Category Archives: ecoliteracy

“Can critical pedagogy be greened?” Part 2 of the Conversation on Ecopedagogy with Rebecca Martusewicz

In Part 2 of our conversation Martusewicz moves from root metaphors and their destructive, patriarchal force. With Wendell Berry she shows us how to write a better story to create a different world. For example, she discusses her pedagogical style of having a conversation with her students about how to teach a subject (such as, math) to calculate the cost of settler colonialism. Martusewicz (and Bowers before her) critiques Freire for relying too much on these roots metaphors, with the human remaining central in his theory. She wants to be in and of the ecological as a way to critique the direction of higher education toward neoliberal capitalism (and a business model of students as consumers) and offers a way to return to values and to being caretakers of the earth.

Theme and interstitial music for Nothing Never Happens is performed by Aviva & the Flying Penguins and Lance Eric Haugan, written and arranged by Lance Eric Haugan.

Additional altro music is by Paul Myhre and Mike Shelton, “Written” (2019). Their music can be found of reverbnation.com

Ecojustice pedagogy: Part 1 of a conversation with Rebecca a. Martusewicz

Rebecca Martusewicz (pronounced: marta-savage) is Professor of Social Foundations and Community Education in the Department of Teacher Education at Eastern Michigan University. She was a founder and director of the Southeast Michigan Stewarship (SEMIS) Coalition, developing “citizen stewards of the Great Lakes.”

I spoke with Prof. Martusewicz about her new book, A Pedagogy of Responsibility: Wendell Berry for Ecojustice Education, (Routledge, 2018). She draws inspiration for ecopedagogy from the life and writings of conservationist, novelist, essayist, poet activist Berry. In her teacher education classes Martusewicz works with students on developing a cultural-ecological analysis. Berry’s writings helped in understanding the systemic causes of the contradictions in the anthropocene. Using C.A. Bower’s concept of root metaphors: emancipated individualism, a linear view of progress, and anthropocentrism, Martusewicz shows how humans are implicated in climate change and ecological destruction. Using Berry’s writings, especially his poetry and essays, she shows how to rebuild relationships back to wholeness.

Teaching Sustainability: Focus on Fair Food and Ecojustice with Rev. Noelle Damico

Rev. Noelle Damico

Rev. Noelle Damico (United Church of Christ) is an activist educator and movement builder with the Alliance for Fair Food.[http://www.allianceforfairfood.org/]. She coordinated the 2 million member Presbyterian Church USA’s involvement in the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s Campaign for Fair Food [https://ciw-online.org/], among many other food justicecampaigns. This podcast takes place in an actual class setting, my Religion and Ecology class at Agnes Scott College, a historic women’s liberal arts college in Decatur, GA. Noelle joined us via Skype in our unit on connecting issues of economic justice to the larger topic of sustainability.

What is often missing in mainstream discussions of the organic food movement is workers. Noelle takes us through the founding of the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s campaign and the “sea-change” it brought, and continues to bring, in the food system, to create a system that works for all people. Issues of safety, forced labor, human trafficking, gender violence, poverty wages, wage theft, and worker abuse are all parts of the history of injustices that CIW addresses.

A worker-driven social responsibility model begins at the work site, determined by the workers who become organizers and change-agents through marches, education tours, hunger strikes, boycotts, and other direct actions. Joining CIW are faith leaders and students as partners. One outcome on university campuses has been the cutting of contracts with Taco Bell on over 25 campuses. The current Boycott Wendy’s campaign [http://www.boycott-wendys.org/] seeks to continue to move companies beyond their “corporate responsibility codes” to real food justice. The CIW campaign has shown that changing the conditions in the field is at the root of a sustainable food future.

Pedagogy is an action verb here. On my campus the tomatoes in our dining hall are part of the fair food system; Aramark was (reluctantly but eventually) one of the signers. But our Aramark dining staff continue, through their own worker-driven campaign, to fight for fair wages and a workplace that offers respect and human dignity (through their union, SEIU). Though unionized, their struggle is difficult. Thus, fair farm and campus food workers are connected.

As part of the class students engage in a practicum with the campus Office of Sustainability in a variety of areas (climate change events, organic farming, National Audubon wildlife site, bees, and also economic justice with the campus Living Wage Campaign). One student working with the campaign joined the Aramark union steward and me on the WRFG Labor Forum, as well as our Economic Justice Teach-In. She also assisted with our “love poster” action in the dining hall for the staff—big posters we are hanging each week, signed with notes of appreciation and affection by community members, for each dining services staff member.

Theme music for Nothing Never Happens is by Aviva and the Flying Penguins and Lance Eric Haugan. Additional music is by Paul Myhre: “Dreams of Winter Sans Guitar (2019).”

My audio engineers are: Reagin Turner, China Wilson, and Megan Simmons. I can be reached at tpippin@agnesscott.edu.

Ecopedagogies: Resources

The Green Seminary Initiative: http://www.greenseminaries.org/

GreenFaith: http://www.greenfaith.org

The Center for Spirituality in Nature: http://www.centerforspiritualityinnature.org/

The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology: http://fore.yale.edu/about-us/

Methodist School of Theology in Ohio Ecotheology Program: https://www.mtso.edu/ecotheology/

Seminary Hill Farm: https://www.seminaryhillfarm.org/

The Earth Charter: www.earthcharter.org

 Green Theory & Praxis: The Journal of Ecopedagogy: http://greentheoryandpraxisjournal.org/

 Kahn, Richard. 2010. Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy, and Planetary Crisis. New York: Peter Lang.

Kearns, Laurel and Catherine Keller. 2007. Ecospirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth. New York: Fordham University Press.

Sobel, David. 2004. Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities. Barrington, MA: Orion.

Ecopedagogies: Part 2

Laurel Kearns and Tim Van-Meter

In Part 2 of our podcast on ecopedagogies, Laurel Kearns and Tim Van Meter take us through several concrete pedagogical practices in ecoliteracy and ecopedagogy. They discuss the use of autogeographies in their classrooms to enable students to examine their place in the world. And they take us through the interdisciplinary pedagogical practices and commitments both inside and outside the classroom in the work of ecojustice. They show the interconnections of earth, self, community, and justice in their classrooms and their engagement in larger social change movements.

Ecopedagogies: Part 1

Prof. Laurel Kearns

Prof. Tim Van Meter

In this first of hopefully many podcasts on the topic of ecopedagogies, I am joined by Prof. Laurel Kearns of Sociology and Religion and Environmental Studies at Drew Theological School and the Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University and Prof. Tim Van Meter, Alford Chair of Christian Education and Youth Ministry and Coordinator of the Cross-Cultural Program at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. They are both part of The Green Seminary Initiative, and teach courses in religion and ecology. We discuss the roots and origins of ecological theory, environmental justice and place-based education, resilience theory, contested spaces and points of tension in environmental studies and religion, along with several main areas: food (organic farming; food justice), animals, climate change, urban vs. rural, consumption/waste, role of religious groups in environmental justice (and faith-based initiatives), links to action and pubic policy work, and imagining the future. In other words, Laurel and Tim set the larger context of ecological pedagogies for us and give offer inspiration and ideas for an eco-inclusive classroom and curriculum.