Ecological Reformation in Science and Education: Local Knowledge, Universities, and the Professions as Checks and Balances in Practice Toward Sustainability
"Come on now. Is this country full of stupid, stupid, stupid weathermen or are they just gutless? Without the courage to talk about these things? I really have to wonder which it is. Are they stupid? Or are they without courage? It's one or the other because there's really no other choice." --Scott Stevens (5:25)
Corrupted Education Creates a Degraded Environment and a Degraded Humanity; So, What Kind of Education Would Create a Sustainable Environment and Better Society? One that Integrates Regional Knowledge--and Requires It
Claude Alvares of India speaking about resistance to academic imperialism at the International Conference on Academic Imperialism held at Al-Zahra University in Tehran, Iran, on 1-2 May 2010. (12 minute excerpt)
In this ongoing series of posts, we now discuss an Ecological Reformation in education. In other words, sustainability requires educational institutional and curricular changes.
Below, the bioregional state addresses what sustainable education would look like in six novel ways added to current arrangements. Each build on each other. To summarize before discussion of them, they are:
Six Checks and Balances Towards More Sustainable Education Institutional Interaction in Social Relations and More Sustainable Cultural Effects of Education
1. Regional Civic Additions: Adding the Civic Democratic Institution (CDI) and the Commodity Ecology Institution (CEI) [all ages, people/children from age 5 born in the watershed, to adults who have at least lived there at least 10 years; CEIs particularly are living, learning institutions themselves.]Introduction: Defining What Is Meant by "Education"
2. Secondary School Curricular Changes: Formal Voluntary Schooling instead of Formal Compulsory Forced Schooling with Many Curricular Changes, Interacting with the CDI and CEI above; involves curricular additions as well as sustainable buildings and material choices of the school itself
3. Post-Secondary, Undergraduate Additions: Adding a 'liberal arts degree for the sciences' (and several other degree tracks) as required to avoid dangerous empirical specialization in applications; BIDs (Bachelors of Interscience Degrees) and BIDAs (Bachelors of Interscience Degrees with the Arts) are an additional degree systems alongside existing ones; instead of college being the nest of narrow-minded specialist hegemonies that create problems in the world, college could become an integrative solutions-building arrangement for particular regions, interacting with the two above; sustainable material flows, choices, and buildings in the college environment and learning about the region as well are important.
4. Professional Degree Additions: Requiring Specific Ongoing Regional Knowledge to Practice
5. All of the above demote the status of Singularly Psychopathic Leaders/Specialists when the purpose becomes educating for regionally cumulative, integrative, certifications and knowledge about relationships there as the key to practice and status (integrating all of the above).
6. Post-Secondary, Undergraduate or Graduate Additions: Another Interscientific Degree in a Certain Regional/Watershed Cultural Ecology (BRDs, 'bioregion degrees,' integrating knowledge of all the above)
In this post, education is discussed as something more than a certification or a bunch of knowledge in your head. It is a form of acculturation, status, and values toward certain things more than others. People experience this effect from their wider culture and institutional socialization as they grow up from children to adults. Such acculturation, status, and values can contribute to pointless degradation and self-destruction in a virtueless society or it can contribute to a secure future in sustainability in a more virtuous version of education.
Beyond mere accreditation and learning, education involves thinking of people being raised in systems of relationships. There are effects of choosing different choices of these relationships: the choices of organization of education, schooling, universities, career tracking, the professions and their knowledge bases, professions' links with the wider society (or lack of them or opposition to them), choices of curricula over other choices, the place and status of abstract placeless knowledge versus local knowledge, the place and status of specialization versus generalized knowledge, structures of accreditation to practice a profession, the status arrangements keyed to different kinds of knowledge over others, the ethical values that either nearsightedly or farsightedly are applied or are encouraged to be adopted, and any associated monetary and cultural honors and rewards (or dishonors and disencouragements). Whew. All that is education in someone's life and in their society's life.
Introduction: Why Miseducation is a Degradative Force
Why does our globalized placeless education now contribute mostly to environmental degradation and dehumanization? It is because of the neutering of civic, political, ethical values--and actual scientific knowledge--that only comes from knowing about regional issues. Current models of education teach a faint abstraction, teach a disorienting separation of the above as if these are abstract questions of life--in exchange and demotion of a curricula that encourages instruction of how these are always meshed with each other in particular real regions.
Plus, on the other hand, in offering these solutions, we can look into the inverse: we can explore what is so backwards about Western education right now. As it expands around the world, all does mostly is create degradative versions of "material betterment" that are hypocritically self-defeating. So it's hardly a sustainable form of material betterment, is it, when such an education brings about professionals who are ignorant about such interactions and thus keyed by status, ignorance, and arrogance to destroy regional integration in exchange for nothing at all that is durable, while they tell people of the world the lie that what their current versions of Western education brings is better?
Most of my experience comes from observing this kind of education in the United States. I know that this is different in other Western heritage countries like France (where its academia is still quite meritocratic). In the United States, this country's short-term mindset is so hegemonic that it is even demoting its own economic stability and demoting its teaching quality in the rush to create a proletarianized professoriat comprised of only adjunct faculty with 67% of US professor positions being part-time without benefits and health care.
Thus, alienated virtual students start to teach other alienated students into different specialized career tracks without any integration into each other. Few students would ever see a stable professor-student mentoring relationship. Knowledge transmission itself suffers from this dehumanization of education since in international rankings, the U.S. quality of education has dropped abysmally over the past several decades. The results of such a miseducation in the United States is now clear. In a recent OECD comparison, the USA is dead last in numeracy, literacy, and problem solving. Even poorer non-OECD states like Russia are higher than the USA in all categories. So this choice of education arrangement toward a mentor-alienated and integration-alienated student base is joined now with the professoriat base itself being turned into another shallow venue of education as the lack of ongoing knowledge transmission suffers between generations in particular areas.
In the American case, this full circle alienation in educational institutions and curricula specialization shows perhaps the most extreme arrangements against human possibilities of integrating regional knowledge. Such an extreme arrangement of educational specialization, lack of integration, and lack of mastery of their subjects turns out many frightened status-conscious specialists whose real world decisions (based on faulty unintegrated knowledge and bluster) can only increase mistakes in applications and encourage environmental degradation. It may increasingly create human degradation/dehumanization now from their own recommendations since they are without awareness of the real world integrations that they tamper with in the first place. Examples?
The 'science' of fracking is a prime example of educated ignorance: it acknowledges its specialty 'mission' well, though in the process knows little real world knowledge of its own externalities in the wider biological, geological, and ecological arrangements.
The 'science' of nuclear power as well might be considered another specialty that exists by educating its practitioners to be ignorant of the wider systemic world of ecological interactions in which they are damaging--so they prefer to be ignorant of these damages as part of their training to be 'good specialists.' They are taught to have an incentive in pretending their mastery--belied by their nuclear catastrophes being 'unfix-able' for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. If we had the checks and balances of the Ecological Reformation in place, they would have long ago stopped the development of civilian nuclear power through the ecological self-interest of different regions being heeded instead of repressed and ignored in policy, material, and technology choices. We have a degradative process because we have an unrepresentative political process that forms policy, material, and technological applications for everyone without their representation. "No degradation without representation," I guess is a major principle of the bioregional state. With greater representation in such decisions, there would be less or zero environmental degradation or human degradation. Sustainably and civil rights together would be easier to achieve.
This is certainly a mistaken way to educate science workers--to insist that they know nothing about other fields so they can create damages in applications of their knowledge more blindly and 'efficiently' to their shallow missions. And the lack of appreciation of integration matters as a culture in such disciplines, since only the most specialized get status in such an arrangement, which is totally backward for what the world requires for sustainability: status toward those who have more wisdom about the interactions and can make better applied decisions--instead of the arrangement currently of a status for those that do most of the dystopic cultural and ecological wrecking--blissfully aware that destruction and externalities are their main accomplishment. In Lappe's recent book, she argues that such an 'economy' that creates more damage than products per capita is an insane arrangement. It is a mistake to call this 'growth' or 'development,' when our choices of technologies, processes, and materials destroy more than they create. However, poorly educated specialists in economics for instance are taught to ignore systemic views that most of what they do is destruction.
Science for some has only become a placeless ideology serving supply-side interests of state or other actors alone, with its own tenets to be believed. It has thus has lost its actual scientific standing by slowly demoting awareness of the actual scientific material and historical varieties of the world and how they interact in particular places.
In this process, it has started to sponsor a fearful ideological cult of protection of degradation (which they call "development"--as if there is only one version). This degradation they are protecting is both human and environmental, mystified as if this destruction was the only route to human betterment and "development." To the contrary, if educational and scientific systems were encouraging actual development they would develop ecological protection, material plenty, stable jobs, cultural durability, and knowledge integration instead of fractionating all these.
So instead of actual education and actual development that would be sustainable, what we have currently in our unsustainable societies is a plan for pseudo-education and pseudo-development that only encourages greater supply-side consolidations. This is otherwise known as global cultural destruction masquerading as education, science, and development.
Few under these short-term bombardments of stress or exams in inanely specialized topics take the time or have the time culturally or educationally to conceive of other long-term potentials: that we can choose different material arrangements that are sustainable, more culturally proper to particular regions, and which can be materially better than before; and that we can change educational systems because these are part of the difficulties creating degradation as a historical and cultural process. To implement such choices for a more regionally aware curricula and institutional integration would actually be far more scientific than adherence to placeless supply-side ideologies that have substituted themselves over the material/cultural reality of variety. That variety of integration of materials, cultures, histories and institutional choices in particular places is of course the only scientific reality there is to learn about for development. That scientific reality has to be analyzed in an ongoing fashion about the specifics of its interactions in time, for ongoing adjustment to achieve sustainability in any particular place in the world.
To the contrary, what people get educated to do around the world in most Western education is to learn the same placeless 'topic' from the same books as an ideological layer that is divorced from other equally abstract layers of knowledge typically as well as together all divorced from learning empirically and scientifically how such integrations of their topics might work in a particular region. For instance, people study theories of Sociology, Political Science, development, chemistry, and material science--without typically learning anything about the specific ways or solutions that people have come to in particular regions to live sustainability over time. Such abstract placeless layers of knowledge are unintegated with each other. Its students are people are inducted into different disciplines that are jealous or hostile of each others' institutional powers or coverages instead ever being taught to work in an integrated way and cooperative way with each other's knowledge on improving the reality of the regions in which they exist. Some forms of status in a discipline can be so extreme that to even attempt to integrate knowledge between them means you are ostracized within your own discipline. Note the unscientific and adolescent views of chemists and physicists that hate each other--an updated version of the silly petty hatreds of the monastic establishments of the Franciscans versus Cistercians though now in modern garb. Really, to improve the material and social world, can we do without one or the others' knowledge?
The more cross-links you know or are educated to know, the better decisions you can make without mistakes. However, in this dystopian version of Western education at present, the ignorant mistake-prone people who have perfected their myopia get status and fail to answer for their mistakes of application. Meanwhile, wiser people who are more interdisciplinary receive little status because the only institutional status is involved in those myopic disciplinary hierarchies. I suggest such a situation is unreformable by just adding one or two interdisciplinary workers to the status edges of a decrepit arrangement of mutually hostile specializations. I suggest adding other interdisciplinary knowledge hierarchies of status and power from the start in university settings. Why pretend to ignore other knowledge, as if being specialized is the only way to act knowledgeable? How do we create a culture of knowledge that encourages and recognizes the importance of integration of the whole tree of knowledge in a human mind is superior and better in science and in status than the myopic specialists in any one branch? When we arrange education to do that, to encourage status from integration instead of push it into the corners of an ongoing myopic department, we are on the road to sustainability.
