Yearning to be Round
A Primer in Ecoliteracy in 16 Parts
Introduction and Contents
This collection of essays is directed at anyone who wishes to be functionally literate in ecology, the study of how life on Earth works. It is particularly directed at anyone who educates children. I know of nothing more important than our raising children who understand what we are, what Earth is, where we came from, and how we relate to the rest of life.
Human understanding of biology and ecology has been revolutionized in the past thirty years. In these essays is new knowledge that all of us need. We can’t afford to wait the fifty years it usually takes for new knowledge to trickle down into the classroom—we don’t have the time.
We are in the midst of what is called, with a certain smugness, an “information explosion.” Information does not become knowledge until it is coherently linked to other information. The task of these essays is to present this earth information and create these coherent links. Knowledge is not wisdom, but when knowledge has been connected to human experience and valuing it has a chance of becoming wisdom. I hope that some of those connections are in these essays too.
As we engage the new millennium, a new paradigm is emerging, a new model of what life is and what we must become. Ecological literacy is a central part of this emerging paradigm.
A quick word on the plan of this book. Chapters 2 and 3 introduce thought strategies to help educators teach ecological literacy. All the rest is ecology, but it is ecology seen through the lenses of both art and deep ecology.
Arne Naess, the Norwegian ‘father’ of deep ecology, is fond of quoting the great seventeenth century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. My favorite Spinoza quote serves as a wonderful motto for earth educators and for this book:
We are as large as our loves.