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Place and Education : expanding the conversation within adult ESL and other educational contexts Walker, Sarah 1999

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Place and Education: Expanding the Conversation Within Adult ESL & Other Educational Contexts by Sarah Walker  B.A., University of Victoria, 1994 A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Arts in The Faculty of Graduate Studies Department of Educational Studies Adult Education We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  Dr. Maxine Hancock, Regent College Pair-  Date Approved The University of British Columbia ©Sarah Walker, 1999  • _  •  .  In presenting degree  this  at the  thesis  in  University of  freely available for reference copying  of  department publication  this or  partial fulfilment  of  British Columbia,  I agree  and study.  of this  his  or  her  representatives.  Department of  cft,fv>*  £ f / tU &3  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  Od - [<T /1<\  that the  may be It  thesis for financial gain shall not  permission.  requirements  I further agree  thesis for scholarly purposes by  the  is  that  an  advanced  Library shall make it  permission for extensive  granted by the understood  be  for  allowed  that without  head  of  my  copying  or  my written  ABSTRACT In a world replete with many views of education, it is perhaps easier to notice the differences amongst educational perspectives rather than the interconnections. The role of this thesis is to bring together some of these perspectives through a conceptual analysis of place and its links to education, self, and ESL. Place is a term used in environmental philosophy to refer to a particular space or region as experienced by a person, and to the relationships and responsibilities which connect that person to the world in which he or she lives. Environmental philosophers argue that the relationships bound up in place intimately shape who we are as individuals and the life choices that we make. I will differentiate further between four aspects of place, and address what it could mean to allow a sense of place to influence my life more deeply: what it means to be placeful. Investigation of the politics of place and the impact of race, class, power, and global inequalities on place experiences — areas I cannot explore deeply here - are important areas of research to continue to expand this conversation. The role of place in education is dynamic. I come to the classroom as an educator with two main passions: concern for the learners and concern for the environment. Through an understanding and awareness of place, environmental education and cornmunity/experience-based pedagogy can come together to develop an educational system which will address the needs of the learners, help them develop their understanding of self and place, and encourage care for and awareness of the environment. Jane McRae and Winnie Tarn, two educators of the Association for the Advancement and Promotion of Science Education (APASE), shared with me in a set of interviews their perspectives on place in ESL education. The discussion of APASE's Community Mapping Project which concludes the thesis is presented as an example of how one association has done this: a place-centred curriculum which incorporates feminist pedagogy, understanding and awareness of place, and the importance of addressing environmental issues.  T A B L E O F CONTENTS  Abstract  ii  List of Tables  v  Acknowledgements Chapter 1:  •  vi  Introduction  1  The Path The Concept: Place  1 3  ,  .'  The Plan  6  Chapter 2:  Defining Place  ••• 10  Chapter 3:  Relationships of Place Definitions Origin of the Constellation Types of Place Relationships? Applying Place: Living with Community and Mobility  10 13 18 21 27  What does it mean to be placeful? How is placefulness related to community? How is placefulness related to the classroom community? Placefulness and Decision-making Placefulness and Mobility And the place's point of view?  27 29 34 36 41 44  Specific Place Literatures  48  t  Chapter 4:  Bioregionalism Bioregional Themes Scale Society Polity Economy , Concerns Ecofeminism Connection: Humanity & the Earth Connection: Women & Nature Connection: Women & Environmental Issues First Nations Stories & Knowledge Spirituality & Knowledge Christianity Responsibility of Humanity. Balance Concerns  •  •  48 49 50 51 51 52 53 56 58 59 ..60 65 66 69 74 76 ....78 79  Chapter 5:  Place, Identity, & Education Negotiating Common Ground Concept of Place: Connection to Identity Connection to Critical and Feminist Theory Connection to Education Connection to Curriculum  Chapter 6:  83 < .......  ESL & APASE  104  Overview of Adult ESL Theory . Theories of Language Acquisition Influence of Critical and Feminist Pedagogy in ESL The Importance of Context Awareness Cultural Sensitivity : .• Relevance to Place Case Study .• Who is APASE? What is the Community Mapping Project? What is Community Mapping? Focus on the Learner Participant Reactions '.. Chapter 7:  Postscript  ,  References Appendix 1  '.  83 84 87 91 93  104 105 107 108 Ill 112 114 114 116 120 123 • • • • 125 130 133  Community Mapping Teacher Information Package  143  LIST O F T A B L E S :  Table 1:  Feminism and the Environment :  57  v  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  To the wordsmiths ... my sister, Meg, with whom I have played with words as far back as I can remember, my parents, who coloured my life with books, the fellow madwomen in the attic, Sandra and Karen, who put up with many late nights and brainstorming encouragement sessions, and who taught me to go deeper than the tip of the iceburg, the Webmaster, Ken, who speaks the language of the computer much better than I do, my colleagues in the computer lab, Adnan, Mary, Lara, Sandy, Rebecca, and Don, who worked with me, listened to me, and always made me see the humour in life, my committee members, Shauna Butterwick, Maxine Hancock, and Bonny Norton, who were extremely helpful, available, and whose insights have deeply enriched this thesis, and my research supervisor, Pamela Courtenay-Hall, who has worked with me over the past two and a half years through creative, difficult and fruitful times, offering herself in support, meticulous editing, and a myriad of conversations in journals, e-mail, and in person. Thank you.  