that I would most like to implement in my future career as an educator. I don’t want to completely discard the normative western narrative of history in school but I really want to give all points of view on historical events a fair and equal emphasis. I hope to encourage higher-level thinking in my students and let them be critical of which history they resonate with best. I can’t imagine that I will have as much trouble as Newman (2012) states in terms of telling the true history of colonialism and cultural genocide. I am a very blunt person and telling the truth even when it may cause discomfort to some has never been an issue to me. In reality, the right thing to do often does cause some discomfort but over time we can change the norm and therefore the right thing becomes easier to do.

David W. Orr. Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1994. 224 pp. (1996). Organization & Environment.

Fritjof Capra, 2007, “Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, & the Breath of Life” Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, pg. 9-19.

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

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