Sustainability Book Reviews #5: Regenerative Learning


Sustainability Book Reviews #5: Regenerative Learning

The environment crisis and the urgency of finding ways to live within planetary limits is making us question many aspects of our lives. Education is one of the areas that urgently needs to be reformed. It is striking, for example, how little the school curriculum has changed since the nineteenth century even though we now live in a remarkably different world. Meanwhile, in higher education, universities both in Britain and around the world are hamstrung by procedures and practices that are no longer fit for purpose. The urgent task is to find ways to bring about the changes that will help us as we negotiate the challenges of the future.

This ground-breaking book offers some radical and deeply grounded solutions, spelt out in a dazzling array of essays from both internationally acclaimed experts and relative newcomers to the field. It focuses on our relationship with nature and the potential for learning from it. This is encapsulated in the term regenerative learning. As the veteran Indian campaigner, Vandana Shiva, explains we need to re-imagine education and unlearn ways of thinking based on separation and illusions of superiority. Our current approach amounts to little more than ecological apartheid.

Regenerative Learning is edited by Satish Kumar and Lorna Howarth and was published to co-incide with the thirtieth anniversary of Schumacher College in Devon. Satish was editor of the influential environmental magazine Resurgence for over 40 years and Schumacher College is pioneering a distinctive new model of learning based on ecological principles. In other words, it is written by people who are at the cutting edge of education.

If you are interested in education and the way that it can respond to and address our current predicament you need to read this book. Rather than dwelling on negative scenarios, readers are invited to enter the Age of Ecology and Enlightenment.  Key ideas like creativity, beauty and imagination permeate the text.  Ecological principles and indigenous knowledge are brought together to exemplify a new educational paradigm. At a time when we desperately need a new and compelling vision for education Regenerative Learning offers a fresh perspective. If you are looking for a text that affirms the deeper purpose of education, addresses sustainability and acknowledges the magic of teaching you need look no further.

This blog was originally featured in the monthly Us in the World Newsletter, available around Canterbury campus and online.

By Stephen Scoffham, Visiting Reader in Sustainability

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