Chapter 1: Introduction "What is a man, " saidAthos, "who has no landscape ? Nothing but mirrors and tides. " Anne Michaels, 1996, 86  The Path Within the whirlwind of technology designed to facilitate mobility, communication and ease in postindustrial societies lies a fragmentation of identity. The promotion of the independent individual and the global citizen is, in many ways, an encouragement to leave our places behind. Questions regarding selfidentity and rootedness sift down through our busy lives and urge us to search for connection, wholeness and validation. Who am I? Where do I fit in? How am I connected or related to the world around me? Where is my place? In this context, place, as used in environmental literatures, refers to a particular space or region as experienced by a person and to the relationships and responsibilities which connect that person to the 1  world in which he or she lives: a place(s) or space(s) which is the realm of a person's care, comrnitment and awareness. Place is deeply interrelated, with the corresponding concepts so far less used of sense of place, the place as internally experienced by a person, and placefulness, the outward, visible flow of care for a place. Environmental writers often refer to natural or pastoral environments when they speak of place, as opposed to built environments. This tendency reflects the desire of many environmentalists to bring the land back into conversations around values, education and lifestyle from which it has largely been excluded in the past. I too focus on the importance of the natural world, or the land in some form, but will explore how built environments as well as people can also be part of place. Wendell Berry, an environmental philosopher and English literature professor, uses the image of a pattern to explore this interconnectedness of self, place and the roles the invoked relationships involve: "We [humans] are wholly dependent on a pattern, an all-inclusive form, that we partly understand" (1987, ix). The "pattern" entails  1  From personal conversations with Dr. Pamela Courtenay-Hall. 1  relationship; we do not live in a vacuum but in relationship with the places of our past and present. I propose that these connections have a role in shaping personality and identity, and act as influences on an individual's interactions with his or her community. One aspect of community is the environment which sustains and surrounds us, the places to which we are connected. It is common in North America to open a magazine or turn on the news and hear predictions of environmental crises, accompanied by admonishing directives on how to live in communion with our ecosystem and with each other. Community, in this sense, includes the diversity of life-forms and natural systems which constitute the physical and social environment in which we live. In other words, this concern can be read as a consideration for place. If our sense of place informs who we are, then these formative commitments need to be included in discussions concerning education and curriculum. Personal experience of and individual narrative pertaining to the natural world and the communities we live in need to be included in the classroom. The environment is a theme frequently addressed in political debates, newspaper headlines, neighbourhood chats and educational programs. Why do people return time and again to questions of the complexities of humanity's relationship with the environment? It is because we are intimately and inextricably connected to the natural world, physically, emotionally, and spirituality. Culture and nature are on opposite ends of a continuum, but are interdependent (Berry, 1987). What happens in one affects the well-being and activities of the other. Human economy, culture and the natural world cannot be disassociated: a living thing cannot help but influence, inform and modify the environment within which it exists, and vice versa. These connections with the environment, present on a spiritual, emotional and intellectual plane as well as in actual physical engagement, should not be ignored in discussions of societal goals and community or individual aspirations. Culture and tradition shape the ways in which individuals regard nature, which in turn necessarily influences their actions towards the environment. I will argue that the relationships which tie each of us to our places are an integral aspect of our communal identity, sense of self, and history.  2  The Concept: Place  To use place in this specific manner may cause some initial confusion. I invite the reader to reflect with me beyond the more familiar usages of the word. When Ibegan to understand place as referring to the.cluster of relationships which bind me to present and remembered places, people and experiences, I felt I had finally found a name for the ties of love and care which certain locales, people, smells and landscapes evoke in me. The feeling is one of being right, at home, and ready to fulfill the responsibilities which that conviction entails. These deep ties are more than nostalgia or happy memories. They represent connections which ask for commitment and recognition. I join with Scott Russell Sanders in entering the "effort to come fully awake, to understand where I actually live" (1991, x) through an understanding of the concept of place. The consideration and articulation of my own sense of place is an informative and continuous journey. But it is my journey. Why are the concepts around place so important that I devote an entire thesis to it and its significance to education? To begin with, my experiences as a learner and an educator indicate that place relationships are part of my sense of self and are thus relevant to how I relate and learn. Through my inquiry of place, I have been led to explore fundamental aspects of my spiritual, emotional and physical identity, relationships and responsibilities. The likelihood that this process is true for other adult learners makes place important to adult education. Secondly, I believe that many of our places, on a local and global scale, are in a state of crisis. Our interactions with them must be reassessed. Through an awareness and nourishment of a sense of place, cultural, social, political, personal, and environmental issues can be addressed.  ,  Prioritization of place thus becomes a rationale for personal, experiential, local and environmental education. I will call this place-centred or placeful education, through which the connections between a sense of self and a sense of place become more evident. The eventual goal of this inquiry is to further the discussion.of how teachers and community members can encourage self-knowledge and care for our environments, and at length to foster the growth of communities of informed and active people confident in knowledge of who they are, where they live, and the relationships between self and the environment. This thesis, then, is a step in my on-going attempt to understand the connections between myself, my human 3  communities, and the natural communities which sustain me. As an adult educator speaking from the fields of environmental philosophy and English as a Second Language (ESL), I wish to examine the importance and challenges of place in education, specifically through discussion of the work of environmental educators David Orr, Chet Bowers and Jane McRae, and through the lenses of feminist and critical theory and ESL. The importance of story and narrative is these diverse discourses, and come together in their relationship to place and education. In Ecological Literacy, Orr argues: all education is environmental education. By what is included or excluded, emphasized or ignored, students learn that they are a part of or apart from the natural world. ... Conventional education, by and large, has been a celebration of all that is human to the exclusion of our dependence on nature. (1992,90)  Bringing place into the classroom is a means to include the natural world and the communities around and within the classroom in education, and to articulate how they inform each other. Why link place to education? In my ESL classes, environmental and community issues came to the fore of many conversations. I became aware of the differences in perspectives towards the environment between my home town (Vancouver) and the town in which I was working (Thetford Mines, Quebec). The contrasting ways in which learners viewed their communities and their social responsibilities intrigued me, and led me to look more closely at what I believe about education and to examine the presence of values embedded within my teaching, the educational system, and curricula. Exploration of place is part of that examination. I recognize that behind this proposal for placeful education is an implicit morality that there is a better or right way to live and teach: an environmentally conscious way. One could question whether a focus on the environment is the best or most important goal for education and curriculum, rather than anti-racism or multiculturalism, for example. I do not claim that bringing our senses of place into education is the only path to create programs which teach what I assume to be current educational ideals: self-awareness, ability to reason critically, and cross-cultural understanding. Nevertheless, it is a focus which is helpful and timely. If we view education as a process of growing in knowledge of the world, of history, of the self, and of our potential, then placeful education can include concerns of multiculturalism, anti-racism, and many others. Participants at a colloquium on the environment, ethics and education in the Yukon (Jickling, 4  1995) view these three topics as clearly interrelated, particularly in their roles in the intellectual and social development of learners. Although teachers are not the only agents of change in society, they are pivotal in that they provide a link between theories of ethics and the lived realities or contexts of students' lives (participants, 1995). Western society cannot continue to follow its current path of consumption without understanding the local and global consequences of our choices. Colloquium participants' observe: "Environmental ethics is not a separate subject or body of knowledge, but rather a process that permeates the fabric of our teaching" (1995, 9). One of the panel speakers, Harry Morris, describes the process ofthis growth in ethical knowledge: To respect the land, first of all I will speak of it concerning me: to respect the land you have to respect yourself first and show respect to the land. ... You have to know your history, you have to know your background, you have to know where you came from. If you know this, you will respect what is around you, your environment. (1995,33) Speaking as a member of the Teslin Tlingit clan (Yukon), he goes on to explain how his Elders taught him this knowledge. Admittedly, many of us today do not have such elders ready and able to teach us. Access to our history, background, and environment is often dependent on ourselves or our teachers. The education system thus has become an important site of social, cultural, factual and moral learning. It is crucial, therefore, that respect for oneself and for one's surroundings be included in education. Explorations of connections to place - both to places left behind and to others experienced in the present — can be a nurturing and grounding process; a way of examining and understanding how we identify ourselves. It is my belief that if we define ourselves partly in reference to the places in our current or past experience, awareness of these relationships will help nourish a sense of care for and awareness of our subsequent or current places. Our experiences of and relationships with nature will also affect what we value and prioritize. Any decision made, from what to include in the curriculum, to who is welcome to use the community centre, to what to do with the empty lot down the street stems from the perspective'from which individuals view the environment around them. Neil Evernden illustrates these links: Environment is never isolated from belief, and a discussion of environmentalism is inevitably also an account of the relationship of mind to nature. Our perceptions and expectations of environment are inseparable from our moral commitment to particular beliefs and institutions.. (1993, x) In Western Canada, there