Nelson Lebo 's Profile
Nelson Lebo
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Joined:
17/04/2011
Last Updated:
18/05/2011
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Whanganui, New Zealand
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Warm Temperate
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Male





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Eco-Thrifty Renovation

Whanganui, NZ


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An Ecological Model for Community Sustainability Education

Posted by Nelson Lebo about 7 years ago

Over the last 2 years we have been developing an ecological model for whole community sustainability / resilience education. We learned heaps about the difference between theory and practice with surprising results.

Here is a snippet. Find the rest on www.ecothriftydoup.blogspot.com

 

we set out less than two years ago on a project to learn what actually works in our community, and to develop a replicable model for other communities to use as they see fit. The journey has been one of discovery and humility. Many of the ‘sure things’ we thought would work turned out to be complete failures, but other ‘shots-in-the-dark’ found traction in the community. Theory does not equal practice, and pre-conceived notions appear to be less useful than remaining open to any possibility. Ours is an ecological model for whole community sustainability education that is holistic, cooperative and adaptive.

 

The model is holistic in that it seeks to include every learner in our community from age one to 101, from unemployed to wealthy, from liberal to conservative, in formal and informal settings, and on multiple levels. The model remains open to any possibility that presents itself in a cooperative and adaptive manner, and to any potential partnership no matter how unlikely it may appear on the surface. So far, partnerships have included religious groups, health organizations, adult education centers, Maori groups, private businesses, community groups, newspapers, athletic organizations, schools, permaculture groups, and even the YMCA.

 

As implied by this list, the model is cooperative in that it seeks out partnerships within the community for initiatives. It is designed to mimic mutualistic relationships between organisms in nature where both parties benefit. It seeks synergy in relationships where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Working together shares the load, and also surrounds us with positive people working for genuine change. Where mutualism and synergy do not exist, initiatives are abandoned, or as described next, modified.

 

Finally, the model is adaptive in that each initiative must meet the above criteria for cooperative partnership or it will not ‘survive’ in that form. In an evolutionary sense, each initiative starts as the seed of an idea that is shared with members of the community. If the idea finds a partnership, it may proceed to become an initiative. If it does not, it is unlikely to be initiated unless revised. We recognize that in the process of evolution the vast majority of genetic mutations fail. This failure is not necessarily bad, only natural. Looking to nature for our ecological model of community education, we accept a high failure rate of ideas because we know that those that succeed and proceed as initiatives are the most robust in practice, not just in theory

 

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Consultant Aid worker
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PDC
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: Whitianga Bay, NZ
Date: Jul 2008

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