globe and degree

Earth Smarts 101

The Major Components

Earth smarts, or socioecological literacy, describes the qualities we need to justly maintain, or improve, our quality of life beyond the short term. This is important for a couple big reasons. For starters, many societies live in unsustainable ways, which threatens their wellbeing, as well as that of other cultures and species. Over the course of human history, many such societies have faded or collapsed, often disastrously. But earth smarts is also important because we are realizing that the world changes, sometimes quite rapidly, and we need to be able to adapt to those changes to maintain our quality of life.

So it doesn't really matter if you are conservative (I want to keep what I have), progressive (I want to change things for the better) or something in between. Earth smarts is practical and nonpartisan, and using the framework will help you and your community keep or improve your quality of life in a fair and just way.

But what does a modern individual or community need to know? What skills do we need in an increasingly crowded, urban and technological world? Earth smarts emerged from an extensive, transdisciplinary literature analysis, with a focus on educational goals that are achievable. Brief descriptions of the major components appear below the diagram - for an overall summary, see the Domains page. You might also want to explore the expandable Java version of the earth smarts mind map, or download the brief Earth Smarts Handout or more detailed Earth Smarts Report.

domains and primary components mind map

Concepts (knowledge, content)

Competencies (skills, abilities)

Values (ethics)

Sense of Place (awareness, affect, emotions)

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