is currently a strong push to embrace wilderness and green spaces as part of the  5  reality of having to reduce our dependence on primary resource industries such as logging and mining. The image of pristine forest, mountain or prairie promoted by many Canadians is very much informed by a gradual shift over the past three decades towards a belief in the importance of undisturbed spaces and wildlife. Other cultures hold different ideals of nature. Perceptions and expectations of the natural world daily affect the choices we make concerning lifestyle, economics, politics, and education. The questioning and growth in understanding of self-identity which I hope to encourage in educational settings can be particularly visible in English as a Second Language (ESL) situations. Culture 2  informs language, and vice versa. Learning a language also, therefore, includes lessons on the values, perspectives, behaviours, and attitudes encoded in the language. Grappling with becoming a member of a new country and community and learning to relate to new places under unfamiliar rules can be a difficult and overwhelming experience which can lead to an examination of identity, roots and the roles expected of the learner. Many learners of English in a Canadian setting live an uprooted existence and struggle to ground themselves in a new place, and perhaps in a new identity, although some do not. In any case, my research will pay particular attention to the important role a sense of place can play in self-awareness and understanding, a process which is often attended or alluded to in ESL and mainstream classrooms. As Western consumer societies slowly awaken to an awareness of human impact on and responsibility to the environment, discussion concerning our places and the role they play in our identities is a timely theme for every community member to consider.  The Plan  In the context of these considerations, this thesis will examine the following questions: 1) What is the importance of an awareness of place to human life and a sense of self? 2) How is the concept of place an important element of identity as it relates to education? 3) What are some examples of place-centred education, including in an adult ESL context? In order to answer any of these questions, the concept of place must first be defined. Chapter 2, therefore, is dedicated to a conceptual analysis of place and the related terms placeful, placefulness and sense of  2  Most of the examples given in this study will focus on adult E S L settings. 6  place through a review of environmental and philosophy literature. The term place is at times used loosely, and I mean to pin it down as securely as is possible within the fluidity of language in order to ensure maximal clarity throughout this study. Throughout this process of conceptualizing and defining, certain tensions come to the surface which need to be examined. In particular, a definition of place which implies the need.for roots, security and community is in some ways at odds with a desire for mobility and independence. Chapter 3 will look into these conflicting desires through an investigation of what it truly means to be placeful. If being placeful means living and being in community, as I believe it does, then we need to delineate what that means and how this conviction might shape our lives. Chapter 4 focuses the literature review by sampling four particular discourses which involve place: bioregionalism, ecoferninsim, First Nations, and Christianity. These literatures offer various, often overlapping, approaches to place: ways of expressing, discovering, and respecting the natural environment, and living with that respect in mind. I single out these four because I understand them to be a provocative sampling of approaches to practical, everyday fundamentals of living in awareness of one's connection to place. There are other discourses pertinent to place which I leave aside, such as deep ecology, out of a conviction that these four fociis on the particularities of living placefully, in a place, and make a bridge from the theoretical and abstract to the everyday. This part of the literature review is meant to broaden the discussion of place, and to demonstrate the variety of ways in which the concept of place can be understood and applied to everyday living. Chapter 5 continues the investigation of place by exploring the links between place and identity, or sense of self, and education. The first connection, between place and self, is alluded to in Chapter 4, where the concept of place is a defining characteristic of certain groups or individuals. Following a brief overview of theory relative to the formation of identity, I explore the relationship between one's physical surroundings, experiences with places, and understanding of self. From that point, I extend the link to unite the concepts of place and self to education. Since a sense of place is part of a sense of self, then exploration and sharing of place should be included in education, a forum where knowledge of the self and of the world is acknowledged and broadened. I will explore the role of place in education and the . •  7  importance of place-centred education on an individual, communal, and global level. As a window into discerning how this may be respectfully and effectively achieved, I present some curricula examples of what is being done in different regions in North America, and discuss some of the challenges that environmental education faces, such as ways to think clearly and critically about issues of place and environment. To strengthen the bridge between theory and the reality of ESL education, Chapter 6 gives a brief synopsis of current trends in adult ESL theory, and concludes by focusing on a specific case of placecentred adult ESL curriculum in more detail. The Association for the Advancement and Promotion of Science Education  (APASE) is a non-profit society in Vancouver, BC. The larger mandate of APASE is,  in a nutshell, to build community through science. The executive director, Jane McRae, developed a program for new Canadians/ESL students called Creating a Sense of Place (CASOP) which includes the Community Mapping Project  presented here. The goal of this project is to build community through  knowledge