UNESCO takes stock – though not through research

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

This arrived the other day, care of the SHED SHARE mail server:

Dear Colleagues,

I would appreciate your advice and input regarding a brief ESD sheet I have been asked to complete.  UNESCO is hosting meeting in Bonn later this month to discuss the adoption of the UN Decade in Education for Sustainable Development and to discuss vision building for ESD beyond 2014.  Selected participants have been asked to submit an informal 'national report sheet' to capture developments and responses to ESD in their countries. This is not meant to be informed by research or an exhaustive report but instead should provide some pointers to inform discussions at Bonn.

If you have time over the next few days, I would appreciate your thoughts regarding key developments and initiatives. Given that this elist brings together ESD experts and practitioners from across the UK, I would also value your advice particularly regarding the status of ESD and related questions.

For you information, my response will also be informed by existing reports and consultation documents  (not just from HE!) and a recent ESD report compiled by xxxxx. My intention with this rather limited exercise is to be as inclusive as time permits.  If you have any questions, pls email me personally or call xxxxx.  Responses received before  4.00pm Sunday 12th will inform this 'national report'.

Whilst I was pondering my response, Chet Bowers offered his incisive perspective:

I would like to suggest changes that would not lead to reproducing the misconceptions and silences that were part of the education of the last decades of the last century that characterized the graduate education of most the participants at your upcoming conference, but so far you seem to be representative of the problem of being locked into the taken for granted world of late 20th century thinking.  xxxxx is aware of the misconceptions I have identified, as well as the changes in how to promote ecological intelligence, as awareness of how language carries forward the misconceptions of earlier eras when there was no awareness of environmental limits, the nature and importance of the cultural commons as alternatives to an individualistic and consumer-dependent lifestyle, and how print (including computer-mediated thinking) reinforces abstract thinking while undermining the exercise of ecological intelligence.  I suspect your educational background will lead you to see these comments as just more rubbish.

Ouch!  Just like reading John Clare, there's nothing useful to add.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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