Ecological Thinking, What is it?
The science of ecology for as far as we know always had a holistic approach to nature, being connected by systems and communities. Ecological thinking becomes necessary for us to survive and have the Earth be sufficient for the years to come. According to Shoshanah Keni, we play a big part in the “open systems” of ecology and the world around us because we are actors, who interract with the different components within the system and we are also reflectors, who are fully aware the system and how we interact within in, which makes us responsible for understanding the actions we take.
We have to understand that there is only a certain amount of resources to our disposal, and this is where thinking ecologically helps us think of better ways to be resourceful. This is where we can use Mitchel Resnick’s TREE strategy:
Test Randomly (send roots out in all directions)
Evalute (determine which roots find the best soil)
Elect (choose which direction to move, based on the information from the roots)
Over time, the best strategy will appear through the evaluation of trial and error. Ecological strategies has two common characteristics, being responsive to local conditions and adaptive to changing conditions. In a sense of being responsive, decisions are based on local information which are combined simple factors, not just a centralized solution. Also, being adaptive to changing conditions allows for adjusting to produce new solutions to fit the needs of the new conditions.
1 Code, Lorraine. Ecological Thinking: the Politics of Epistemic Location. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
2 Talks William McDonough on cradle to cradle design
3 Resnick, Michael. Thinking Like a Tree (and Other Forms of Ecological Thinking).
4 Environmental Decision Making, Science and Technology
5 Keni, Shoshanah. Ecological Thinking: A New Approach to Education. Lanham: University Press of America, 2002.
6 Can’t Buy Me Love.
7 Ecological Thinking and Epistemic Location: The Local and the Global.