and awareness of the politics, history, ecology, and biology of the communities in which the learners live. Facilitators approach this question through discussions of community, quality of life indicators, and historical, political, and environmental issues which had an impact on these indicators, especially change, balance, limits, connections and diversity (McRae, 1998). For new Canadians and ESL speakers, this program provides vocabulary relevant to environmental and community issues and is helpful in presenting the political system, the history of their new communities, and the roles of community members in Canada. I chose this association as a focus for my research because it is a rare example of a local group which specifically targets adult new Canadians through the series of environmental workshops which constitute CASOP. Jane McRae, along with other workshop facilitators such as Winnie Tarn, took CASOP into several schools in the Lower Mainland. I interviewed McRae and Tarn together in person, and then individually over the telephone. Finally, Chapter 7 concludes this work as a postscript summarizing the important links between place, identity and education. My hope is that this text will be a helpful tool to explicate the concept of place and to encourage educators and others to contemplate how an awareness of place can enrich their understanding of self, as well as their teaching and environmental responsibilities. This work is, of course, •8  only a taste of the complexity of relationships and issues rooted in the concept of place. It is a telling of my experiences, which now need to be related and compared to others' experiences of place. I am particularly interested in the experiences of immigrants and refugees who have chosen or have been forced to change places and rediscover the meaning of home. Conversing with those whose conceptions of place are very different from my own would also be an informative exercise to shed light on my current awareness of place, and bring to light tensions, complexities and insights of which I am yet unaware. There is much more work to be done; I look forward to continuing my exploration of place as I return to the classroom. As will be evidenced throughout this study, the bulk of my research is theoretical and literaturebased. I have been greatly enriched by the extent of reading which I have pursued throughout the process . of writing this thesis. Still, a piece was missing. There is a gap between what we read and what and how we teach, between an ideal classroom and the actuality of the classroom. The reality of text is removed from the reality of the classroom. I believe strongly in what I am promoting as placeful or place-centred education, but have not yet had the opportunity to experiment with it in the classroom, nor been able to hear feedback from students and experience how curriculum and our understanding of environmental education can evolve together. It is very important to include the voices of people who have actually implemented place into their teaching practice in this work. Including them is to include the voice of lived experience. The inclusion of APASE is thus important. Similarly, this thesis includes the voice of my own lived experience. I first encountered the concept of place in a graduate philosophy course, and it has been interesting to look back over the process of my vision of place as it has developed through my reading and conversations. Over the period of three years, I have scribbled notes, questions and rants into a variety of notebooks and scraps of paper. I include some of these, threaded throughout the more academic text, as a sharing of the autobiographical inquiry I have done, to elucidate the unfolding of my comprehension of place and to share some of the personal aspects of the process of concept development.  9  Chapter 2: Defining Place  In these pages I follow various and sometimes crooked paths, yet I am always driven by a single desire, that of learning to be at home. The search is practical as well as spiritual. Only by understanding where I live can I learn how to live. , Scott Russell Sanders, 1993, xiii-xiv  In this chapter, I wish to examine definitions of the concept of place in greater depth and detail. What does place signify? How deeply does it reach? Does it affect me intellectually, or also practically? Does it inform or shape me spiritually? How is place pertinent to conceptions of home, community, and environmental concerns? How does this thesis' definition of place relate to other ideas of place as space, as a geographical term, or as an aspect of architecture? How do others experience place? Why is a discussion of place even important? As Sanders warns in the preface to a book of his essays, I may "follow various and sometimes crooked paths" (1993, xiii) in pursuit of this goal. Nevertheless, the paths will eventually reVeal an interwoven pattern of the connections between home, family, community, and the natural world, which, as a whole, is an exploration of place.  Relationships of Place  The idea of a pattern of relationships interconnecting the creatures and systems of our world is an entry point into a discussion of place. Systems may operate on their own, but on some macro level are interrelating. Rachel Carson, in Silent Spring (1962), "regarded by many as the birth announcement of the modern environmental movement" (Durning, 1996), uses the metaphor of a "fragile web of life" to represent the interrelatedness of nature and humanity. The image of such a web is now a common theme in many bodies of literature, including ecofeminism, ecology, bioregionalism, environmental philosophy and education, and Buddhism. As theologian Charles Rubin asserts, "We may not be much more clear today about just when and where the environment is fragile, but the sense of a whole whose parts are delicately bound together is usually taken as a given. That assumption makes it possible to attach global  10  importance to any event" (1995, 5). The whole web is not destroyed when one section is in crisis, but the 1  image is useful when attempting to come up with a holistic picture of place on a global scale. This holism is implied when links are made between the choices made in one part of the world and their