Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Scott Sampson's The Whirlpool of Life

Scott Sampsn has lauched his own blog, The Whirlpool of Life (

Quoting from Scott’s letter to me:
“[The blog] will encompass a wide range of topics, spanning paleontology, evolution, ecology, education, sustainability, philosophy, and psychology. The thread that I will use to weave these topics together is science education in general, and nature literacy more specifically. My underlying contention (shared by growing numbers of people from all walks of life) is that the current sustainability crisis is not merely an external crisis of the environment. More fundamentally, it is an internal crisis of worldview rooted in a dysfunctional relationship between humans and nonhuman nature. Thus, any meaningful resolution to the eco-crisis will require not only more and “greener” technologies, but also a fundamental shift in awareness and understanding, particularly within industrialized nations.

“… I am convinced that the concept of evolution has a pivotal role to play in this gargantuan effort. Darwin triggered an intellectual revolution, with effects that have cascaded through science and society. Yet, one hundred and fifty years later, a portion of Darwin’s legacy, the foundational concept of common descent through deep time, remains virtually untapped outside academia. In particular, this concept has not been communicated in such a way as to shift our relationship with nature.

Schooling for sustainability, I will contend, should be rooted in three intertwined elements, each of which informs the other two: 1) new metaphors that augment the dominant “life-as-machine” and “web of life examples, enabling us to perceive reality in new and instructive ways; 2) the Great Story (encompassing the evolution of cosmos, life, and culture), which provides a universal origin myth and anchors us in the deep time evolution of life on Earth; and 3) a strong emphasis on place. Together, this trio of elements—metaphor, story, and place—have the power to transform education and help trigger a change in the dominant worldview, thereby serving as springboard to a sustainable future.”