When: Monday 17th February, 2:00-3:30
The sustainability of human life on Earth depends upon the integrity of the relationship between humanity and nature. Nature supports humanity, and knowledge and understanding of how nature works form the foundation of ecological literacy. It is ecological literacy that underpins our capacity as humans to make well-informed decisions about how to live in sustainable ways. It is therefore of concern that levels of ecological knowledge and understanding within many contemporary human communities may be too low to enable effective decision making in support of sustainable human settlement.
Our concern led to an exploration of the concept of ecological literacy and the assessment of a sample of South Australian adults. We found that while ecological literacy can vary significantly in correlation with a range of socio-demographic and psychographic characteristics, no one factor is necessarily more critical than another. Based on this work we have identified five pathways for growing eco-literate communities. While the patterns and drivers of ecological knowledge and understanding naturally vary between cultures and communities, our findings certainly invite serious consideration for a society, and indeed a world, that aspires to cultivate informed citizenry, leadership and governance with capacity for building sustainable human settlements.
Many people are constantly searching for ways to assist communities in becoming more sustainable. We suggest that ecologically literate leadership and citizenry is necessary for achieving sustainability. Our research has uncovered several pathways which can lead to more ecologically literate communities and thus pave the way for more sustainable human settlements. This presentation aims to convey the essence of our findings and provide a foundation for developing policies and processes that can make a difference
Sheryn Pitman, Program Manager – Inspiring South Australia, South Australian Museum