What knowledge specialties ignore in their mostly nomothetic or ideographic views of the world is the necessity of learning both nomothetic and ideographic knowledge for its unpredictability in any regional interactions of their abstract topics. Because pseudo-science has opted for a supply-side ideology of abstractness and artificial specialization it has lost its empiricism to operate mostly as an education into imperialism--ways of thinking and learning that are innately interventionist and powerful though they do this out of breathtaking ignorance and ideological purism instead of knowledge. Status within their tribes are granted mainly to those that are the most ignorant and ideologically capable of inspiring others to disrupt other people's lives and to ignore the difficulties that immediately develop--without understanding their disruptions and intentionally ignoring them as they grow. In science, the empirical (even potentially Hellenistic) regionalism that is specific and real and integrated has been exchanged for the abstract imperialism of thought that is specialized, abstract, and uninterested in integration--which leads to knowledge forms and actions that are only interested in ignorant domination and disruption.
This is a failure of the educational system to only indoctrinate and mystify ongoing material and human/cultural degradation as "development" as if it is somehow required.
Another film shows the results of this applied placeless ignorance has huge costs instead of benefits: that applying this culture of international status, ignorance, and specialization masquerading as scientific knowledge is destroying real places around the world in the names of "science," "material development" and "cultural improvement" that are doing the opposite in all three. Much of what we call science nowadays is merely placeless applied ideology that creates huge problems when its ideologies that have ignored regional variety. It endlessly shows itself as falsified in failed development or which merely creates further destroyed development potentials, as seen here:
Anupam Mishra: The ancient ingenuity of water harvesting
With wisdom and wit, Anupam Mishra talks about the amazing feats of engineering built centuries ago by the people of India's Golden Desert to harvest water. These structures are still used today -- and are often superior to [de-developmental and destructive] modern water megaprojects [built by powerful though ignorant specialists of what is required for this particular region].Why do current Western versions of education encourage us to gain accreditation and status in what they call a "scientific" system that ignores real world places? Which has mostly exhibited long-term destructive goals? That mostly degrades the material world and vibrant regional cultural and our material variety, that ignores failures to merely create more later instead of learns from them (lack of learning from mistakes removing the main criteria of calling it a science), while encouraging people to acquiesce to ever dwindling salaries and becoming mere stressed older students teaching other younger students, in a declining quality of knowledge as if it is a fatalistic outcome? Why are people encouraged to only think knowledge means an individualized, specialized ignorance and status? Why are they encouraged in institutions and curricula to fear stepping out of boundaries, when actual knowledge is how to apply information usefully and scientifically in a world without a boundary, in the long-term, in particular varying situations?
The truly ignorant--though perhaps very schooled and specialized in some expertise--have raised each other in the West for over 150 years until the only hegemonic cultural status comes from specialized ignorance and short-term goals, in a context where one's 'educated' status is judged for how well one maintains one's silence on other topics or how well one can stomach encouraging long-term destructive plans and effects in the world while keeping quiet about it.
Such 'headless' or at least heedless short term dynamics and petty status arrangements described above run most states, universities, corporations, and financial systems of the world, destroying their own ecology, the material base of their economy itself, along with their cultures and health in the process.
For an example of how dangerous this is, you can see this hegemonic deadly myopia clearly in the lack of value or credence accorded to the heroic scientific integration work of Mike Hands. He is ignored by his own scientific establishments in England as well as even in the country that he helped, in Honduras. Hands pieced together over several years years the many suffocatingly and obfuscatingly over-specialized courses in his native England to understand how to properly solve forest degradation in real world situations--in certain poor Central American soils.
His solutions are entirely regional. And they work for these particular arrangements--perhaps alone. It is hardly an abstract knowledge that he generated. It was a real world knowledge of integration that encouraged sustainability in a particular region. And he has been damned by the Western academia and its short-term specialized and self-destructive world for even attempting it. Even the volunteer filmmaker who did the world a service by documenting Hands' work in the film Up in Smoke (2011) has been damned to near bankruptcy for even attempting to tell the world about Hands' work. I've talked to this filmmaker, Adam Wakeland. Wakeland followed Hands' story back and forth between Guatemala and England for four years, filming all the while this knowledge that only the unspecialized can appreciate in a very specialized academic world. As a result, few appreciate working examples of sustainability in such an ignorant university system as the West has exported worldwide even though this is the kind of knowledge that actual science provides. At least half a dozen filmmaker awards have gone to Wakeland because the real world appreciates what both of these men have done as much as the specialized academy ignores our real world.
Excerpt of 'Up in Smoke' Film Examines Perils of Slash and Burn Agriculture
In "Up in Smoke," filmmaker Adam Wakeling follows ecologist Michael Hands as he introduces Honduran farmers to the inga tree, his solution to problems caused by slash and burn agricultural practices. The documentary is part of a series of independently produced films aired in a partnership between The Economist and the NewsHour. [The full film is available to view online here: http://upinsmoke.tv/]For if Hands' work was applied on wider scales with a little financial help, this would lead to even more people learning to live within particular regional/scientific arrangements. That would damage the status and prestige (and political power) of abstract scientists who make their living ignoring integration and instead telling people how to destroy, to consolidate, and 'integrate' national economies and cultures into a placeless global economy instead of telling people how to preserve and to enhance their regionalism, sustainability and potential autonomy from such destructive versions of Western science policy in the first place.
So when Hands handily came up with a solution that works (after 25 years), everyone living in that region had the actual scientific response: they wanted to learn more. Meanwhile, the only unscientific response came from Honduras, the European Union (cutting Hands' funds just as it was proving successful), and his home country of England. No one from the West wants to even talk to Mike Hands because their educational establishments serve greater destruction mostly and de-regionalization political goals and anyway they are so specialized that most people fail to even have the vocabulary to understand what he has done successfully anyway. That's how responsible the educational frameworks are for encouraging degradation or sustainability. Everyone wants Mike Hands' advice who lived there, except Western aid agencies that kept turning him down.
No durable "Western" aid or so called "scientific" help was forthcoming because it was so against the ongoing forest destruction agenda of larger plantation farming, making peasants work for nothing in plantation economies, and so against an 'educated' economic model to fund the expansion of particular sustainable spaces and human autonomy in such regions with sustainable permacultural alley-cropping and regionally-stable agricultural communities.
So, is there a crazier system than this specialized Western education that is applicable nowhere though applied everywhere, which prefers mathematical economic models of development that are applicable no where in the long term, and prefers to train people who are blind to this lack of applicability as the ultimate test of knowledge, who instead value expertise in destroying spaces of ecology as they are trained to unscientifically ignore and to undervalue integrative knowledge, the only wisdom or science there is?
Another example of this abstract placeless, unintegrated, alienated imperial model of education has virtually destroyed the culture of Ladakh (in India) and in Nepal. In both areas, such placeless unintegrated education simultaneously alienated youth and simultaneously started up massive environmental degradation as well. The Chinese state in occupied Tibet is equally attempting to dismantle local Tibetan culture with a change in education and massive import of Chinese citizens. The Chinese could do better by being less of an occupying force and more of an integrative force. (In Bhutan, to the contrary, a very place-based sustainable integrated education is taking shape to the contrary of the state dystopias being erected in Tibet and Nepal through a placeless education. all this shows that educational design policy is an independent variable capable of changing a society over time for better or for worse.)
Ancient Futures - Learning from Ladakh
(Particularly note how a change of educational arrangements destroyed a generation in Ladakh and started environmental degradation very strongly. From more recent news about education in Ladakh, they are starting to build educational models, institutions, and curricula away from this Western model toward a more integrative school for how to live in their particular region once more (teaching food gardening and building techniques for their region for example--and building other schools for themselves as part of their school education)--combined with Western knowledge--instead of jettisoning one for the other which had such the culturally and environmentally degradative effects seen in this film.)An unsustainable world seems to hate the idea of constructive, autonomous, regional endeavors for sustainability.
A third example of working though ignored solutions is the regionalized knowledge of how to live sustainably in a particular place developed at the Gaviotas community in Colombia. They were equally spurned by the bought-and-paid-for corporatist United Nations uninterested in people's development, and only interested in furthering globalized corporate transnational feudalism and destroying its opponents. Read the book about it.
Education could be used to create a sustainable world. That sustainable education would requires us to temper specialization (instead of remove it) and allay fear of stepping out of line to create more boundless, creative interactions of life and knowledge designed for particular regions--instead of attempting to ignore or to destroy particular regional uniqueness as part of supposed 'education.'
There are already economic books describing the death of the model of globally uniform education and industrialism being valuable, toward one of ongoing re-design and integration--as the economy changes and requires more designers who are adaptable to short run changes and more mastery over multiple areas to be able to adapt later. However, ecology and our economics within it has always been like this! How do we apply these rather open-ended ecological and ongoing changing requirements as insights into what education requires, with an interest beyond economics: where design and regional integration are a required form of knowledge and awareness to be taught, to learn the changing interactive conditions of a region that are equally important to learn about in school?
Therefore, the we posit that our world requires more educational checks and balances: this means maintaining in educational curriculas regional cultures, ecologies, and ecologically integrated economies as a regional check and balance against the degradations of wider globalization in economic, cultural (and educational!) aspects of life.
In other words, when we look at organizational causes of environmental degradation, it is hardly only caused by corruption in state politics, or a bad supply-side corporate decision against the consumer interest and ecological interest, or a bad banker who only funds mega projects alone while destroying small financial arrangements required for sustainability in particular regions like durable alley cropping and Mike Hands' work.
State politics, supply-side biased corporate, and financial 'material' issues are only three of four areas of potential corruption that create an environmental and human degradation as interlinked. Equally remember, organizational areas when properly aligned can lead to sustainability--if arranged differently. Who educates leaders, businessmen, scientists, and citizens for this awareness of that ongoing ecologically adjusted alignment? No one right now, so we are required to change our educational institutions and curricula to do so for sustainability.
In the previous post, the second category beyond the state has already been discussed in the wider required Ecological Reformation--in consumption. As shown, if bad organizational choices of consumptive materials and technologies (and political repression of the better choices the consumer desires) cause and contribute to environmental degradation and reduction of consumer choices, legally protecting better choices of them would institutionalize sustainability and wider consumer choices of sustainable products being available. Another organized corruption to be discussed in the next post would be bad financial choices of investment in only short-term degradative futures when equally, better organized arrangements of finance can contribute toward sustainability as well.
However, instead of being only political and materialist about the causes of sustainability or degradation, there is a moral, intellectual, cultural, and ethical aspect to sustainability or degradation that is the motor of the other three--a motor that makes the other materialist three happen in history, that motivates people to develop the political and material changes, whether toward a culture that values only short-term degradation and self-destruction or a culture that values long-term sustainability. This cultural influence is in how education is structured by the present generation, and how it is structured for subsequent generations. The current imperial, unintegrated, and placeless models of education lack a future at all at this rate, whether we look at their failures in education in their ecologically degradative effects or culturally degradative effects.
The Main Theme of Ecological Reformation in Education and the Other Categories is Institutionalized Regionality as a Check and Balance on Degradative Powers
Regionality is culturally and scientifically real, instead of any claims of abstract placeless timeless knowledge or theories which are unreal. Thus the study of particular arrangements of regionality are a scientific study that is required for sustainability. Institutional arrangements that maintain human and ecological knowledge of the real particularities in space are check and balances on any degradative educational systems. Both the larger abstract attempts at comparisons and generalized knowledge combine with the smaller regionally specific knowledges. Both are required to balance each other, instead of one innately being better than the other. Both styles of knowledge and research claims have something to give us culturally and economically.