repercussions on a global scale, particularly in terms of consumer demands. In a chapter concerning the interconnectedness of life, David Suzuki cites human ecologist Bernard Campbell: "What affects one affects all — we are part of a greater whole ~ the body of the planet" (1997, 124). The same relatedness is true on a smaller or local scale. Take a seemingly small, commonplace decision, such as my choice of transportation between home and university: car, bus or bicycle. One could argue that there are different degrees and varieties of consequences of that decision. For example, the choice I make impacts my health and level of cardiovascular ability; my level of concentration throughout the day; the level of carbon dioxide emissions for that day; BC Transit statistics used to make decisions concerning bus availability and need; parking statistics at UBC; the dispersion of soil, needles, or seeds transported by my bicycle from one area to another; the amount of food I will buy or consume during the day, further affecting personal and marketing budgets ~ and so on. This level of extrapolation may appear extreme, but the point should be clear: any one act has repercussions that ripple outwards to set off a myriad of effects. These effects occur within systems, and often can be absorbed, but multiply my individual actions by the 1.8 million inhabitants of Vancouver, and the potential impact of compiled individual actions becomes apparent. As a society and as individuals, we may not think enough about the complex series of relationships which make our way of life possible, nor of how much we depend on these relationships. The web simply is, and supports us silently, sadly often becoming inarguably apparent only when a relationship is overstrained. The work of looking at the relationships which tie individuals to the rest of life is a task which can lead to an understanding of a sense of place. Berry has written a collection of essays describing his own efforts to describe the connections between things. He explains, "I keep returning to it, I think, because the study of connections is an endless fascination, and because the understanding of connections seems to me  1 recognize that this is a somewhat vague universalization. Some events, such as how I tie my shoes, may not have a global impact. Nor does generously watering my garden directly dry out the Sahara. However, I believe many people overemphasize the interconnectedness of actions in order to bring more attention to the idea of "think globally, act locally". I agree with the importance of thinking globally, but also want to point out its limitations. 1  11  an indispensable part of humanity's self-defense" (1987, ix-x). He does not name the aggressor necessitating defense, but I surmise he means defense from ourselves. Humans are creatures who wield power over the natural world through biological and technological resources often attained by little individual effort. If we are unaware of the relationships and places that sustain us, it is possible we will destroy the essence of the very relationships upon which we depend. Coming into the knowledge of the intricacies of a place is one way to explore these relationships and the threads that connect them. Gary Snyder (1990) describes these connections in terms of the whole known through the particular: "To know the spirit of a place is to realize that you are a part of a part and that the whole is made of parts, each of which is a whole. You start with the part you are in" (38). From this point of view, knowledge of the self is both an understanding of the uniqueness of individuals, as well as a perception of their interdependence as parts of a larger picture; other parts may become known as the connections between them are explored and unveiled. Connections - between organisms, between natural processes, between ecosystems — are what sustain life. Understanding these relationships is an ongoing process which may never be completed and which "is in error, inevitably, some of the time" (Berry, 1987). We will never have a complete answer to all the mysteries; we can only see so much and so far through our human, finite comprehension. However, things need to be addressed within the context of their wholeness of relationship and complexity (Orr, 1992). The process of growing in knowledge of a place is as important as the knowledge itself. This is not always an easy, or non-threatening task. Nevertheless, it is a necessary one if we hope to reach a more full understanding of the parts, and eventually of the whole. In this way, we can learn how to live by knowing where we live. The study of connections, therefore, is key to knowledge of place. In describing his own ties to place, Sanders recognizes the influential and interactive relationship between place, identity, and way of life: ... I locate myself through what I love. What I love binds me in cords that stretch to infinity ... I do not expect to arrive at the absolute center or circumference ofthings, at least not along a path of words. I will follow that path as far as it leads, then go on ahead in silence. The journey home is my effort to come fully awake, to understand where I actually live. (1991, ix-x) What one loves grounds the sense of self. Home, as envisioned by Sanders, is ideally a place of rest, of  12  awareness, and of belonging. Understanding "where I actually live" embraces the emotions and responsibility that place entails. The beginning of understanding, of coming home, is a process of garnering specific knowledge from actual personal experience and emotion. This process does not involve only increased technical or ecological knowledge. A sense of place permeates a-person's whole being: practically, spiritually, and emotionally.  