Ecological Literacy in Design Education - A Theoretical Introduction

  • Joanna Boehnert
Emneord (Nøkkelord): design education, sustainability, ecological literacy, environment, systems design


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  

Hvordan referere
Boehnert, J. (2015). Ecological Literacy in Design Education - A Theoretical Introduction. FormAkademisk - forskningstidsskrift for design og designdidaktikk, 8(1).