All four areas of institutional corruption have a main theme that they are all different kinds of regionalism destruction. Thus we can learn from this to achieve that common principle within an Ecological Reformation across them all. So the main theme, hampering humanity's intellectual and material/sustainable growth across all four areas is their ignoring, occluding, or attempting to destroy the ecological self-interests or regional knowledge bases of people. This is seen in any power application that creates degradation--whether state, science, finance, and consumptive issues. Such destruction of regionalism is a common feature of the organization of degradative societies wherever in the world you examine unsustainable relations and historical processes. To the contrary, sustainable societies maintain regionality and integrate it into their larger frameworks without destroying it.
This theme will become clearer once all four sections of this series are elaborated to allow the expansive view of what principle makes any and all states, sciences, finance, and consumption corrupt. Overall, the reduction of ecological self-interest and regional variety is a major theme running through corruptions of states, consumption, education, and finance that lead to environmental degradation.
For a state example for instance, already addressed in earlier posts and in Toward a Bioregional State (2005), there are choices of state institutions that lead to bad degradative outcomes by occluding regional political feedback. For a consumptive example, the same removal of the variety of regional feedback or consumer choices can be seen in the 'supply versus demand' dynamic that encourages bad supply-side dominated consumptive decisions as well. Equally, for an educational example, the same removal of regional knowledge and regional feedback can be seen in such imperially degradative education seen in the films above.
So education is an independent variable capable of change. Certain educational institutions and cultures are capable of encouraging degradation or sustainability depending how they are institutionalized and depending on their curricula, depending on how they treat or listen to particular spaces culturally and scientifically.
The common attempt to destroy ecological self-interest and regionalized educated awareness of peoples has historically been organized by degradative powers across these four areas as a strategic application of degradative power against more sustainable power.
This was discussed before as how the Ecological Reformation is a wider sense of checks and balances across states, sciences, consumption, and finance--instead of just thinking checks and balances involve formal institutions of states. The Ecological Reformation is this widening of checks and balances on degradative power beyond the state though integrating the state, and on enhancing these checks and balances with more sustainable power as well.
To elaborate the interaction of these four strategic areas of degradative power, first, you get corrupt states and state elites that gatekeep against sustainable pressures and repress sustainable ones or regional feedback in politics.
Next, you get associated with this degradative state power, biased financial and taxation arrangements that undercut store of value in a currency for mere exchange value, and which demote a regional ecological durability. This encourages a cannibalistic financial consolidation within the wider economy which impinges on ecology and regional people and benefits only the financial consolidators and their placeless wealth transfers over regional wealth integration.
Meanwhile, over time in the consumptive category of degradative power, you get from the previous two state and financial arrangements various material choices politically preferenced against other more regionally sustainable ones. These political regimes of state power and financial power are materialized into specific delimited raw material regimes of degradation. Such political materials are against both consumer and actual market choices, since consumer and market choices are removed to protect political/tax/profit regimes of degradative materials and their terrible ecological/health costs to people. So consumers cease to be blamed for environmental degradation and instead particular politicized regimes of materials that keep out sustainable options with politically consolidated industrial and land tenure relationships become major blames of environmental degradation. Many other consumer-friendly, market-friendly, and ecologically-friendly material choices are repressed with increasing violence. This political repression of sustainable options is a cause of environmental degradation as well.
Fourth, you get degradative powers in educational systems that work with the above three positions that select for people willing to perpetuate and legitimate such degradative relationships, as well as make their careers finding out how to expand such degradative, dystopian dynamics without a future into other more sustainable areas. These are the educational missionaries with their fundamentalist faiths (backed by the violence of the three degradative powers of the other positions when challenged). All four degradative powers widen ongoing destruction and destroy many regional sustainable forms of knowledge, materials, financial relations, politics--i.e., they destroy relations and skills for actually living in a particular place and replace them with nothing, replace them with degradative powers without a future.
In such a cycle of suffering, current Western placeless forms of education are vanguard destructive forces. No one within these career tracks notices (or wants to be noticed by others as noticing) the ongoing destruction, because they are all hunkered down at their nearsighted desks or lab benches or bank offices--or hunkered down over their school books aiming them toward....becoming just the next wave of persons at those nearsighted desks, lab benches, or bank offices that lack all future. A culture that encourages and gives status to such myopia has its knowledge workers craft knowledge applications that only appreciate success by the scale of their destructiveness, and by ignoring unintegrated knowledge. This becomes a death culture.
As Lappe writes in her recent book, calling this 'development' is a lie. It is easy to demonstrate that materially speaking, most of what we call 'development' has a wider degradative and destructive effect instead of a creative force. So people fool themselves, she argues, when people say that there is 'scarcity' or 'things are running out'--when they are socially creating their own scarcity through suboptimal destruction instead of things really running out. In this way we are creating a suboptimal arrangement, and people blame 'the environment' for being unable to provide for us, when we should blame ourselves and our own poorly organized consumption. For instance, US wastes 40% of its food production--$165 billion/year. So when there is 'no food,' is that a natural issue? Or is that a human organizational fault of an environmental fault?
What about politics? Surely political movements can change things? Be skeptical of politicians claims of being autonomously capable of turning anything around because they are typically the representatives of these expanding degradative power arrangements. Case in point: if they are atypical politicians, like the Green Parties for instance or even the Libertarian ones, something typical happens to them. They are typically marginalized or removed if they challenge this death culture. Thus the mass of status quo politicians or parties (of either centralized form of jurisdiction--a state-based degradative centralization or a state-encouraged private degadative centralization) both have their well appointed berths on a sinking ship. They all have their scripts to perform. If the water is rising in the hallway, well, they think they can just close their door and continue their script, or they are resigned to be un-inventive as the ship sinks. Such degradative power politicians prefer to go down with the ship and throw complainers overboard rather than change course to avoid an upcoming crash.
So an Ecological Reformation is mostly the creation of alternative institutions of sustainable power, 'lifeboats,' you might say. Any 'reform' may come only much later after many additional sustainable power dynamics in states--after an interaction develops between more sustainable education, sustainable consumption, and sustainable financial relations. However, if state elites do choose 'reform,' it can come from the state as well first or concurrently. However, I assume otherwise as the more likely option--to develop for a better sustainability regardless of what currently degradative powers in states choose. However, an Ecological Reformation includes a more sustainable state government as well as a requirement.
Course Change Toward an Ecological Reformation in Education is Perhaps Primary
So: what can our action be toward sustainability, if globally we face our different corrupted state political arrangements that encourage degradation and protection of it that serve ever greater repression against political action for sustainability in policy and material choices? What can our action be toward sustainability as we face a corrupted consumptive arrangement that encourages the expansion of risk and delimitation/repression of consumer choice instead of the removal of such impediments? What can our action toward sustainability be as we face a context where financial instruments are arranged to destroy regional economies and autonomous currencies? What is left for action, you say? What is left for action is mostly educational and cultural applications of that education that become more available for building change to sustainability first.
I am hardly so resigned, and it is time to break the script of this sinking ship.
The whole framework of education has to change--from the Western placeless academic model alone toward a model more balanced, checked, and tempered by greater awareness and applications of regional knowledge as crucial and even of greater status--when applied as such. So important is regional knowledge for any application that without it, any placelessly minted professional licenses should be recognized as worthless and damaging to particular regions if someone insists to change a region based on nothing except this placeless knowledge, i.e., without understanding its particularities.
If you are thrown overboard by these corrupt people, stop trying to climb back into a sinking ship. Build another boat.
Verdict, Virtue and Improvement
Taking themes above like the removal of ecological self-interest as key to creating environmental and human degradation, we can do the opposite by adding ecological self-interest back into our lives and institutional arrangements for the virtues of environmental sustainability and human civil rights.
We can interpret environmental degradation as created partially by our miseducation and thus by our educational institutions. We can interpret degradative power equally as partially an outcome of miseducation as well--particularly the status hierarchies created and maintained by valuing only unecological knowledge over ecological knowledge, by valuing only certain kinds of abstract knowledge against particular real-world situations, and by valuing cloistered institutional social specialization against a wider regional community context of knowledge that gives people greater chances actually to become more whole human beings.
A degradative society's placeless and unintegrated education (only one of the above four positions) institutionally creates hampered children in service to only degradative power. This leads eventually hampered adults unable to rationalize how to change their degradative ways, and of course without any institutionalized way to act on changing degradative ways over the long term even if they thought about it as individuals. That is why an Ecological Reformation on the level of institutional design and interaction in all these four areas are important.
Only a more sustainable, institutional acculturation and socialization that widens our choices in these four areas give people ongoing multiple institutional places for expressing their sustainable power. They have thus more choices to adapt toward sustainability in their particular regions.
If science and education ideally are linked to virtue, with virtue being means whereby people become better moral and ethical creatures and means whereby our material lives are made better, in practice much Western science and education by serving degradative powers creates virtue-less people. This is because by ignoring regionality such an education has ceased to provide for these wider integrative ethical goals. By serving degradative power, people even damage their wider material development goals.
Third, beyond that dual critique of a lack of virtue, much of Western science is applied in a very unscientific manner in service of this degradative power as a mere ideological appeal justifying/pacificing others against applications that are materially consolidating and unintegrated into particular regions. Such means of its operation means our various place-aware material and cultural lives' virtues are increasingly endangered and destroyed, removed from any actual long term goal except to serve a destructive process created at much larger scales, in service of a small portion of short-term material wealth generated from massive bad institutional waste of the planet's ecologies. Some might argue that on the one hand, this radical placelessness might be a form of virtue itself--a wider universality against the many bias of particularity. On the other hand, this would be so if such universalist-inspired people actually acted scientifically, ethically, were interested in mostly material betterment of people. However, such universal inspired people rarely do inculcate such virtues in practice. Instead, out of placelessness instead of virtue, people are 'educated' to be made into willing servants of degradative powers and repressive powers (one in the same) or to be merely encouraged to remain gutless passengers on this sinking ship. A death society is only interested in rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship or competing for the pointless honor of who gets to be on the highest, most wealthy or most powerful part of the ship when it sinks. A death society only interests itself in killing others and throwing people overboard as a false way to stop a sinking ship--instead of the learning how to patch the holes and change course.
We can patch the holes in our current current educational ship and change course toward an Ecological Reformation.
More Regional Checks and Balances: in Sciences, Education, and Knowledge Status
The bioregional state's attempt to check and balance degradative power toward sustainability requires addressing each of these four areas of degradative powers in two main applications:  to keep these four areas from linking informally up to create a degradative regime, as well as  adding additional sustainable institutional endeavors into the current degradative mix to represent sustainable powers, to raise the next sustainable generations within sustainable institutions more representative politically, consumptively, financially, and educationally.
If your society creates more environmental degradation than sustainability, it almost inevitably has been creating a degraded humanity first via bad choices of education and with educational status imparted to mostly unecological knowledge--long before degradation started. If your society creates more environmental degradation than sustainability, it has been designed to destroy such ecological self-interest instead of cultivate it.
