For every environmentally-minded person, there is a key memory, a “place of initiation” (Louv, 2010). For me, it was childhood summers spent in Wexford. We had a mobile home and my mother would open the door each morning and send my brother and I off on our adventures. Dinner would be on the table when the clock struck six, but other than that, our day was our own and we could wander where we wished. Sometimes we would play with each other and with friends, but often I went off on my own, wandering down country lanes, picking berries, listening to the sea and the hum of insects, watching rabbits, in a world of my own, with space to think and dream.
McIntosh (2008) speaks of the three aspects of engagement – heart, hand and head – but to begin with a sense of place is required. Our sense of place, human and environment, culture and nature –where we feel rooted in all aspects of our lives. My sense of values comes from my life experiences, my family and friends, many of whom I communicate with via Facebook, my communication to a global “audience”. These connections lead to my sense of responsibility.
Sterling (2009) urges us to consider, as educators, how we encourage “response-ability” – our ability to respond to the needs of today’s students. Are we enabling them with positive skills for this world, for the uncertain future, are we creating a “meaningful” curriculum? We not only need to consider our “home” community, but our educational community too – putting “heart, soul and spirit back into our thinking and practice” to engender sustainable education (Sterling, 2009; p19).
A list of the actions I plan to take are in the appendix post – the small goals I have set myself as a result of this work.