The ecosystem approach: challenges for public policies and educational programmes

Main contact person : André Francisco Pilon, gaiarine(at)
University of São Paulo / International Academy of Science, Health & Ecology

Abstract :
Learning new forms to be in the world, as a systemic, emergent, contingent and path-dependent process, implies the co-creation and generation of new paradigms of development, growth, power, wealth, work and freedom at institutional, cultural, educational, economic and political level.
The process of change encompasses a synchronized work with all dimensions of being-in-the-world (intimate, interactive, social and biophysical, as they combine to induce the events (deficits/assets), cope with consequences (desired/undesired) and contribute for changes (potential outputs).
In the socio-cultural learning niches, heuristic-hermeneutic processes unveil expectations, in which transformation is an outcome of a state of resonance, attunement and on-going reflections, leading to an out-of-the-box contact with subjects and objects. The contributions of the participants are analysed from a thematic (“what”), an epistemic (“how”) and a pragmatic (“whom, when, where”) point of view, encompassing the contents in the different dimensions, the structure of thought and actions, strategies and consequences.
The objective is not to solve taken for granted problems, but to unveil and work with the complex configurations that originate them; instead of being trapped into the path-dependency of pre-established definitions, it develops a capacity to reframe the problems in the process.
The equilibrium or disruption between the different dimensions are linked to opposite models of culture; in the ecosystemic model the dimensions preserve their singularity and support each other, in the non-ecosystemic dimensions drift apart and collapse. The proposal relates to how taken for granted worldviews, values and perceptions affect how we define and deal with environmental problems, quality of life and the state of the world, encompassing ontological and epistemological issues.

Key-words: education, culture, politics, economics, ethics, environment, ecosystems

Bio : André Francisco Pilon holds a diploma in education (University of São Paulo), a master’s degree in public health education (University of Puerto Rico), a doctorate in public health and a post-doctorate in environmental education (University of São Paulo) His public profile and his selected publications are online:

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