Instead, the bioregional state aims to cultivate such ecological self-interested knowledge as a novel universal branch of knowledge required of all, instead of hacking down existing placeless educational arrangements and replacing them entirely with merely the opposite ideological hierarchy of autarkic regionalism alone. This is avoided because the latter is historically very easy to be dominated from the outside by degradative powers once more--unless our ideas of sustainable institutional change are more systemic by conserving and altering the wider placeless level of multi-regional systemic issues (instead of demote them) while adding more additional regional institutions simultaneously. This is the nested 'smaller and larger' framework of the bioregional state--a principle seen in the other areas of the wider Ecological Reformation instead of interpreting the bioregional state as merely a movement demoting the larger. It is both adding the smaller and altering the larger. Such ecological self-interest can be grown into and grown within the trellis of the pre-existing more abstract, placeless, and currently un-ecological educational arrangements.
Six Cultural Checks and Balances Towards More Sustainable Education Institutions and More Sustainable Effects of Education
There are several applications of this check and balance against mere abstract knowledge claims and status. If any era requires a wider demographic of more well rounded intellectualism to balance against the material and cultural degradation of global homogenization, it is ours. Such global homogenization of the same courses, the same curricula, the same professions, and the same global status arrangements based on placeless abstract knowledge are degradative to the real regional knowledges (in the plural) that we require to durably survive in particular places.
It is our most educated groups that are fouling our nest ecologically--so few of them study scientifically the interactions that the rest of them cause in destruction. So it is important to study these interscientific interactions of human-environmental relations as well as encourage it within the university system and culture at large, as a common cultural change over time. The six cultural checks and balance in education toward sustainability are introduced by following a hypothetical person's life-course into more sustainable relations, building as a series of experiences building over their lifetime. Contrast these with their entire lack at present and the results of degradation that are around us.
To the contrary we can introduce additions to educational institutions, toward sustainability:
1. The Civic Democratic Institution and the Commodity Ecology Institution
Two institutions required in every watershed, the CDI and CEI are educational institutions as well--building people into a cultural awareness of each other in a particular region, with their common or different regional interests and concerns.
The CDI is a place of more cultural/ideological appreciation.
The CEI is a place of more material debate about building an interlinked sustainability for the region in material choices and technological choices--and choices of how to link all the desired material/technological choices without externalities.
Both allow the ecological self-interest of particular regions to formulate as groups through how individuals recognize each other as leaders and trend setters for being representatives of the region or examples of best practices in the region. Organizing this ecological self-interest in sustainability forces innately moves against the ecology tyranny of degradative forces. It additionally creates an education by making these real world places of people aware as people that they have particular regional interests and a well deserved status in expressing them for sustainability that the current placeless educational system denies them.
Since youth can participate and vote in the CDI from age five, and can be recognized as a member at age 10, these ages become ecological rights of passage and status marks acculturating people to particular regions. So even before much schooling, youth (always 'students' of something in a sense) are given the chance to become aware of their wider community and its peculiarities culturally and materially toward their own versions of sustainability. People as well can be 'bio-naturalized' to other regions' CEI with a stay of a few years, though it is harder intentionally to 'bio-naturalize' to the CDI for the purposes of having an ongoing generational, endless, sense of bioregional youth and bioregional elders in a particular region that are cognizant of the particular local knowledge, cultures, divisions, and particular concerns over time--particularly as local contexts are themselves changing all the time instead of remaining static (with technology changes, social/cultural changes, climate, novel challenges, etc.--which can be faced more appropriately with a more knowledgeable public aware of these interactions).
2. Formal Voluntary Schooling instead of Formal Compulsory Forced Schooling
Formal voluntary schooling (instead of required mass forced schooling) is institutionalized in the bioregional state, per watershed region. The curricula is rather different and designed to raise in people an awareness of the virtue of the sustainable interactions of people, place, and their choices of institutions, materials, and technologies.
It is made as open as possible so that people want to come to school instead of avoid it. However, it is appropriate for people to avoid if if they desire--though the point is people learn anyway whether homeschooling or state institutionalized versions or private schooling versions. There would in other words be little hard line separating various private trainings, homeschooling, and this formal voluntary schooling. It's all home.
Between different watershed regions, perhaps the balance or accreditation exchange between these can be worked out by each region instead of a 'one size fits none' system that the bioregional state is designed to avoid in its more 'polytopian' arrangement of many real places over an artificial placeless context.
Based on data from Scandinavian countries, it is perhaps best to begin formal schooling well after five years of age to allow youth to formulate who they are before they enter the territory of bureaucratic schooling and potentially, alas, indoctrination if they are weak. However, since voluntary they will be pulled to particular work and courses that interest them in a positive way instead of through negative reinforcement alone.
First, they should learn over time basic ecologically sound and virtuous life skills (learning to handle money/accounting, cooking, gardening/permaculture, aquaculture, agroforestry, writing/reading/public speaking, buying/selling, starting a business, both common cultural familiarity and cultural diversity familiarity, history, and others listed below by Gatto, etc.).
Second, they additionally should be given an opportunity to hone or train all their different human senses (through mathematics, music, rhetoric, etc.)
I adapt Harvard University professor Howard Gardener's idea of "multiple intelligences" and advocate the unpredictable melange that comes from allowing people the chance to develop all of them (as a reviewer said "to fully experience the best of what humanity has to offer.") Joining the first and second points of this curricula, this allows students to have life skills, a common curricula and appreciation of diversity in in worldwide, with a development of their human body as a discriminating sensory apparatus. In this way they can learn what they enjoy more than others or what they excel in more than others:
First the second point about honing the human physical/mental body's capacities (Gardener) before returning to the first point about basic purposes in education (Gatto and others). The intelligences to be given a chance to develop in everyone are:
- Spatial: spatial judgment and the ability to develop novel internal images within the mind; Exercises: visiting museums, playing video games, studying geometry, designing, drawing, sculpting
- Linguistic: the ability to use words, spoken or written; Exercises: writing a story, essay, or poetry, public speaking, reading books of all types, learning a foreign language, acting
- Logical-mathematical: the ability to reason, think abstractly, and have number sense; Exercises: studying science, mathematics, and philosophy, computer programming, solving puzzles, learning about money and accounting
- Bodily-Kinesthetic: the ability to navigate within the physical world and use the body in a mentally controlled fashion; Exercises: sports, yoga, walking, running, biking, weight lifting, dancing, calligraphy, cursive handwriting, etc.
- Musical: the ability to play and appreciate music and its history; Exercises: learning to play an instrument, listening to instrumental and orchestral music, writing a musical composition, singing
- Interpersonal: the ability to interact, communicate and empathize with others; Exercises: studying the art of listening; socializing, play acting
- Intrapersonal: the ability to understand oneself, and reflect on oneself; understanding one's own needs, personal strengths, and weaknesses; Exercises: going for a quite walk, sitting in complete silence, meditating, keeping a journal/diary.
- Naturalistic: the ability to relate to and observe one's natural surroundings; Exercises: going for a walk in a nature park, observing nature (birds, plants, flowers, butterflies, etc.)
9. Creative, Inventive or Integrative: a creative intelligence about relationships; the application of abstract knowledge to particular real world solutions --whether materially, technologically or sociologically; Exercises: instead of just playing a musical instrument, this would be like learning about abstract harmonics, resonance shapes, and different capacities of woods or other materials in order to build a musical instrument or to conceive of one that is entirely novel; other examples that merge abstract knowledge with particular material/technological applications: learning about ecological relationships and designing ecological relationships; glassblowing; crop-raising/breeding for a particular area; building a battery; identifying problems of existing materials, technologies or social relations; building things that work; fixing things that break; fixing difficulties in something set before you as a project (whether chemical, health related, electrical problem, irrigation problem, agricultural problem, permacultural design, institutional dynamics, systems thinking); designing a better version of something you are given or find at hand; designing a copy of something that already works in order to understand its abstract dynamics; understanding and then solving pollution issues; substituting materials that are better in the same pre-created idea, or its opposite--novel applications of pre-existing materials, etc. For an example of how schooling can contribute to inventive intelligence or demote it, chemists used to learn how to blow their own glassware as part of the training to be chemists. The artisan skill of how to do this successfully meant learning the different qualities of glass for one's own requirements as well as practice in blowing glass or soldering together novel arrays of glass tubing for experiments one conceived. In this way, the material world comes to be seen as a variable for intelligent tinkering instead of an impediment due to ignorance about it. In this way, chemists were encouraged and were taught that their education was designed to allow them to make far more inventive mental experiments. Later chemists were unable to do such inventiveness because they were 'trapped' in a world of pre-made glassware only. Much work on cold fusion advances for sustainable water fuel was done by these precious people with this inventive intelligence--and who had access to a previous educational system that encouraged these basic inventive intelligence skills.The ninth course of familiarity would be some form of capstone experience based on the knowledge, expertise or curiosity to achieve something gained in the other eight courses. So instead of a trivium or quadrivium, we have a nine-point based curricula that includes these though widens them. How many of these basic intelligences have been removed from your country's basic curricula--to what human, cultural, and regionally degradative effect?
If many of these basic body-based, social, communicative, cultural, mental, or inventive skills drop from the education of 'the raw human animal,' you get a very easily controlled populace--unable to organize its own future individually or socially for sustainability in their own regions in an ongoing, changing, open future. After youth, it's almost "too late" since patterns of habit--whether body, mind, or (in)action--are set. That's actually why such skills have been removed: to stunt people and to make degradative forces that much stronger by coming up against little sustainable, virtuous opposition in people. This is where Gatto's historical research comes into the discussion.
Gatto notes that elite private schools that train leaders and do'ers have a very different curricula from the schools that train intentionally brain-dead and easily led followers who expect or await others' to organize them:
John Taylor Gatto - 01 The Elite Private Boarding Schools
Gatto reviews what you are likely not being taught, intentionally, to cripple your humanity, and why: by the late 1800s Western education was reconceived to intentionally cripple most people, with the design that you will have an eternal inability to catch up due to your more behaviorist government forced schooling curricula, rendered dependent, eager to please authority, more inert, with less personal initiative or social knowledge, and easily steered and manipulated by those small others who did not get this government schooling and instead went to these private elite schools with a vastly different curriculum based on individualized initiative and social graces of development--that turn out better and more whole people.
The History of Forced Schooling: A German Import into the United States (Now Worldwide), Rejected by the Bioregional State
The connections that Bonesman George Miller had with high finance and high politics through Bonesman William Walter Phelps (S&B, 1860) helped 'steer' U.S. Education to take root in a German-Prussian vein.
For the purposes of this article, "in a Prussian vein" means according to the principles founded in the requirements of the Prussian royalist state. In 1816, after the total defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, Prussian legislation went very right wing, basing its premises on 'Right-Hegelian' Fichte. The desire to make education compulsory for all was hardly for the interests of educating people or enriching their lives. It was for the interests of creating a perfectly hierarchical and centrally manipulative society of the future with a small coterie of elites actually doing the thinking for the whole society, and the others blindly following orders, having been crippled by the educational frameworks to be unable to know anything different.
In the Prussian strategy, the whole population is categorized into three "educational castes" to formulate future easier elite control of the population.
1. those who will be policy makers, who are taught to think strategically (0.5%),
2. those who will be engineers, lawyers, doctors--who are taught to partially think, only for accreditation in specialized topics (5.5%), and
3. the children of the masses, who are to be taught how to follow orders (94%).
In other words Prussian/US "compulsory education" may have had from the start a social design purpose for a hidden curriculum: aiming to maintain an ever more difficult form of elite managerial dominance as calls for democracy, widened political participation, and the removal of the political perks of aristocratically inherited wealth were expanding throughout European society and the United States.
As Gatto argues, the Prussian educational system in Germany as well as the United States was idealized as a strategic tool engineer society: to demote political and intellectual equality and to reformulate an aristocratic society in novel formal institutions. It could even be called a "de-educational" model, because it promotes a society that is endemically uneducated and trained mostly to follow someone else's centralized instructions thoughtlessly.
