Transforming Education, Perennially
Natural Systems Agriculture aims to change the way we farm, moving away from an extractive relationship to the Earth toward perennial crops that hold soil and work with ecosystems. Ecosphere Studies aims to change the way we think about the world and our place in it, through educational and cultural projects with a perennial perspective.
The ecosphere is the creative, living globe that is our home. Rather than viewing Earth as a planet composed of living and non-living parts, and people as separate from our environments, Ecosphere Studies understands human communities as nestled within ecosystems.
We are part of an intricately interdependent system, from which came an emergent property of life. This perspective allows us to address enduring questions of identity and ethics in new ways.
Since 2015, Ecosphere Studies has regularly brought together researchers and teachers to collaborate on ecospheric theory, pedagogy and curriculum.
Participants include historians, philosophers, farmers, scientists, lawyers, economists, artists, activists and writers whose experiences range from liberal arts programs and land-grant research universities to regional interdisciplinary consortiums and adult education non-profits.
They take what they learn back to their home places, where several are creating Ecosphere Studies courses and programs.
Ecospheric learning and teaching also will go forward in public workshops as we build a network to engage people of all ages in formal school settings and beyond.
Cultural Transformation for the Perennial Good
Most Western educational systems for the last three millennia have been derivative of, and dependent upon, an extractive agriculture and economy.
An ecospheric view critiques this hidden curriculum, asking: What parts of mainstream education are preparing students to create a socially and ecologically just world—a world without economic inequalities, human domination, soil erosion, species extinction and climate change? What cultural traditions are helping communities change course and negotiate a corrective, healing path forward?
To embed emerging scientific knowledge about our ecosphere and agriculture into education and cultural practices, and to spread a new way of thinking throughout society, Ecosphere Studies seeks to transcend the barriers between academic disciplines and help transform educational institutions and places of learning.
Read the Ecosphere Studies team’s recent article “Transforming Human Life on Our Home Planet, Perennially,” or watch this panel discussion regarding Ecosphere Studies at the 2016 Prairie Festival.
Support The Land Institute’s Ecosphere Studies efforts with a donation today!