Wild Virtue: Educational Practice for Environmentally Sustainable Communities Within the Traditions of Deep Ecology
Wilson, William Robert
This project defends the thesis that the tradition of Deep Ecology offers a practice of education which would foster ecologically sustainable communities. This thesis addresses the problem that nearly all current forms of educational theory and practice, because they are rooted firmly within epistemologies which are infected by the anthropocentric error, foster the destruction of Creation. However, the goal of creating an education system which would foster a more ecologically sustainable relationship between human and non-human aspects of creation cannot simply involve the discovery or creation of a new foundational philosophy. Rather, this quest must be a hermeneutical task which would allow a simultaneous transformation of cultures. While Deep Ecology offers valuable insights into our current ecological crisis through its critique of anthropocentrism, Deep Ecology is not currently understood in a fashion which makes the hermeneutical task of transformation possible. Therefore, I argue that Deep Ecology should be understood as a MacIntyrian tradition complete with practices, specific types of virtue, and narrative genres. This new understanding of Deep Ecology allows the educational researcher to discern theories and practices of education which would foster ecologically sustainable communities. I conclude this project with an investigation of two extant educational programs, Rediscovery and David Orr's Ecological Literacy, which suggests that both are versions of Deep Ecological education.