Woodrow Wilson himself, a protege of a Bonesman, and president of Princeton University, "...said the following to the New York City School Teachers Association in 1909: 'We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.'" (Harpers, Sept. 2003 )
They are talking about intentionally intellectually crippling millions of people through their version of "education". These were the ideas behind the 'industrial' model of compulsory schooling in the United States--institutionalized via steered funds of Bonesman monopolized to be aimed exclusively toward Bonesmen directed schooling, started from scratch off German models.
As an introduction to Gatto's research, these German-strategic ideas were imported into the United States educational programme as undemocratic principles by a handful of very reactionary rich elites mostly the massive amounts of monies generated in the families of ownership around coal and oil wealth. Their plans started via creating a few select land grant universities and private universities constructed from nothing to begin their novel undemocratic educational acculturations. These select universities were invested exclusively with Bonesmen Presidents for their first steering generation, designed to create the group #1. These fresh University models were designed explicitly off techniques from Germany and even with the majority of the staff trained in Germany (as in the case of Johns Hopkins). Funding was either coming from large private foundation grants or state land grant college funds steered illegally to only Bonesmen connected institutions (as was the case where Bonesmen monopolized a generation of land grand monies in Connecticut and New York, to go to Yale and to (Bones-established) Cornell University, respectively.
Then, for group #2, select teacher's colleges were invented from scratch--a completely novel form of teaching centralization where none was seen as required before. This was achieved particularly in the foundation of Vanderbilt University (for the U.S. South) and in the teachers college connected to Columbia University (for the U.S. North) after the Civil War.
The Teachers College at Columbia University was founded through the actions and wealth of Grace Hoadley Dodge and Nicholas Murray Butler--the latter being a lifelong compatriot of the Bonesman-heavy family of Elihu Root and his even heavier Bonesman connections. In 1887 Elihu Root's close friend Butler became the co-founder and President of the New York School for the Training of Teachers, which later affiliated with Columbia University and was renamed Teachers College, Columbia University. Throughout the 1890s Butler served on the New Jersey Board of Education, participating in forming the College Entrance Examination Board. In 1901 he was installed as acting president of Columbia University, assuming the presidency the following year. Like Bonesman Gilman's good friend Andrew Dickson White (the Bonesman and first President of Cornell), Nicholas Murray Butler (once President of Columbia University) went on to become president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, from 1925-45--which White was involved in as well. Soon after he starts as President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he is trusted enough to become President of the Anglo-American elite steering society, the Pilgrims Society (1928-46)--a dining club that is among the most elitist and well connected, filled with financial and political internationalists who aim for an "Anglo-American racial world empire" along the lines of Cecil Rhodes.
Butler's lifelong friend was another major parapolitical internationalist, Elihu Root. Though non-Bones himself, Elihu Root was part of a large and very prominent Bonesman family. In 1916, Butler even attempted to secure the Republican presidential nomination for his friend Elihu Root--while of course the same group was dominating the 1916 Democratic Party candidate already, Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow Wilson is a direct product of the Bonesman Gilman's Prussian educational system. Bonesman Gilman trains John Dewey and helps him come to dominate American educational policy models in the 20th century. Bonesman Gilman additional trains Richard Ely, who in turn trains Woodrow Wilson.
Bonesman Gilman was additionally a part of the George Peabody Foundation through its Peabody Education Fund. George Peabody was the U.S.-born though London-based banking partner of equally London-based Junius S. Morgan. (Junius's son and grandson were John Pierpont Morgan, Sr. and Jr., who looked after the New York branch of this massive monopolizing Anglo-American banking firm and its communications with London).
With its Gilman connections, the Peabody Education Fund from 1867 privately expanded a "U.S. Prussian" system of schooling across the conquered U.S. South after the Civil War. In addition, there was an effort to create through the Peabody Educational Fund a southern teachers' accreditation system controlled by one organization tailored to fit the centralized Prussian educational model. Toward this aim, the grounds and buildings of the pre-existing University of Nashville were subsumed via being donated to the recently established George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville in 1909--a transfer valued then at approximately $250,000. Soon after, in 1915 to expand, the George Peabody College for Teachers purchased a large 50-acre site adjacent to Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. Vanderbilt University had been founded by William Henry Vanderbilt in 1880, with money to construct the Wesley Hall building for use as the Biblical Department, library, cafeteria, lecture rooms, and 160 dormitory rooms for students and professors. When the building was destroyed by fire in 1932, and his son Frederick made another donation to help cover the insurance shortfall and allow a new building to be erected. Next to this non-Bones Vanderbilt University, the Peabody Education Fund constructed new buildings. Over time, it as well amalgamated itself into the wealthier Vanderbilt University. (There is even a medical association at Vanderbilt University called "Skull and Bones.")
With groups #1 and #2 achieved by the first decade of the 20th century, Wundtian experiments for how to achieve a docile group #3 started to be implemented down to grade school in the first decade of the 20th century. Groups #1 and #2 were designed to get a pedagogy to enhance a hierarchical system of centralized control and a programming model of education instead of a child-centric or skills based schooling.
That decade saw the starting--then rapid ending--of different educational foundation funding of different 'test styles' of primary and secondary schooling experiments on children. In this period of elite institutional experimentation, Montessori education spread to the United States in 1911 and became widely known in education and popular publications. However, her child-centric learning in Montessori schools came up against the expanding Prussian-inspired, anti-democratic, millionaire-led, industrial-based school philosophy animating America's educational establishment by then. The publication in 1914 of a critical booklet, The Montessori System Examined published by influential education teacher William Heard Kilpatrick limited the spread of her ideas, and they languished after 1914. Who was Kilpatrick? William Heard Kilpatrick was hardly a neutral observer. He was colleague and successor to John Dewey. Remember, Bonesman Gilman trained John Dewey and helps him to dominate American educational policy models in the 20th century. In short, these Wundtian pedagogical experiments came to an end with the decision to reject all child-centric models of both Waldorf Education schools and Montessori method schools.
(Montessori education returned to the United States from the 1960 during the cultural upheavals against U.S. policy controlling educational models and people's lives. To show how different are the educational policy philosophies in different countries, New Zealand's state educational policy is based on Montessori education. So are the green educational moves in Ladakh, India that have for the past ten years created models for a more "appropriate modernization." The Druk White Lotus School there is at core a Montessori school curriculum with many regional and sustainable features added to them (featured in the conclusion to this section)).
Meanwhile, in the Prussian imported model to the United States unchallenged after 1914, such child-centric schooling was to be curtailed and available only in the exclusive preserve of small, expensive, elite private boarding schools (category #1). The U.S. has had almost 100 years of this kind of schooling with disastrous effects to most people.
From the video above, on the contrary, I think it is worth printing Gatto's points verbatim on what "group #1" was taught. By doing this we can highlight how different it was--and how much better it was--than what these elites themselves funded for everyone else who was pushed into the Prussian "group #2 and group #3" without being aware they are categorized to be stunted.
Gatto's summary of what these private elite schools of "do'er's do" is a list of 14 principles intentionally 'cleansed' from public government coercive education in most Western education. Removing these 14 points from youth leaves mostly coercive, behaviorist training for "group #3." This kind of dehumanizing educational curricula forced on people with a policy that it is to be done in compulsory schooling are two problems solved in the bioregional state by reintegrating the below points for all and for making any such schooling entirely voluntary since other forms of schooling are always available as well in the bioregional state.
These 14 themes of teaching and purpose Gatto claims are universal principles among the tiny number of American private elite schools, even if they stress different versions of them. Private schools tend to concentrate on these 14 themes universally to make self-reliance and leadership while public schools tend to demote these characteristics in people to make greater dependency and followership. After viewing dozens of these U.S. elite private schools in action, Gatto summarizes their curricula with the following points:
- No kid should graduate without a theory of human nature. What makes people tick? What buttons do you press to get the results from your fellow man and woman that you want. And where does this lore come from? It comes not from psychology not even in a small way. The fund of lore comes from history, philosophy, theology (almost a dirty word in public schools), literature, and law. These five agencies of human history and the human mind have a wealth of information about what people have been like and likely will always be like. Every kid is expected to have drawn from these databases.
- Every graduate should have a strong experience with the active literacies. This is not reading. The active literacies are writing and public speaking. No matter how well developed our mind becomes on strong texts, it is useless to convince others of your point of view unless you can write well and speak well. Both of these skills are extremely easy to teach. To teach public speaking you simply have to offer regular opportunities to speak among strangers, whether only one or an auditorium of strangers. The fact that they are not people you feel comfortable with is essential. Write constantly and regularly everyday. The improvement occurs quite naturally, perhaps then some professional intervention--though intervention is the worst thing. Practice is the best possible thing.
- Insight into the major institutional [choices of your society's] forms like courts, or corporations, or military [OR SCHOOLING], including details of the ideas that drive them [as choices]; examples are analyzed minutely in these elite schools while kept under wraps in public mass schooling (to stunt others' understanding of institutions implanted in their own societies and their choices, ideals, and designs as human decisions instead of innately neutral, innately representative, or innately unplanned--to keep others from contributing their own designs and desires for change or participation since institutional familiarity and knowledge is opaque in public schools). [This knowledge Gatto himself provided at length in his book The Underground History of American Education--which is a world history of modern education.]
- Public schools hardly touch this: the repeated exercise of public good manners and politeness based on the utter truth that politeness and civility is the foundation of all future relationships, all future alliances, and access to places that you might want to go. Any public school to the contrary is a laboratory of rudeness, cruelty, sloppiness, and coarseness.
- Independent work. Think about the possible rationales for that. In public schools the teacher is charged with about 80-90% of fulling the time available one way or another, and all the choices are the teacher's, but in independent private boarding schools that ratio is reversed. Well, that problem is never entirely reversed, though the weighting is shockingly different. The kids do most of the work. They are expected to be resourceful enough to use the work of other kids as well--not like in public school.
- Energetic physical sports are not a luxury or a way to blow off steam though give grace to the human presence. That grace translates into power and money later on. Sports additionally teach you how to handle pain and emergencies that happen regularly in sports.
- Complete theory of access to any workplace or any person. You would be better off than reading a civics textbook to send the kid to get a meeting with the mayor of Los Angeles, constructing a relationship even over a year to get that relationship and meeting.
- Responsibility as an utterly essential part of the curriculum. This includes things like washing dishes even, yes; or care for a horse; or take some important community service; or leadership in clubs: always teaching to grab for responsibility when it is offered and to deliver more than is asked for.
- Long range comprehensive point that is checked regularly: arrival at a personal code of standards: of production, behavior, and standards of morality.
- Familiarity with the master creations in music, dance, sculpture, design, architecture, drama: to be at ease with the arts because apart from religion, the arts are the only way that transcends the animal materiality of our lives to get in touch with the bigger you.
- The power to make accurate observation and recordings. To only give one example of how you think this way and how you push yourself to do this, it used to be an axiom of the British upper classes that if you could not draw what you saw with your eye you were not seeing what was there, so drawing wasn't a way to kill time but a way to sharpen the perception. Modern sciences has only been possible in many ways through modern representation of first drawing and later photography.
- The ability to deal with challenges of all sorts: to know what will challenge your son or daughter, you have to know your son or daughter very well. If your child is shy, then public presentations that challenge the kid are required. The kid needs a correcting than rather live the rest of their lives that way. If your child is a coward, and that's harsh to say, but if your child is a coward--though many people are natural cowards perhaps--one learns over time that the physical challenges are really not so bad. Teach them if they get hurt, always stand back up. That would be a challenge for a shy kid. Challenges are different for different people. Another challenge: if you are used to eating garbage food, it will be a challenge to train your palette with fresh food and excellent presentation rather than a Big Mac.
