[PeDAGoG] Schooling the World

Christian Stalberg CStalberg at mymail.ciis.edu
Wed May 31 15:09:09 CEST 2023

Hello Manish. Well, I would say that both Kelly and Laurence have stated what I would say myself.

There is so much to unpack around education, of the ancient and of the modern. Reconciling the ancient with the modern is truly one of the great challenges of the moment.

Let me start off by stating that I was greatly encouraged by the IPCC authors when in their Working Group II report (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), they pointed to the importance of integrating ‘indigenous and local knowledge’ in research and adaptation. Now even scientists understand that our dominant epistemology is a failure.

I will now add two additional trains of thought. One from a biomimicry perspective, the other from a technology perspective.

In my MS in Biomimicry studies I learned that life has been evolving on Earth for 3.8 billion years. Homo sapiens has only been here for around 200,000 years. While most of the attention on biomimicry today is from the capitalists who see it as an emerging new market with great profit making potential, the take away lesson for me is more along the lines of the need for biocentrism to replace anthropocentrism. In my coursework I had a fair amount of biology about life and the miraculous properties of Nature that have evolved…the forms, processes and systems. We are surrounded by miracles that are harmonious and non-contaminating. Of course the indigenous have known this for millennia as Nature is the great teacher. In my biomimicry studies the curriculum broke it down into 3 parts, as follows:

Nature as a Model
Nature with its 3.8 billion years of evolution has created conditions conducive to life encompassing both biotic and abiotic factors. Nature as the most tested and developed system in existence. The forms, processes and ecosystems we find in nature where we find life principles in operation. Characteristics include, but are not limited to, the following: organisms that manufacture without “heat, beat and treat”; life-friendly chemistry; biological adhesion and friction; organisms whose waste products are another’s resource; positive and negative feedback loops; and, systems fueled by sunlight. Nature is the ultimate model against which all human endeavors can and should be measured. When evaluating a human endeavor, asking the question: what would nature do here?

Nature as a Measure
Utilizing life-centered benchmarks and standards found in nature against which properties of human endeavors can be quantitatively compared. When evaluating a human-generated solution, quantifying the degree to which that solution emulates nature. In other words, when evaluating a human endeavor, asking ourselves the question “what wouldn’t nature do here”, but doing so in measurable terms.

Nature as a Mentor
Nature’s operations perfected over 3.8 billion years and millions of species can teach us much. Valuing nature for what we can learn, rather than what we can extract. Nature has set the expectations and established the design rules for life on earth. When evaluating a human endeavor asking ourselves the question “what would or wouldn’t nature do here, and why or why not?”

Now from a technological point of view, I am keenly interested in bringing back the discussion around ‘appropriate technology’. What constitutes ‘appropriate’ is a matter of great debate, no? While so much technology is driven by capitalist greed with no considerations of the ethical, moral or value impacts they might bring about on humans or non-human species, there are some advanced (modern) technologies that it could be argued are beneficial. Take satellites as one example. Let’s add additional complexity now to the consideration of satellites as a ‘beneficial’ technology, say the ecologically destructive extractivism in order to obtain rare earth minerals the technology requires as inputs. Satellites can assist us in understanding Earth systems which is good. Conversely, telecommunications satellites are used to commit cultural genocide while promoting materialism, consumerism and ecological destruction as their byproducts. So…what to do? What I can say is that the decisions about what is ‘appropriate technology’ should not be driven by capital.

Let me end here by saying that what we’re talking about here is nothing short of transformational change. Revolutionary change. I’m with Nelson Mandela when he says, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Thank you for listening!

Christian Stalberg
Doctoral Student
Anthropology & Social Change
CIIS, San Francisco, CA
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
“Go to where the silence is and say something.” – Amy Goodman
"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept." - Angela Davis
“What is it that we can do that addresses whatever the problem is, rather than what it is that we’re trying to get somebody else to do.” – Alice Lynd
“It’s better to die for an idea that is going to live than to live for an idea that is going to die.” – Steve Biko
“We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but so did the divine right of kings.” - Ursula K. Le Guin

From: GTA-PeDAGoG <gta-pedagog-bounces at lists.ourproject.org> On Behalf Of Manish Jain
Sent: Monday, May 29, 2023 10:40 AM
To: PeDAGoG: Post-Development Academic-Activist Global Group <gta-pedagog at lists.ourproject.org>
Subject: Re: [PeDAGoG] Schooling the World

thanks for sharing christian. i would love to hear your reactions.
best wishes,

On Monday, May 1, 2023 at 03:55:47 AM GMT+5:30, Christian Stalberg <cstalberg at mymail.ciis.edu<mailto:cstalberg at mymail.ciis.edu>> wrote:

Perhaps most of you know this film. I did not until now. A must view! https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/schooling-the-world-2010/

Schooling the World (2010)

If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children.

The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers build schools in traditional societies around the world, convinced that school is the only way to a 'better' life for indigenous children. But is this true? What really happens when we replace a traditional culture's way of learning and understanding the world with our own? SCHOOLING THE WORLD takes a challenging, sometimes funny, ultimately deeply disturbing look at the effects of modern education on the world's last sustainable indigenous cultures.

GTA-PeDAGoG mailing list
GTA-PeDAGoG at lists.ourproject.org<mailto:GTA-PeDAGoG at lists.ourproject.org>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.ourproject.org/pipermail/gta-pedagog/attachments/20230531/7ae853d3/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the GTA-PeDAGoG mailing list