Trying to sum up all the learning, unlearning, readings, blogs, and all my thoughts into 5 minutes is a daunting task but I’m going to give it my best shot. This may be messy but messy in a good way. Entering ESCI 302 at the start of the semester I wasn’t sure what to expect and to be honest I didn’t think I would leave the class with more questions and thoughts than I had answers but that is what occurred. Honestly at first, I was a little anxious and stressed about this and while I haven’t come full circle to love this idea I have come around to see the importance and benefits of this style of teaching/learning.
What is Environmental education? What does the environment mean to me? Two big questions to start the class and to start our blog process that I had never thought too much about and two questions that I thought would be simple to answer. When first posed with these questions my initial thoughts were maybe reading about the outdoors and then being able to experience it firsthand and overall unplugging. Wow did my thoughts change. Little did I know and thanks to David Orr I learned from the quote:
“First, all education is environmental education.” (Orr, 12).
I never thought that environmental education could be beneficial and be incorporated into all subject areas. I sure learned through our Inquiry Planning with EE Philosophies that Environmental Education can be incorporated throughout all subjects. This really went with my unlearning with how I thought that Environmental Education needed its own specific class. I think that the one thing that really stood out to me was when we were working with the worms and how it could be incorporated into different subject areas such as how we discussed the idea of reproduction.
Looking back at our blogs I can see how my initial thoughts and impressions have changed and how I have learned or unlearned through this process.
Creative journal # 1: My first blog post I thought about what the environment meant to me. I described it as an escape and a way to unplug. And while this can be part of the environment it is so much more. It is full of resources and is almost like its, its own person. It is made up of everything and needs to be taken care of. I left asking myself constantly what the environment means to me and I don’t think ill ever have a clear answer.
“It is when the earth starts to wake up from her well-deserved rest and renews her gifts to the people.” (168, Kimmerer)
My thought on this quote was that the earth is always giving to the people and that the people need to give back to the earth as well.
Creative journal #2: My second blog post was about taking the leap. Of course, thinking about recycling. I thought “I always recycle, I’m totally helping the environment”. Of course, a big part of this class in unlearning. Through my unlearning I realized while recycling is good there is much more I can do and even improve on my recycling.I could recycle more things that I am not recycling or recycling things like plastic bags that can’t be recycled. I had mentioned in my blog that I wanted to help with the end of deforestation. Kacie had commented and asked how I planned to do that and my thought was that I always had wanted a cabin in the woods and now my thoughts are that is not a thing I really need and even when I go camping to be careful to not break any branches that are attached to the trees and not being wasteful of things that have been cut down.
“The woods are the same as countless springs before this one; the citizens of Maple Nation are staring to wake up,” (172)
This made me think that people are starting to realize that they can and need to do more in the context of working to stop climate change. We know that this is a huge process and needs everyone to work together to help change this. It made me realize that I cant control other people but can control what I do and how I can help it.
Creative journal #3: I had initially said that I thought that embodiment in the context of climate changed was to do with stillness but now I think that it more has to do with what our bodies do in the context of climate change. Through our Embodying eco-literacy project, I was able to start to think about my body felt and how I changed with our project. I started to walk more from parking farther away and overall started to feel better for getting more exercise while also not polluting the air as much. For our ways of knowing it means that we have to constantly be changing and learning and unlearning. Never being satisfied with where we are at and just constantly working to improve our planet.
Creative journal #4: Going to the water treatment plant made me learn how much work goes into making our water clean for us to drink and made me realize how many people don’t have the opportunity for clean water and made me really realize how privileged we are.
Creative journal #5: I discussed the experiences I have had with environmental education.
On page 34 of the reading Newberry wrote, “Wilderness and nature are often represented in dominant discourse as spaces of leisure, as places to unwind or, alternatively wind up for expedition.” What I like about the statement is that taking this class, I was able to unwind and relax on this class and just enjoy my surroundings. On page 35 of the reading Newberry wrote, “Because wilderness and nature are called into being by the meanings given them, are constituted by their own representations, they are human creations and thus subject to the whims and politics of human activity.” I think that this is a perfect way to express my thoughts this week. Many lakes have been created and destroyed by us polluting and destroying them and they are no longer safe to just drink out of.
Creative journal #6: My thoughts about this blog post was inquiry. Without knowing it inquiry was a theme that was used throughout the course. Every reading and discussion we had throughout the semester had us asking questions, reflecting, investigating, discussing, creating, and then going back through the cycle and bouncing around them.
The blogs and readings made me feel vulnerable but also allowed me to express my feelings and thoughts in a way that I saw them and interpreted them. This process also shattered my previous thoughts and ways that I saw the environment. It made me realize how unaware I was and made me realize how I didn’t really care before and now that’s all changed.
Awareness was a huge theme in the class for me. For me everything we discussed made me aware of my actions and my surroundings. Specifically, our embodying ecoliteracy project and being aware of ways I thought I was helping the environment in context of climate change to unlearning many things that I didn’t even realize I was doing that wasn’t good. For example, the number of lectures I printed off to just recycle them at the end of the semester.
Inquiry was another theme throughout which I didn’t realize. Constantly asking questions, reflecting creating and then back again was a huge part of the class with all the topics and readings.
My EE philosophy: With the EE philosophy I have started to come to embrace Genuine Friluftsliv is a “philosophical lifestyle based on experiences of freedom in nature and the spiritual connectedness with the landscape” (p. 78) This spoke to me in different ways I started to think of the Indigenous people and their ways of life and thought about the stillness we had practiced. It made me feel more connected to the land and connect in spiritual ways.
“In each encounter, I am pushed, perplexed, softened, hardened & dare I say decolonized,” (Ho, 9).
Decolonizing encounters: This goes back to our conversation about the benefits and advantages of building forts and how it can make us see how forts hold many stories and resources but then how they are also moving resources from their home. I think of our field trip to the Regina Indian Industrial School site. I thought of how this made me feel walking through the mud and how it was getting on my shoes but how children were buried without proper acknowledgement and how mud on my shoes really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. As well how when we were working in the soil with the worms we may have thought “eww gross” but should’ve been thinking interesting.
“Within different historical and cultural contexts, different voices have been calling for actions that might also need to be added to the twin goal of decolonization and reinhabitation,” (Ho, 8).
Gelter, H. (2000). Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian Philosophy of Outdoor Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 5(1), 77-92.
Ho, J. Traveling with a World of Complexity: Critical Pedagogy of Place and My Decolonizing Encounters.
Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.
Newbery, L. (2012). Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring contested spaces of outdoor environmental education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 17, 30-45.
Orr, D.(2004), What is Education for? In Earth in Mind, pp. 7-15. Washington DC: First Island Press.
Rebeccaroneysblog, A. (n.d.). Posts about ESCI 302 on Rebecca Roney’s Blog. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from https://missroneysblog.wordpress.com/category/esci-302/