- The habit of caution in reasoning to conclusions.
- The constant development and testing of judgement. You make judgements, you discriminate value, and then you follow up; you keep an eye on your predictions and how skewed your predictions are to actual outcomes or note how well you predict. [this is a training in many ways of systems thinking and futures studies.]
You won’t find “takes honors classes,” “gets good grades,” or “attends only Ivy League schools” on John Taylor Gatto’s list of qualities of an educated person. Gatto taught in New York City schools for 30 years and was named New York State’s Teacher of the Year, but his experiences convinced him that what students need is less time in classrooms and more time out in the world. Building character and community, Gatto argues, is more valuable than learning from tired textbooks and rigid lesson plans. Really educated people...
1. Establish an individual set of values but recognize those of the surrounding community and of the various cultures of the world.
2. Explore their own ancestry, culture, and place.
3. Are comfortable being alone, yet understand dynamics between people and form healthy relationships.
4. Accept mortality, knowing that every choice affects the generations to come.
5. Create new things and find new experiences.
6. Think for themselves; observe, analyze, and discover truth without relying on the opinions of others.
7. Favor love, curiosity, reverence, and empathy rather than material wealth.
8. Choose a vocation that contributes to the common good.
9. Enjoy a variety of new places and experiences but identify and cherish a place to call home.
10. Express their own voice with confidence.
11. Add value to every encounter and every group of which they are a part.
12. Always ask: “Who am I? Where are my limits? What are my possibilities?”
[This list was adapted from John Taylor Gatto latest book, Weapons of Mass Instruction (New Society Publishers, 2009) for Learn as You Go, the Fall 2009 issue of YES! Magazine.]
13. I would add to education the value of options to travel. Where the Ecological Reformation is in place, in a mutual interchange of different bioregionally organized areas, this means mutual travel and exchange. It is important to give children, early in life, greater life chances for travel and cultural variety if they so desire. If they want, they have the chance to break out of their particular origins earlier if desired, or at least they have a memory of different places in which to compare their own region and livelihood's choices of cultures and institutions. In practice, this can mean something as simple as urban trips for those in rural regions or visa versa (rural trips for those in urban regions). This can mean a wider variety of cultural and ethnic experiences. Particularly important is an early experience of cultural food variety so people can make can make adult judgements of whether they want to continue on the habitual paths in which their region, family, or ethic/class status accords to them, as well as so they can have a chance for a less insular personality if they want. Third, this means early experiences with a wide variety of religious traditions. In short, the 'recipe' of different experiences of regions, foodways, cultures, and religions are rather easy to implement into a school curricula whether during breaks in-between sessions or for whole terms in different environments--at other bioregionally affiliated frameworks elsewhere.So I envision that during some periods, students will be applying to be exchange students to visit or learn at other schools for a term/semester within their high school years, in other regions. Another choice would be trips to other regions that become part of the educational curricula as well. For a rough estimate, at least three trips should be required before any graduation. However, the student should of course be given an option to stay in their region and learn something outside their own normative context or at least have the chance to elaborate it. The point is to increase education as a venue for exploring human variety instead of forcing all people through the same lobotomizing structures or experiences. The point is to recognize or even recreate required regional human diversity by these relationships instead of to create human conformity with a centralized and mostly degradative curricula.
In conclusion, Gatto's summary of curricular aims of elite private schools and his later wider musings on successful educational purposes in general are both important to be more universally (i.e., multi-regionally) applied.
Different religious schools may integrate these ideals as well, or they can be entirely secular or pluralist when it comes to religious instruction. The point is widening human variety--which allows for more human choices that allowing us to be prepared for an open-future.
3. College Level Additions: Interscience Degrees as an Additional Degree System with the Others, Integrated with Sustainable Buildings as Inspirational Mediums of Education
For those that choose college study, the existing departmental arrangements are still there. However, additionally there is an interscientific intergration with its own degree program.
We can characterize most of the Western academic experience as split institutionally in socialization (instead of in reality) across the arts, the social sciences, biology, the material/physical sciences, and the professions. There are specialized degree and career tracks within each of these where knowing about the other groups is seen as lessening one's status in one's own institutionalized group or profession--instead of seeing this as a requirement for being a well educated person who can be a better professional because of it.
Previously, a liberal arts degree claimed to develop a well rounded person--or so was thought.
However, with increasing applied, socialization, status, and political power of the more biophysical sciences and social sciences, a mere liberal arts degree actually became a recipe for a backwater intellect that intentionally looked more like a specialization that ignored the sciences in culture and knowledge. Ignoring these interconnections gained for the liberal arts degree holders their own intellectual smugness and ignorance--which was hardly the point of the liberal arts degree.
Therefore, all these five groups mentioned above deserve their own liberal arts degree at this stage, which means a novel understanding of what liberal arts means: integration and commitment to sustainable ecological interactions as an added humanistic virtue. The liberal arts gain a bit from the sciences, and the sciences gain a bit from the humanities. There are now required a much wider "ecological liberal arts" series of virtues of knowing about such interactions that make you a better and more virtuous person in maintaining or even enhancing such beneficial human-ecological relations.
Think of the lack of human virtue and ecological virtue generated by the existing educational framework of the Western academy. For example, let's look at chemists. Bad chemists designed plastic that never remediates and even poisonously accumulates various toxins. You might say, 'well, it wasn't the chemists' job to know that it might cause biological damage and that it would innately interface with the wider ecological world in a poor way.' I would respond: 'It was their job to know this, and they failed because their education left them unprepared to make better ecological materials in applications. They intentionally destroyed their own human virtue by such applications as well as ecological virtues.' Chemists are rectifying this lack of ecological virtues with their own 'liberal arts' style courses, for example, in the novel courses in 'green chemistry' that have had textbooks for over a decade used in many major universities as how chemistry is taught.
More than physical scientists, biological scientists require the option of their own "science version of a liberal arts degree" that involves knowing about social, biological/ecological, and physical interactions in the real world. This is both in order for chemists or biologists to be better professionals in their field. If they are so trained they are more likely to avoid making real world mistakes out of specialized ignorance in their applications that cost us and their employers tremendously in court suits, our shared quality of life, and in costs to our damaged material sustainability. GMO crops for instance are prime examples of a lack of virtue in applications of specialized biological knowledge because it is destructive of human virtue as well as ecological virtue. Nuclear power is another example.
Chemists and material designers don't know biology, to our collective chagrin.
Biologists might know some chemistry, though only around carbon.
Many medical programs train doctors who get certified wrongly as doctors despite avoiding courses in basic nutrition or occupational disease.
Many medical programs are funded by drug industries in the interests of designing the curricula around drug pushing instead of around the many choices of the arts of healing.
Social scientists currently can avoid learning much about biophysical or ecological sciences at all, despite all human socialization taking place within specific environmental contexts and conditions that are either set up by the environment or set up by people that impinge upon socialization.
All the above require their own options of taking a 'sciences liberal arts degree' to avoid such ignorant specialization that create ignorant applications that costs us so much in disasters when such social, biological, and physical interactions in any phenomenon are ignored.
Given the huge repercussions of nearsighted applications of scientific knowledge that has destroyed and polluted the world, and with social scientists and economists misleading people about policy out of ignorance (see videos above), surely a badly designed educational system comes into blame instead of individuals? Since the difficulties are systemic in the way everyone is trained in such specialized manners, you require systemic institutional solutions to allow some people to get credit and status for knowing more than their specialization requires. Such specialization in college in these five areas is greatly to blame to for turning out highly (self-)regarded people who are made ignorant or spiteful against other specialties of knowledge workers--each blindly confident in their own fields, though always trampling on the others in their ignorance. For to integrate knowledge renders one traitor to such a specialized arrangement, even though scientific advance requires such integrations now for maintaining human and ecological virtue.
In other words, how do we raise chemists that are cognizant of what works in the wider ecology and biology?
How do we raise biologists who understand the effects of industrial chemical pollution on bodies and even mental processes, who are innately curious about how industrial changes might affect them or their field of study?
How do we raise social scientists to understand that the environment is a source of many different choices instead of just an abstract category--or even worse, just something that they can inconveniently ignore?
In short--for the social, biological, and physical sciences--it means giving these their own liberal arts degree: an interscience degree.
This interscience degree would be a degree of wider status: a wider capstone of two minors in other fields outside their specialization. This means in practice, if I graduated with a degree in the Social Sciences (which I did), I would have the option (instead of requirement) to take two minors in the Biology sections and in the Chemistry/Physical Sciences sections.
Actually, though a 'social scientist' I almost have that ideal minor in chemistry by hindsight. I sorely feel a lack of knowledge in biology and ecology that I have achieved only through self study. It would have been so much easier if such a potential career track was made an ideal within the college system upon the students' arrival as a freshman--to inspire them to wider human and ecological virtues. I attribute my 'dual' chemistry and social science background to my more ecumenical views on many issues that many of my (sorry to say this) ignorant social science peers seem clueless about due to their over-socialized specialization.
It may be a less frightening social or ecological problem if a Sociologist has 'the world wrong', so to speak, in their minds. This is because social scientists typically are little interested in social applications--or rarely in political positions to act on them. Moreover, they are split by an interesting interaction of subjective specialized interest, political view, and empirical data already in how their methods and topics are chosen. In other words, they check and balance themselves into applied harmlessness well enough, I find.
However, it does matter GREATLY to sustainability and ecological virtue that there are hundreds of thousands of ignorant biologists going about with their work and grants that are all trained exactly the same--to be the same kinds of biologists. Think applications of GMOs so blissfully and ignorantly created. Think about three-parent clones already in existence. Think about genetic engineering tools that damage the whole genome to supposedly 'insert' their genes they want. This technique destroys more of the DNA than they want to admit by their techniques, destroying 10,000 years of human breeding of varieties in a generational instant. Think models of disease transmission being ignorantly created.
Instead of an omniscient 'blind watchmaker,' many biological and physical scientists are 'blind watch wreckers.'
So, it does matter greatly that there are ignorant chemists or material scientists going about and typically being hired to design the same kind of supply-side applications for their governments or industries without any concern for regional virtue or human community that is damaged (think about the inventors of toluene, aspartame, DDT, nuclear power, etc.).
It does matter greatly that there are ignorant materials scientists going about: think BPA that damages all biological mechanisms, loosely inside a plastic product that never rots and only actually absorbs all other toxins since the plastic is lipophilic. Think the complete lack of human, regional, and ecological virtue that is seen by such inventions. It is the externalities of these specializations that now require us to give such science degrees a liberal arts concern about their own practice to make them more self-reflexive about what they do in the interscientific world ignorantly in the past can be more knowledgeable in the future.
The story of the great 'material inventions' of the 20th century are now written as tragedies. The wider lesson of many material changes is the discovery of even greater human ignorance instead of ingenuity, even greater hubris instead of godlike powers. In drawing on the myth of Prometheus or Icarus, scientists ignore that these Greek stories are moral lessons that either eternal torment (think nuclear particles) or death results from such arrogant hubris. It is a mistake to only think about only the successful theft of fire in the tragic end of the story of Prometheus. It is a mistake to think about only the pretty and inventive wings of Icarus instead of the tragic end of his story as well.
