An open framework for socioecological literacy
This website describes earth smarts, or socioecological literacy, an education-friendly framework that describes the qualities we need to justly maintain or improve our quality of life in a changing world. Think of it as a kind of street smarts writ large, something that will help us thrive in challenging times.
What qualities do we need to improve our wellbeing? The evidence suggests our world is changing rapidly, so individuals and communities will have to adapt to remain happy and healthy. But living in cities makes it harder for us to understand the connections to natural systems that we rely on. Do you know where your water and energy really come from?
Our ancestors sure did - they relied on ecological knowledge for survival. We are losing that knowledge at an unprecedented rate, and although our education systems could help, they haven't been doing a very good job. Earth smarts provides a framework that educators, researchers and policy makers can all benefit from. Earth smarts is an educational construct that is:
- practical, made up of components designed to be learned, practiced and developed;
- theoretically grounded, drawing on a range of academic disciplines and professions;
- nonpartisan, based on respect, justice as fairness, and a nearly universal human desire for quality of life;
- flexible enough to be useful across different cultures and ecosystems;
- flexible enough to encourage teacher localization and creativity; and
- focused enough to be practical in modern, standards-based classrooms.
Interested? Here are some ways to learn more and get involved:
- Check out Earth Smarts 101 for a quick introduction to the domains and primary components.
- Explore the menu to the left, where you can examine the domains and components, meet the researcher, or take a closer look at the research methodology and the references that earth smarts emerged from.
- Explore the Java version of the Earth Smarts Mind Map, expanding and contracting the domains and components with your mouse or the arrow keys. Just hit the back button when you're done, and if it doesn't work, your browser might need an updated version of Java).
- Or have a look at a PNG image of earth smarts that is fully expanded to show the components.
- If you need a printable version, download the Earth Smarts Handout, a PDF summary that includes a graphic of the construct and brief summaries of the components.
- For a more in-depth look, try the Earth Smarts Report, which covers the components in more detail and includes connections and references.
- The Earth Smarts Blog has research updates, book reviews and other interesting updates, intellectual tidbits and environmental morsels.
- The inaugural edition of the open access Journal of Sustainability Education, includes an introduction to essential ecoliteracy.
- And most of all, contribute your own expertise and insight to the validation and localization of components by taking the survey.