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“Some men see things as they are and say: WHY? I dream things that never were and say: WHY NOT?”
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Papers & Presentations

Environmental Literacy Presentation

The following is based on a presentation given by Chris at a Rotary District conference in Karratha (West Coast of Australia) May 2000.

The content has been adapted and modified to suit this format. We have however retained the Australian context as it offers us the benefit of so many centuries of hindsight.

The subject matter reaches so far beyond politics that we need not distract ourselves with political correctness.

Not only does “Environmental Literacy” need to be viewed as a human issue in an ecological context; more importantly, it is about humans being able to assess an ecological context in a practical manner.

Perhaps “Environmental Literacy” may even prove to be a key to achieving a balance within Nature where all humans have the opportunity to grow up, to live and to die with dignity.

The key to YEAR 3000 celebrations?

ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY

The ability to read what is going on in an environment in an ecological context, rather than from a human or personal perspective.

A very basic introduction by Chris Henggeler

“It will soon be unacceptable for any economist, politician, or corporate CEO to remain environmentally illiterate...” ALLAN SAVORY.

If we were to compare environmental literacy with musical literacy, it could look as follows:

I. BASIC OR FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL: HEARING THERE IS A RHYME, TUNE OR PATTERN

The awareness of:

  • "Holism" (Nature functions in "wholes"; in whole situations, or in patterns; we cannot meaningfully isolate parts; just like the study of oxygen or hydrogen in isolation will tell us nothing about water)
  • Our role in the one ECO-SYSTEM (which consists of many environments)
  • Four fundamental processes which determine all biological activity
  • The true meaning of the word "BIODIVERSITY"
  • Where to look for answers

II. GENERAL LEVEL: THE ABILITY TO READ NOTES AND TO PLAY OR SING THEM

The ability to recognize:

  • a particular environment and to know its main characteristics
  • the effectiveness with which the fundamental processes are functioning
  • the role of “edge effect”; it's influence on “community dynamics” and the “carbon cycle”
  • the management tools available to us and how they might be applied
  • the difference between an “holistic approach” and “a process for managing holistically”
  • what management models are currently available to us and where to find out about them
  • the role of “solar economics” and the meaning of “triple bottom line”
  • why in the long term “systems” will always fail (when living things are involved)

III. MANAGEMENT LEVEL: THE ABILITY TO COMPOSE, WRITE AND PLAY / SING A SONG

The ability to knowingly manipulate environmental processes to favour a predetermined outcome, to monitor progress and to effectively react when required.

IV. PLANNING LEVEL: THE ABILITY TO COMPOSE AND TO CONDUCT A SYMPHONY

The skills, experience and support required to assist at regional and national policy levels.