The Way Forward: Educational Reforms that Focus on the Cultural Commons and the Linguistic Roots of the Ecological/Cultural Crises


By C. A. Bowers



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This latest book by Chet Bowers, The Way Forward: Educational Reforms that Focus on the Cultural Commons and the Linguistic Roots of the Ecological/Cultural Crises, provides a more in-depth examination of several themes he has introduced before, as well as an introduction to issues that other environmental and educational writers have ignored. The former includes understanding cultures, including daily cultural practices, as ecologies—and how these micro-ecologies affect the life-sustaining viability of natural ecologies. Also explored in greater depth are how the community-centered cultural commons represent the early stages of a post-industrial future, as well as how public schools, universities, and environmental writers continue to perpetuate the linguistic colonization of the present by the past and the linguistic colonization of other cultures. Special attention is given to how to reframe the meaning of words (metaphors) in ways that are culturally and ecologically informed. The book also provides an in-depth examination of several areas of silence in thinking about current environmental and educational reform issues. These include expanding upon the thinking of Walter Ong and Eric Havelock in ways that clarify how print-based storage and communication (which includes computer-mediated thinking and communication) reinforces abstract thinking that, in turn, undermines the exercise of ecological intelligence essential to being aware of cultural differences in local contexts. The book also provides an examination of highly acclaimed scientists’ vision of future cultural developments that can only be called “scientism,” and which serves the purpose of giving scientific legitimacy to the West’s long-standing agenda of cultural colonization. The final chapter raises the question of what futurist-thinking scientists and progressives recognize as important to conserve in this era of ecological and political uncertainties. This chapter brings into focus the differences between the progressive orthodoxies of the last decades of the 20th century, where both progressive and market liberals shared many of the same deep cultural assumptions that were uninformed about environmental limits, and the challenges of the 21st century where the increasing level of social chaos resulting from systemic economic changes and the further degradation of life-sustaining ecosystems are likely to lead to a further breakdown in the democratic process and to the further centralization of power in the already existing alliance between fundamentalist religious groups, corporations, and the military. In short, this book challenges both environmentalists of all stripes as well as educational reformers to recognize that addressing the environmental crisis cannot be separated from addressing the cultural crises being perpetuated by late 20th century thinking. It also challenges educational reformers to recognize that the needed curricular reforms are easily derived from an understanding of the differences between ecologically sustainable and unsustainable cultural practices.



Chapter 1



Chapter 2

The Challenge Facing Educational Reformers: Making the Transition from Individual to Ecological Intelligence


Chapter 3

The Political Economy of the Cultural Commons and the Nature of Sustainable Wealth


Chapter 4

The Hidden Dynamics of Linguistic Colonization in Teaching English as a Second Language


Chapter 5

Pattern Language: Should Our Vast Spectrum of Expressiveness be Narrowed to Literacy and Numeracy? By Derek Rasmussen


Chapter 6

How Print and Computer-Mediated Learning Undermine Ecological Intelligence


Chapter 7

Toward an Ecologically Sustainable Vocabulary


Chapter 8

E. O. Wilson’s Drift into the Rabbit-Hole of Scientism: The Challenge Facing Environmental Educators


Chapter 9

Silences in the Thinking of Futurist Scientists and Progressives About What Needs to be Conserved in an Era of Political and Ecological Uncertainties


Appendix A

Principles of Eco-Justice


Appendix B

Characteristics of the Cultural Commons and the Forces of Enclosure





Education, Environmental Studies


978-0-9660370-8-1 (eBook)

978-0-9660370-6-7 (Print on Demand)

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