Definitions May 7, 1997 The first day of class we talked about'place'. Pamela asked: "What does 'place' evoke for you?" Interesting question. I never really thought about the word without an article. I mean, a place is a somewhere, a designated region with invisible boundaries that can be huge or very small. But 'place'. It made me think more of belonging, a niche, somewhere that spoke to me and welcomed me when I got there. Or it can be an emotional or spiritual niche, felt when you are just right with/in the presence of another person That feeling, in my experience, is more rare. And is also fleeting and'changeable. ... But maybe that fluid place is an extension of the physical place. Souls can welcome each other as much as a physical place can welcome my soul. But then I was wondering if I should broaden my definition of place, or at least include thefirst kind of place, the somewhere, as a second meaning, or my definition is too narrow. So place exists on two levels, a physical region and a sense of belonging.  At the core of the'concept of place lie four characteristics: care for the place identified, knowledge of it, an awareness of connections, and deep comrnitment to those connections. These four go hand in hand. Placefulness, or the acting out of one's care, is a kinship which demands aware and.astute living. There are different approaches to living placefully, as will be exemplified in Chapter 4. However people come into knowledge of a place, the knowledge itself (historical, emotional, experiential, communal, scientific, narrative and native) is crucial to learning how to live there. "People who do not know the ground on which they stand miss one of the elements of good thinking which is the capacity to distinguish between health and disease in natural systems and their relation to health and disease in human ones" (Orr, 1992, 86). This discussion is particularly important in light of planetary limits. Problems of food availability, energy sources, and limits of natural systems are rising (Orr, 1992). But the crisis is more than that. As Orr illustrates, "Above all else it is a crisis of spirit and spiritual resources" (1992, 4). Knowledge of place and the ways in which humanity and places are interconnected is important both practically and spiritually. In attempting to define place more fully, we must consider that place is discussed in a wide variety 13  of disciplines (for example: geography, philosophy, education, ecology, psychology and theology). Each has a particular slant on the concept, reflecting the nature and focus of the discipline. Orr, an environmental educator, views place in terms of physical geography: "Place is defined by its human scale: a household, neighborhood, community, forty acres, one thousand acres" (1992; 120). Sanders (1991), an English professor, defines the source of his sense of place in his love for his family, community, and natural environment. Pamela Courtenay-Hall, an environmental philosopher and educator, emphasizes the active commitment and understanding that ties to place demand: "I understand placefulness as a rich, lived sense of connection to a particular place (or places), and the peace and active commitments that go along with it, including an understanding of the potential importance to others of their places" (1997, 5). Bioregionalists emphasize the necessity of knowledge of, and experience in, a place in order to truly be in relationship with the natural world. "It is not enough to just 'love nature' or to want to 'be in harmony with Gaia'. Our relation to the natural world takes place in a 'place', and it must be grounded in information and experience" (Snyder, 1990, 39). Many First Nations and ecofeminist writers emphasize spiritual connections with places (Hultkrantz, 1987; Christ, 1990). Christian theorists such as Loren Wilkenson (1991) tend to view all parts of creation as places to which we are to relate as stewards. In a class 2  discussion (EDST 598A, 1997) individual visualizations of a sense of place were as specific as an apple tree, as broad as "the ocean," and as inclusive as to encompass people, those by whom one is truly known and with whom one is in place, or at home. There are certain people to whom I feel I belong, to whom I am committed, connected, and who give me a sense of home, no matter where we are. At times, a place becomes more meaningful because of the experiences there. When these involve other people, the sharing of that place with them becomes part of my relationship with them, and is ultimately woven into my relationship with that place. These certain people, then, are part of the relationships which constitute the fabric of my identity, along with the more geographical pieces. In sum, the concept of place encompasses a personally meaningful and rich appreciation of our interconnected relationships which bind us to particular  A steward, from a Christian perspective, is someone who is appointed by his or her master (in this case, the Creator, God) to act as a trustee and to make wise, prudent decisions to care for and nurture that which is left under care. Christian stewardship, then, views humanity as stewards entrusted by God to care for all that He created, and to do so in accordance to His principles. This perspective will be defined and critiqued more extensively in the literature review, Chapter 4. 2  14  places and people in our lives: knowing who we are, where we are, and where we are from in a felt and committed sense of belonging. July 15, 1999 After all this discussion, I had narrowed 'place' down to a geographic locale, bounded area; sense of place as the connection, specialness of that place. But then I said 'concept of place' to somebody, and I realized with a jolt that place as a concept has to mean more than a geographic area It's a concept, somehow a place (locale) but bigger than that, more dimensional, with the connections and specialness and commitment and protection and belonging (placefulness) that go along with it. Doesn 't concept of place have to be more than place? And if it is, then place becomes a short form/abbreviation of concept of place. Maybe that's where the sloppy writing in the literature, comes in. But it's shorter, easier, often happens, even if I fight against it. In class, I think we took this step almost unconsciously, because we talked about belonging, commitment, action, care, placefulness, and I don't remember this tricky discussion around place.  