Ecological Literacy in Design Education - A Theoretical Introduction
Sustainability educators developed the concept of ecological literacy to provide a basis for understanding environmental problems and developing new capacities and critical skills to respond effectively. This paper presents a theoretical introduction to ecological literacy for design education. It starts with a philosophical overview of why ecological literacy is necessary, including details of some of the planet’s vital signs. The paper then describes six ecological principles (networks, nested systems, cycles, flows, development and dynamic balance) along with associated design concepts (resilience, epistemological awareness, a circular economy, energy literacy, emergence and the ecological footprint). The final section explains why critical ecological literacy is necessary to make the work of transforming unsustainable conditions and designing sustainable ways of living possible.
Cover image: Principles, Ecolabs, 2014
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