According to In-Young Cho and Charles W. Anderson, ecological thinking involves scientific, systems, trans-disciplinary, spatial, temporal, quantitative and creative/empathic thinking. To think ecologically means to think holistically, to understand the connectedness of things, to think responsibly. Like William McDonough said, what kind of culture would produce a rubber duck, put a warning label on it stating “This product contains chemicals known by the State of California to cause cancer and birth defect or other reproductive harm” and then sell it to children? This is a design problem that needs to be fixed.
Shoshanah Ḳeni said that ecological thinking is an alternative approach to educational change. Ecological thinking connotes a new notion of learning, teaching, curriculum, and the role of the teacher, as well as a new conception of educational change. I think ecological thinking is influenced by the modern ecological conception of ‘open systems,’ whereby humans are not regarded as ‘disturbances’ of the ecological equilibrium, but as important components of ecological systems. This ecological thinking relates to the double role that we humans play, as both actors and reflectors. As actors, they interact with the other components of the system, and as reflectors, they are aware of the system and themselves as interactive within it and, therefore, that they are responsible for their own understand of their actions.
Von Foerster, H., Mead, M. and Teuber, H. think thatecological strategies might seem inefficient and indirect, but they tend to be simple, flexible, and robust. Many ecological strategies employ decentralized approaches, relying on small contributions by (and interactions among) many simple entities (e.g., the roots of the tree), rather than a single, sophisticated decision-making entity. Although ecological strategies are most commonly associated with the biological world, they can be useful in a wide variety of other situations – for example, designing management and organizational structures, solving mathematics problems, coordinating communications systems.
According to the Ecological System, ecological thinking has been a major contributor to environmental degradation, it focus’ on patterns, context, connectedness, and relationships.
In-Young Cho and Charles W. Anderson, Understanding of Matter Transformation in Physical and Chemical Changes: Ecological Thinking
Research for Experience Design (word press)
Shoshanah Ḳeni, Ecological thinking: a new approach to educational change
Von Foerster, H., Mead, M. and Teuber, H., eds. (1949). Cybernetics: Circular, Causal,
and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems. NewYork: Josiah Macy Jr.
William McDonough on Cradle to Cradle Design Video