Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence is a practically focused book written by Daniel Goleman, Lisa Bennett, and Zenobia Barlow. The book is not only for educators and students, but also for parents and grandparents. It is a great source of information and real examples that anyone can use to help others visualize and understand the interrelations between human actions and natural systems.
Through vivid stories, about community activists, educators, artists, students, and scholars, you will read about critical needs of the 21st century, including water, food, and about two common forms of energy: coal and oil. The main purpose of this book is “simply to illustrate, through these four issues, how socially and emotionally engaged ecoliteracy leads to deeply meaningful, inspiring, and effective education.”
You will read about an Alaskan involved in protecting native communities in the Arctic wilderness from the impacts of oil drilling; a geography teacher helping nations solve water issues; and a coal miner’s daughter giving attention to the effects of mountaintop mining in Appalachia. You will also learn about people from southern New Mexico being inspired by a few young leaders to grow their own food.
There are 5 vital practices of emotionally and socially engaged ecoliteracy presented in this book:
- Developing Empathy for All Forms of Life
- Embracing Sustainability as a Community Practice
- Making the Invisible Visible
- Anticipating Unintended Consequences
- Understanding How Nature Sustains Life.
All 5 practices are greatly described and illustrated in the stories. Following each of them can help create and strengthen relationships with people and our planet. The book offers ideas and strategies for educators to apply socially and emotionally engaged ecoliteracy to pressing ecological issues of the day. Ecoliterate can help people gain knowledge and understand their connection to nature.
I loved reading the book, and would recommend it to anyone who has interest in education, nature, or sustainable living. It would also make a great gift this holiday season. You can read more about the book or purchase it at Ecoliteracy.org. In addition, here’s a video from one of the authors: