Meta-Reflection: “In the Middle of Things”

As we are approaching to almost the end of the semester, I looked up all of my blog postings I have done so far. While re-reading my posts, I found some connections and development between the postings, as my notion towards environment education changes.

In my first posting, I drew 4 elements (Sun, Soil, Water and Air) that, I think, as important sources to consist and make the environment sustainable. Along with the picture, I discussed about humans being responsible for the disrupted environment, hence we need to be aware of our acts, as it would be the first step for us to take in order to save our nature. This post showed me that I was seeing the environment and humans separately because I thought that we, as humans, were the ones who can save the environment and that’s how we supposed to interact with nature. I realized that I was very used to the idea of anthropocentric, as I was considering human being as a center of everything and humankind as the most powerful source in the world.

It was not until reading Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, and the Breath of Life (Capra, 2007), that I started to see humans living ‘in’ nature, by understanding the relationship between the environment and things that consist of. As Capra (2007) suggested, humans are a part of nature, and the idea of sustainable living can be achieved when we value the “interdependence” (p. 13) that exists within the environment. As soon as I became to see the importance of interconnectedness in the system of nature together with a philosophy of deep ecology, I realized that there’s a need for humans to appreciate what the earth is providing for us, because what makes the connection stronger is that acknowledging and being acknowledged by each other. Along with this thought, I wrote my ecoliterate poem as a little tool for encouraging people to appreciate and be respectful towards the environment.

Until then, I thought I was pretty good at strengthening my perception towards environment and environmental education. However, Newbery’s (2012) article gave me another new insight, specifically in regards to the idea of wilderness and outdoor education. Before reading this, the typical image of wilderness in my mind was a place where is sacred, silent, untouched or unpolluted by humans, and perhaps several animals are living in, but no humans at all. That being said, I was very used to think of the environment and the idea of land through the Western ways of knowing, which lacks of “a critical pedagogy of colonialism”(Newbery, 2012, p. 31) that has happened on this very land. With Newbery’s (2012) article, however, my idea of outdoor education became no longer about ‘having some fresh air’, nor ‘exploring the greens’. In fact, I realized that educators need to see the outdoor education curriculum as a method to introduce Indigenous history and culture to students. Being outside by stepping on the ground should be an opportunity for students to recognize colonial history in Canada, see the land as a legacy of what has happened between Indigenous people and white settlers. I also believe that by being exposed to these concepts, students would get to learn about Indigenous culture, and the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. With this understanding, I created my third visual representation by putting various Indigenous flags and children together, with a hope of children growing up while broadening their knowledge of colonialism, through outdoor education.

To summarize, I realized that all of my journals are sharing a common theme – ‘relationship’. From the beginning of this semester, I was thinking of humans and the environment as a ‘one-way relationship’ through a notion of anthropocentric: either humans benefiting from nature, or humans exploiting/damaging nature. After realizing the idea of interdependence, however, I learned that the relationship between the environment and humans is inseparable because humans are one of many things that consist of the environment. I, then, started to see the relationship of colonial history and contemporary outdoor education while noticing the fact that “the Euro-centrism … pervades educational practice” (Newbery, 2012, p. 33), by ignoring the history of settler-Canadians and Indigenous people. As such, although the word ‘relationship’ includes several different viewpoints in each journal, I believe that all is aiming at one idea: ‘everything is interconnected’. I am truly excited to see these connections becoming even more strengthened and clearer throughout my journey of becoming an environmental educator!

 


References

Capra, F. (2007). Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, and the Breath of Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12. Retrieved from: https://cjee.lakeheadu.ca/article/view/624/507

Newbery, L. (2012). Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring contested spaces of outdoor environmental education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 17, 30-45. Retrieved from: https://cjee.lakeheadu.ca/article/view/1112/653

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