The last two World Reports have had a common theme that stems from our connection with nature. If you remember last month's Future Care World Report we talked about Rachel Carson's story and its relevance to our day and age. Carson's relationship with nature was one of the biggest reasons we were blessed with such an amazing naturalist and passionate activist. I can only imagine that if we all had been raised up and taught to have a deep relationship with mother nature that there wouldn't be nearly as many environmental issues existing today. So this is the direction we've decided to go this month for the world report. This week's exploratory question is an appendage of the question we asked last month (What holds the answers to our ecological challenges?). This week we'll dive a little further and ask what might the curriculum for caring for the earth look like?
If you were to design a curriculum for your children or a youth group that helped raise the next generation of regenerators, what would it look like? I'm honestly curious and maybe I'll convince a few of us to have a deeper discussion about this in the Pando Commons Slack Community. Maybe we don't have to rewrite the curriculum and we can use what has already been created. I see things like Waldorf education and Charlotte Mason philosophies and I think, "Wow, they really had it down! Why don't we all receive an education like this?"
Many of you know that I've been reading the book "Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature," by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown. As I've been studying this book and referring to other nature education philosophies like it, I'm starting to recognize that there is a pattern going on here or at least a common theme that exists in any nature-based education.
Now, this is my take on nature-based learning and how it works in our minds and it is a limited one at best so I'm asking for your input here as well. My thought is that when we have mother nature as our main mentor and educator this is the natural progression of our education:
First, we gravitate to what we enjoy or what inspires us. Second, our passions cause us to interact with nature and we develop a positive relationship with it as we see it as something that brings joy. Third, our joyful relationship with nature allows us to explore a specific part of it more deeply. Fourth, when we dive into a deeper study of a specific part of nature, we become comfortable with it, and it becomes a part of us. Fifth, being comfortable with our understanding, we naturally want others to know about it and so we gather what we do know and we share it with others.
Sixth, our journey, and exploration within what previously caused curiosity and stemmed from our passion is coming to an end and so we begin to reflect and ponder on the journey. Seventh, something interesting happens here, we begin to recognize just how interconnected everything is and our understanding shows us that what we just learned is connected to everything else we know! Wow! Big light bulbs turn on! Connections are made and we step into the final stage in our learning journey.
The eighth part of the learning journey is actually the ending and beginning. What I've noticed is that as soon as we think we know everything we can about something, nature shows us that we know nothing and it gives us another point of curiosity to explore. We end our prior journey and begin a new one. That's the pattern I've witnessed in my life when I've tried to learn naturally and I think Jon Young shares that journey quite beautifully in Coyote's Guide through what the book calls the Natural Learning Cycle.
In many ways, I see the permaculture and regenerative movement as a group effort to apply this natural learning cycle to the world. Even more than that, I think it is a way of coming back to our deep connection with nature and each other. Most of these natural learning curriculums are based on foundational philosophies that have existed for as long as man has existed. They come from indigenous wisdom, generational knowledge, and inherent truths that stand the test of time. I rarely see them come from "cutting edge science" or the "latest technology" because much of what we dub science and technology these days is a very out-of-touch way of learning.
Because mankind has become out of touch with nature and the natural way of learning, we create solutions that are the beginning of problems. We create problems that need the "next best solution." I mentioned a few of these in the podcast, but again, I'm curious to know how you've seen this show up in the world. What social, economic, and ecological challenges exist today that stem from our unnatural way of learning?
OK! So what's the solution? Build a meaningful relationship with nature, see our interdependence and relationship between ourselves and nature, and orient each other in the curriculum of nature. Seems easy enough, right? It's at least simple enough to grasp, but I think where it becomes difficult is when we begin to recognize and use the interdependence between one another. Just as nature teaches us, we are all connected and in order for us to create the change we wish to see, we have to join hands with those we may question our relationship with. Can you work hard to see the relationship between you and a perceived enemy? I'm curious to know what nature can teach us here. Most reading this won't question the need for biodiversity, but do we question the need for diversity of mind? Just a thought =)
Ok, last notes... Here is a spreadsheet I've made and the beginning of a collective database of media resources I hope the Pando Academy Commons can use and expand. If you have a regenerative news outlet, podcast, blog, educational video, documentary, etc. you'd like to share please add a note to this spreadsheet. Also, feel free to use this as a free resource for you to explore information out there regarding regeneration, permaculture, ecology, donut economics, and any related field.
Till next time, keep growing! Keep growing the garden, your mind, your heart, and of course your regenerative livelihood.
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