It is a mistake to ignore that we live now among walking performances of Greek tragedies that are performed daily in many universities worldwide: the living tragedies of many specialized scientists that are living out predictable Greek tragedy lives right now in their working and teaching on the safety of nuclear power, the complete irreconcilability of GMOs to ecological or food security, or the naive construction of military technology robots that kill people. All three of these stories would make great Greek tragedies because like Greek tragedies we know the horrible ends that will soon happen because of these inventions, and the torment of the scientists who come to learn "too late" what they have done to themselves and others.
Instead of idolizing Prometheus or Icarus, I suggest scientists learn from Oedipus Rex: they are living lives in the dark that they are raping their mother earth daily and they are destined to kill their own children because of their ignorance. I'm sure like Oedipus, once conscious of their intellectual failings, most scientists taking a human and ecological virtue view of their lives' work wreaked upon the world, may want to rip out their eyes like Oedipus to stop from seeing the self-destruction they have wroght upon their mothers and their children--and themselves.
Instead of 'better living through chemistry' the DuPont slogan should have been shorted to merely tragically the struggle of 'living through chemistry'--as in attempting to survive such a catastrophes of 80,000 synthetic toxins stupidly introduced into the world that are now unavoidable silent tocsins damaging our bodies. Oedipus Rex is a better model to frame what most sciences have done in the West for the past 150 years. They were all turned out, loose upon the world as lobotomized madmen, into their fields that damaged the whole world, their 'mother' and their children with early death.
BIDs and BIDAs: Adding Human and Ecological Virtue to the Western Academy's Knowledge
This ignorance of a wider ecological or human view of implications of applied knowledge--this ignorance of what people do to society, biology, and ecology can be corrected.
What about giving social scientists, biologists, or material scientists the option of learning about the real world interaction of the 'social-biological-physical' in any phenomena in nature, and learning about the world from that standpoint? There is a mindlessness of the future wider repercussions of their actions in current Western academic training that is entirely anti-science. Such empirical bases of their specializations fail to exist. Even if people have a science degree in such specializations, it is merely a socially constructed convenience instead of a real world division of knowledge.
In other words, it is unlikely to ever really find a purely social topic, just as it is unlikely to ever really find a purely biological or physical topic entirely without connection to the other two. The simple premise is to educate people to be aware of these interscientific interactions and you get a more sustainable applied knowledge that avoids the tragically stupid mistakes and ignorantly ideologically held ideas as if their discipline is unable to be critiqued from the others or citizens at large for the unvirtuous path they are taking us.
Plus, there is increasing demand for these interscientific workers: green chemists, organic agriculturalists, natural herbicide/pesticide specialists, regional architects using local materials, etc.
On the one hand biologists, chemists, physicist, and social scientists could still take their specialized degree and curse us with their pointless animosities to each other if they still desire it. If they want to be Oedipus Rex, there is little stopping them from doing it at present.
On the other hand, they could actually recognize that their own topics always have a bit of the 'interscience other' in them--and learn about that in college so they don't rape their Mother Earth and don't destroy their own children:
- A biologist could get a Bachelors of Interscience Degree (a B.I.D. or B.I.S., instead of a BA or BS), with a concentration in biology, with two minors in the social science field of their choice and the chemical/physics/material science field of their choice. (Example: BID in biology; minors in organic chemistry and occupational health; certainly that makes much more sense?).
- A chemist could get a Bachelors of Interscience Degree (a B.I.D instead of a BA or BS), with a concentration in chemistry, with two minors in the social science field of their choice and the biological field of their choice. (Example: BID in chemistry; minors in biology, and in sociology of science and technology).
- A political scientist could get a Bachelors of Interscience Degree (a B.I.D instead of a BA or BS), with a concentration in political science, with two minors in the biological field of their choice and the chemical/physics/material science field of their choice. (Example: BID in political science; minors in geography of industrial materials/commodities, and in biology).
The social, biological, and physical always interconnect. Where you change one factor (ignorantly or knowledgeably), you can expect the other two factors to change as well.
BIDAs: Bachelors of Interscience Degree with the Arts
Even a liberal arts degree major (like in arts or languages), one of the professions (architecture or medicine or legal work), or one of these science majors themselves might be interested in taking the other penultimate degree, the BIDA (the Bachelors of Interscience Degree with the Arts).
Beyond the BID's 'liberal arts degree merely for the sciences,' this is a degree with samplings of three minors--that would include some arts or design courses in them all. If the BID degree is toward gaining ecological virtue, the BIDA degree holder gains both human and ecological virtue and awareness:
- Example: a musician could get a BIDA (BIDA, in music as major; three interrelated minors in ethnomusicology (social sciences), industrial design of musical instruments and their material science/theory (physical/chemical sciences), and biology/health (biological sciences/medicine) [the latter, perhaps an interest in the effect of music on health or disease for instance].
- Another example: a sociologist could get a BIDA (BIDA, in sociology as major; three interrelated minors in biology (perhaps cognitive/neurosciences), chemistry (to be aware of physical aspects of social health inequalities in the body), and music (why not?). [I have a good friend who is a political scientist and violinist--who is interested in the interaction of politics and music.]
- Example: BIDA professional degree in architecture; three interrelated minors in urban sociology/proxemics (or urban and regional planning); biology, and aesthetics/sculpture [or add a physical sciences minor in material science])
- Example BIDA professional degree in medicine; three interrelated minors in geography, ethnomedicine/occupational health; and music).
You can call the abbreviations what you want: BID's, BIS's, BIDAs, BISA's, etc.
The name fails to matter: the point is that a rose by any other name smells just as sweet.
People do who integration are better people professionally. They make less mistakes and make better innovations. These people are more desired and more trusted. They deserve cultural awareness and status of their capacities and achievements.
People who do integration are better people culturally. They are more humanistic and aware of what the wider world in which they are interacting.
People who do integration are better people materially. They understand the dynamics and relationships enough between social, biological, and physical issues to develop better interfaces of materials that serve their social purposes without being biologically or physically toxic.
Moreover, as a cultural, institutional, and ideal within the university system as an option for one's degree, instead of just this integration being an uphill battle or personal 'pique' of interest as it would currently be categorized, it will weigh on people's minds that this integration should be done to make them a better person and to make us a better world of human virtues and ecological virtues "elegantly enjoined." Over time, as more people take such BIS/BIDA degrees it has many multiplier effects as well that are good for cultures, regions, material sustainability, the professions themselves, and our world in general.
Hopefully, we recognize that such integrations deserve such greater statuses in the real world and make more useful and virtuous human beings as resources for us all--instead of designing people educationally to concentrate on imparting status to only the most nearsighted specialists in their own fields that typically do more to soil the fields of others in the nearsighted practicing of their own.
In our current world without the BIS/BIDA degrees, think of most economists for instance who nearsightedly destroy your culture and environment with their recommendations without knowing anything about your culture or region--or even haughtily and hubristically suggest, falsely, that their models tell them more than people living there know.
In our current world without the BIS/BIDA degrees, think of most chemists who create only a poisoned world and really are intentionally clueless about the carcinogens they foist onto themselves even.
In our current world without the BIS/BIDA degrees, think of some biologists who think cloning cattle or genetically engineering plants are a great idea though they blindly reduce in a matter of generations 10,000 years of working human varieties that have stood the test of time--exchanged for varieties that are self-destructive and poorly designed to live in certain regions. Such ignorantly trained biologists removal of such varieties worldwide has created huge risk in our lives.
The problem is hardly a "few evil men and women," it is much wider. The problem is a whole educational accreditation system of the West currently. Good men and women are being educated by an unethical system of splintered knowledge and professionalism with disastrously damaging real world effects upon the world when they are released from school. Their education is a form of cancer in many ways in how destructive it is of the basic operating principles toward living a sustainable life and humanly ethical and balanced life.
Like Victorians who bred the smell from roses 'out', we humans are losing the human virtues and ecological virtues by such virtues being bred 'out' from our educational systems. Victorians lost those traits in roses in a few generation. Victorians were unable to get it back after their nearsighted desire to make the perfect visual rose.
How much longer until Western education itself currently has rendered many cultures and regions unviable? Like the rose breeders of Victorian England, are we killing off our own human varieties in a dead project in the service of only one ideal--instead of in the service of many different regionally appropriate virtuous ideals that I suggest here should be the point of education? This is the educational ideal because it is only in the regional venue the human virtues and the ecological virtues interact in beautiful and strange (and genetically, cultural and materially sustainable) ways.
If you lose the regional variety in human education and concentrate only on abstract human virtues, you may create or encourage intellectual monsters and totalitarian ideologues.
If you lose the human virtues and only concentrate on the abstracts of ecology or material sustainability in education, you may create other intellectual monsters and totalitarian ideologies.
Instead, do both human and ecological virtues in education, in a regional integration. The human and ecological virtues require each other to check and balance to avoid the psychopathy of specializations in one or the others' rootless ideals that accept few compromises. Well, regions are those venues of more democratic compromises for checks and balances on any totalizing educational ideologies of any stripe of degradative power.
The same is occurring with monocultures of the mind and the monocultures of crops worldwide. they have lost both the human and ecological virtues toward mere placeless power of application.
These people have to be stopped. And to be stopped, they have to start being replaced by changing the molds on the educational assembly lines that created these overspecialized, dangerous, intellectual mutants in the first place, replaced with more virtuous people better educated for the interaction of human and ecological issues who see the ongoing tragedies created by ignorant specialists in the applied and professional sciences.
Sustainability knowledge requires greater integration of the massive amount of scientific knowledge we already have though is being unapplied--or intentionally ignored. To avoid creating social, material and biological tragedies is to start by avoiding the unleashing of specialists completely unaware of what they are doing to the wider ecology or humanity--those who are without any cognition about such ecological dynamics in their professions as perhaps something they should know about to be considered useful to the human species and this planet instead of as a toxic burden.
Education for the interaction of the human and ecological virtues will call forth a sustainability project of 'permanent culture'--a population more educated to understand and to maintain healthful interactions of social, biological, physical, and cultural arts to make a livable life for everyone possible by understanding how changes in one of these affect the other.
This interscientific basis of the world is a topic crucial to planning for sustainability and for policy. Sustainability is a grounds for changing educational curricula and institutionalized career tracks as a consequence. However, currently, such interscientific interactions are rarely studied because the educational career tracks are forms of specialized ignorance to the damage they do in other fields. I want to make different curricula possible, as truly moderating forms of expansive though still usefully specialized knowledge--instead of merely encouraging the creation of specialized ignorance.
This means changing the contexts around degree specializations to widen their breadths for the good (human and ecological virtue) that can come from knowledge of such relationships and interactions for a more promising route to the future.
In short the current Western college system itself encourages and causes environmental, regional, and human-cultural degradation. It is time it is stopped because this path leads to self-destruction.
