Educating for an Ecologically Sustainable Culture

Rethinking Moral Education, Creativity, Intelligence, and Other Modern Orthodoxies

By C. A. Bowers

Subjects: Curriculum
Series: SUNY series in Environmental Public Policy
Paperback : 9780791424988, 248 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9780791424971, 248 pages, July 1995

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Table of contents


1. Introduction

2. Toward a Radical and Ecologically Sustainable Approach to Moral Education

3. Rethinking the Modern Ideal of Creativity

4. Educational Computing and the Ecological Crisis: Some Critical Concerns

5. Toward an Ecological View of Intelligence

6. Toward the Recovery of Trans-Generated Communication in the Educational Process

7. Educational Models of Community and Environmental Renewal



Exposes the faulty assumptions that underlie modern education in the areas of moral education, creativity, and intelligence, showing how these assumptions must be changed in order to produce an ecologically sustainable culture.


This book is a wake-up call for environmentalists who need to consider how current educational ideals and practices undermine efforts to create a more sustainable future. It is also a wake-up call for educators who continue to base their reform efforts on the primacy of the individual, while ignoring the fact that the individual is nested in culture, and culture is nested in (and thus dependent upon) natural ecosystems. Bowers argues that the modern way of understanding moral education, creativity, intelligence, and the role of direct experience in the learning process cannot be supported by evidence from such fields as anthropology, cultural linguistics, and the sociology of knowledge.

C. A. Bowers is Professor of Education in the School of Education at Portland State University and has written widely on education, modernity, and the ecological crisis. His most recent books include Elements of a Post-Liberal Theory of Education; The Cultural Dimensions of Educational Computing; Critical Essays on Education, Modernity, and the Recovery of the Ecological Imperative; and Education, Cultural Myths, and the Ecological Crisis: Toward Deep Changes, published by SUNY Press.


"I am very enthusiastic about this book. The author has continued the high level of inquiry established in his Education, Cultural Myths, and the Ecological Crisis. The discussion of creativity, technology, and intelligence are superb. He is asking fundamental questions and doing so with real intellectual rigor and passion. " — David W. Orr, Oberlin College

"This is one of the best books I've read on the challenge of the environmental crisis to our forum of education and our deeply held assumptions as a culture. It is of urgent importance in itself and to several fields of study. " — Alan Drengson, University of Victoria

"Bowers shows how we cannot have an ecologically sustainable culture when our educational institutions continue to reinforce the very aspects of modern culture that are now devastating the environment. Modern culture is based on the idea that change is progressive and that the individual is the basic social unit. But Bowers explains that 'our own culture's highest values may now be the chief impediment to the evolution of a land ethic. ' " — Dolores LaChapelle, author of Earth Wisdom and Sacred Land Sacred Sex