Some places like Ladakh in northern India are rejecting this Western placeless model of education. They are finding how to reintegrate such regional knowledge and cultural life skills into their particular regions' education--while simultaneously taking the best from such wider schooling frameworks. It is perhaps important to know that this school employs a Montessori based method however adapted, with green buildings, regional gardening, and an understanding of sustainable technologies of which the school is built as part of the curriculum itself.
e Squared — The Druk White Lotus School — Ladakh; excerpt (2007)
This serves as an introduction to the region, culture, and ecology--as well as how Ladakis are turning around the disastrous previous choices of placeless Western 'modernization' schooling featured in the earlier film Learning from Ladakh, above. So they reorient the school to fit their human virtues and ecological virtues of their own region.e Squared — The Druk White Lotus School — Ladakh; podcast (2007)
This is the first in a series of video podcasts for the PBS series e2 design II. Each podcast takes you beyond the episodes and deeper into the world of sustainable design. The spiritual leader of Ladakh, the Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa says: "my main aim [in the founding of this school] is to preserve the Ladaki culture....[the] vision of the school is as a model education project and model for education and [sustainable] technology...a model for appropriate modernization." "wherever you go in this world, people seem to be lost, they don't really know where they are, and they just follow blindly, and they are suffering, very unnecessary suffering. So therefore I think it is very important to give them a good example. So this is why the school is very important. I mean, you really need a unique school to give them a total education."Other news about this school:
Druk White Lotus School, in Ladakh, India (Bloomberg, 2010 film): Really "Learning from Ladakh": a Model for Everyone Who Lives in a Region--Which Means You
"Before we have shown you green homes, and now we will show you a green school..." [the film concentrates mostly on the built environment as a learning tool as well, so here's more on curriculum at the link: www.dwls.org. Note that food, energy, and buildings themselves are all 'off the grid' and students learn about these technologies and gardening techniques as part of their curriculum. In the previous generation in Ladakh (see earlier film from the 1990s linked above) such cultural virtues and ecological virtues were entirely ignored with tragic consequences for an aimless pointless youth that fit nowhere in particular.]The film leaves out that building and maintaining more schools for others in their region on these architectural lines is part of the ongoing curriculum.
The next film has only random pictures of the students and surroundings at the school:
Druk Foundation Presents the Druk White Lotus School, in Ladakh, India (2007 film)
The Druk White Lotus School, in Ladakh, India. Nestled in the Himalayan mountain range, the vision of the school is to empower Ladakhis to participate in local economy, while also preserving their rich culture. The school's award-winning Green architecture will soon be featured on PBS. A project of the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa. Visit us at www.dwls.org for more info!
4. Professions Requiring Specific Ongoing Regional Knowledge to Practice
Most of the placeless professions contribute to degradation by ignoring these interscientific regionally-specific relationships. The specifically regional and varied arrangement of social, biological, physical, and cultural contexts--and the fact that they keep changing in these interactions over time--belie that a professional licence is ever finished. There are historically changing conditions of social, biological, and physical situations in different regions worldwide.
For instance a doctor is made a bad doctor if all they know is an abstract medicine. Think about a doctor that knows nothing about problems that a city's or rural area's water policy, filtration chemicals (or lack thereof) could do. Think about a doctor that is unaware of occupation health statitics or their changes over time in their region before they attempt to heal their patients over and over. Think about a doctor who only knows how to cut out cancer instead of cure it--which is quite possible now with many techniques. Think about a doctor only interested in their autonomous career in other words, instead of really healing you and understanding your context first.
This scaling down that recognizes the innate regionalism variations of professional work can be applied to thinking about practicing architects, agriculturalists, chemists, biologists, etc. They all live materially in particular regional contexts, though mentally they may live in some alienated placeless place they learned about in college.
First, how to make it worth their while to take such BID an BIDA degrees mentioned above? By only giving them professional licenses to practice in their fields in certain regions if they know about that region first.
On the one hand,  this could be handled bureaucratically: this means perhaps ongoing additional courses or regional certifications in top of their professional degrees making them aware of various ongoing statistics and changes of their region in which their ongoing licensing depends upon passing. Working synergistically, the previously mentioned BIDA or BIS degrees might give them a preferential treatment or preferential mindset for maintaining such regional knowledge.  It might be easier to get a licence to practice in a particular region if one has a BIDA or BIS degree as the base of their knowledge instead of simply a placeless professional certification.
On the other hand, this could be handled less bureaucratically in a mentoring system: having them do various research on their region before they practice or perhaps do rounds in volunteer service to others already practicing that profession in a certain region. Thus by guild-like relationships or student-mentor relationships (or a bit of both) in a particular region people as professional workers can develop a living lineage of regional knowledge conserved about a region. It would be useful for how to conserve or expand particular sustainable arrangements of social, biological, physical and cultural issues in a region--instead of how to come in and disrupt it over and over.
So doctors are made aware of particular diseases and occupational issues of demographics in their 'health region' instead of just seeing their patients as a string of random individuals and instead of just setting themselves up and settling down in a region where they are truly clueless to their population they serve or are expected to only voluntarily get this information about the regionality of the disease populations they serve. Instead, such historically changing regional knowledge about the interactions between social, biological, and physical is made prerequisite for them gaining and maintaining their licensing to practice in a particular region.
The same regional licensing requirements on top of their degrees could go for psychologists, economists as well--i.e., any professional. The geographical scale of this jurisdiction of the region or the particular time or knowledge involved can be up to the region themselves so it can be changed as history desires. It might be a one-year learning of the particular regional interactions of these factors or a more detailed analysis for a longer period before they are allowed to practice on their own. it might be intentionally tied only to a certification examination on the regional level, or a combination of this and mentoring with existing professions practicing in the region. Let the region decide, so they can reevaluate their standards over time as well as it suits them.
Moreover, it is important to keep this knowledge updated. Regions are hardly static cultural or material arrangements. They are historical arrangements. A professional who is already embedded in their knowledge of a region (or aware of such interactions from their BIS or BIDA based degrees) keeps being interested in it, so learning is continued more easily instead of being forced.
Moreover, if a re-certification occurs every 10 years or so it would definitely help professions systematically understand the changes in their region or what issues deserve greater awareness and address in the future--so they actually serve the changing people in their region instead of just serve themselves as a profession.
Moreover, an updated regional certification to practice a profession it is an easy way to revoke certain individuals in a profession from practicing in the region--keeping those individuals from being such an autonomous rogue agent potentially in a region while of course allowing them to move on to other regions that might want to retrain them.
Thus this regional certification is both a huge form of both acculturation of placeless professions to a region as well as a legal way or form of removal of those individuals that fail to adapt to learn about a particular region or whose practical ignorance or opposition to learning about their charges may be damaging to people or a region by their choice of ongoing ignorance.
Third, it creates in the minds of professionals so educated an anticipation that their actual capstone experience is not college. It is the required (un)learning and qualification of their abstract knowledge in some ways about the region in which they practice. In this way, very importantly, such a certification puts together a real status for regional knowledge as a check against the most placeless of professions.
If local knowledge anywhere in the world is valued and seen as normal for how professions practice-- instead of as something of an insult that they disdain to learn--their cultural position in a regional world changes from some kind of elite professionalization 'over or out of' local society to a more representative elite within it capable of giving voice to others. (It is unsurprising in this way that many medical doctors who are most interested in wider demographic problems of the health of their region take to activism beyond mere doctoring, which is good for their human virtue as well as the ecological virtue of the region.) Thus professionals begin to play a part closer to a representative of a region instead of separated from it. This regionally representative part played by all professions will be more developed in this context unlike currently in a Western academic model where their status drive is animated to be involved in their own placeless strata removed from their region.
Fourth, this helps to temper ideological zealots of any particular stripe--whether universal in their inspiration or extremely local in their inspiration.
5. The Effect of Cumulative, Plural Certifications and Regionally Democratic Status Demoting Singularly Psychopathic Dystopic Leaders
Back to the CDI and CEI, for another feature of them. These are institutions that everyone can participate within in some way. The ones that know the most systemically about a region become the most trusted in both CDI and CEI, and in their trades or professions. This translates into a wider representative part they can be recognized to play in these institutions as valuable (instead of strange or useless) when they really 'get' their region. It's only strange or useless to understand integration in a degradative society. Toward a sustainable society, however, such knowledge of integration is coveted and maintains its use.
Within the CEI arrangement, perhaps there can be a wider cultural certification or recognition, of people who know a little about all of the 92 different materials--or at least a 'clade' around their own professions (like agriculture and all its inputs and outputs; or like materials for construction and all its inputs and outputs, etc.--see the link for the list of all 92 at http://commodityecology.blogspot.com/). The people who are certified or recognized with some knowledge or use of many sustainable materials and their flows as a status arrangement in the region are in a better position to lead us toward the future of sustainability for their particular region on how to integrate people, materials, and places better with what decisions to take to do so when conditions change--both additive and subtractive. It's that simple.
The more you are certified in regional awareness of various issues, the more status would accrue to you in the culture--particularly through the additions of the CDI and CEI institutions. The CEI could conduct an annual honorary vote among its own membership of who among it seems to possess the best understanding of their region's material flows, and as such, such individuals become a cultural ideal within the CEI (and even the CDI this way) as much as another kind of vote determines the cultural admiration in the CDI as a regional ideal.
These institutions of CDI and CEI make the more systemic knowledge in people's minds rise to the top of regional leadership while the blustering ideological ignorance or polarizing of others can fall to the bottom--instead of visa versa in a degradative context where blustering ignorance and polarization tends to rise to the top and detailed integrative knowledge languishes below. There is a whole chapter in the book Toward a Bioregional State on how the CDI avoids these kinds of polarizing electioneering arrangements.
The people with the best regional leadership are those that are integrators. They have the systems knowledgeable about their regions, and the diplomatic people knowledge--unlike certain charismatic or even psychopathic people who perfect the art of lying in public to mass manipulate people and drown out the variety of their region to an ideological regime instead. Such a polytopia of the bioregional state aims to avoid all these dead-end dystopias run by psychopathic personalities and their polarizing manipulations.
6. A Bioregional Degree in a Certain Regional/Watershed Cultural Ecology: Navigators to the Future
In addition to the BIS, BIDAs, there can be BD degrees ('bioregional degrees'). According to global ecoregional charts, there are currently over 600 different ecoregions in the world. Beyond the mere ecoregional clines and separations as a mere ecological study, it is time that that specialization in a particular bioregional place of how people and places co-exist was recognized as a form of knowledge in which people can be certified.
This would be a more fine grained study than 'area studies' and a more interscientific study than mere 'ecoregional' ecological study.
Instead, people can become experts in particular bioregional areas concerning the interactions of human and ecological arrangements--what is virtuous and what is otherwise--instead of seeing 'the environment' as only a study of ecology or 'area studies' as just a cultural arrangement.
Related to this BD degree, it would be important to perhaps link it to this CEI form of knowledge certification--where part of 'coursework' or 'work study' would be working within a variety of different industries or professions within a watershed or bioregion to understand them all as much as possible. For those long term students, it might even be considered a pilgrimage through the region they love in the many different industries available--where instead of being disliked for being gypsies and rootless in their profession they can as well be seen as a cultural and regional resource to be honored in this way. It might be appropriate for a local college to offer a variety of 'bioregional degrees' (BDs) in particular areas that they are near: to concentrate study on the social, biological, and physical interconnections and interpenetrations of a particular bioregion and their historical changes over time. this BD degree would be based loosely on the BID/BIS/BIDA forms of degrees, though with an explicitly local, bioregional element.
If you learn enough whether within or outside of college about everything in a specific bioregion--the material handling, waste handling, commodity creation arrangements/choices, institutions, and cultural issues--you are perhaps the best designer or 'navigator' for the region into a sustainable future that others could enjoy. Therefore, perhaps a degree in a particular bioregion can be the highest status of all in a sustainable society.
In the introduction, the video critique by Claude Avares above can be summarized as this: large scale, universal systems of knowledge and certification--while useful--can malign local knowledge even though local knowledge has more wisdom for actual policy and more capacities to develop working solutions. However, the point of the bioregional state is to bring out this polytopian arrangement of multiple real places while attempting to stop the ideological invention of placeless singular ideological spaces that tend to become only dystopias in time. Educational institutions can be degradative instituitonal causes. They can equally be designed to support sustainability and changing cultural and material roads toward it.
This post hopefully can help us conceptualize a vision for the latter sustainability while helping us understand what is the problem with the former models of Western education that has led the world toward environmental degradation.