The word place is common enough in everyday language. It is most typically used spatially in reference to a particular area or locality, or the part of space occupied by a person or thing. It can also be used to describe a situation or state, it being the place of someone to do something. It can further refer to a position or standing: to have a place in an organization, or a place in history. In fact, according to the Webster New World Dictionary (1988), there are twenty-nine entries under place. As Courtenay-Hall explores in The Grammar of Place (1999a), place, as used by environmental educators and philosophers, has a much richer meaning than many of our everyday uses of the word: "to refer to a particular region of land, sea or sky as that region is experienced by some particular inhabitant ofit"(A). This is a focus on the relationships between a person and his or her social and natural community. Using one term to refer to a locale, a set of experiences, and an awareness of responsibility can be confusing to the uninitiated, and may not fully communicate the complexity of the concepts embedded in the one word. Further, place is often used loosely and variously within the literature of environmental education and philosophy and is rarely clearly and consistently defined (Courtenay-Hall, 1999a). To aid in unraveling the multiple uses and understandings of place, it has been helpful in my quest to define place to single out four aspects of place: geographic place, phenomenological place, sense of place,  and placefulness. Geographic place is the locale as one would find it on a map, in a real estate  15  description, or a book: an "objectively knowable" bounded area. Phenomenological place is the locale as subjectively experienced by a person. Everyone has experiences of place in this manner. Sense of place is similar to the phenomenological sense, but is an attitude which lies in the person processing the experiences of the place instead of within the place itself. The final layer is placefulness, the outward, visible action or desire to act which flows out of the experiences and awareness of sense of place. Embedded within placefulness is a certain morality of how we should act towards the places in which we live. Therefore, placefulness is not necessarily a characteristic of every community member.  4  It is difficult to pinpoint the shift between the use of the nouns place, a geographic location; phenomenology of place, the experiences of a place; sense of place, the attitude of relationship to a place and recognition of the connections between self and a place; and placefulness, the acting out of commitments that cluster around a specific location. One flows from the others, and back again, so deeply interconnected that it is very difficult to talk about one with out implicating the others. It would perhaps be more clear to use place to refer to a geographic area, and sense of place to refer to the experiences and connections of and within a place. However, when used in environmental literature, place usually refers to the broader collection of concepts. In this thesis, I will attempt to refrain from using place as shorthand for the whole conceptual framework of place and its cognates. Together, they are a constellation of concepts, so closely interrelated that it is difficult to talk about one without implicating the others. Geographic place and phenomenological place both focus on the place itself, with a shift from objectivity to subjectivity. Sense of place and placefulness are both attitudes which focus on the place as experienced by a person, but the former is the intake of experience and the latter is the output of actions, changes in attitude, and growth in awareness. The image of a constellation is a helpful way to put these concepts in a framework which allows them unity and singularity at the same time. Neil Evernden's (1993) interpretation of Martin Heidegger's concept of Dasein is another tool to help conceptualize the complexity of the relationships between these ideas. In a discussion concerning the  1 do not mean "objective" as devoid of experience, but to distance it from the other more intimate and subjective layers of place. Geographic place can be viewed as the outside layer, a "house" as seen from the outside but as yet no personal knowledge of the inside. Characteristics and criteria of placefulness will be further explored in Chapter 3.  3  4  16  nature and experience of being human and how humans conceive the world and themselves, Heidegger attempts to get readers to examine the action of "Being" (Dasein) as a verb and the main focus of living, . rather than "being" as a thing, or noun (Heidegger, [1927] 1993; Dreyfus, 1996). Dasein is temporal, or finite, in character. It has a history, lives in the present, and involves itself in plans for the future (Heidegger, 1993). The whole of Dasein, seen through its temporality, reveals the vision of care which Heidegger claims is the essential nature of Being. Evernden extrapolates: But he [Heidegger] made a provocative beginning by describing us as a being for whom Being is an issue and whose way of relating to the planet is through 'care'. ... if we could conceive of a 'field of care' or 'field of concern,' we might have a means of gaining partial understanding of Heidegger's description of human being. His term is not 'field,' however; it is 'Dasein' ('Beingthere' in German), and 'the Being of Dasein itself is to be made visible as care.' We know a territory by the actions of its occupant; we know Dasein by the evidence of care. (1993, 63) The notion of a field of care illustrates the idea of objects, forces, people, and places prioritized within our individual experience. The aspects of place discussed above fit into this image as different quadrants of the same field. Evernden chooses the idea of a field in order to avoid speaking of more distinct objects and risking falling back into conventional modes of thought. For each individual, certain of these prioritized objects or people are more dear than others. I personally visualize this field as resembling an electrical or magnetic field. Things which are very important to me are near the centre, while those that are still important but more peripheral are nearer the edges. My field necessarily overlaps and integrates with other people's fields of care as they care about some of the same things. The image becomes complex when attempting to envision the overlaps, with different fields of care diverging and merging. The "carer" is simultaneously at the centre of the field and yet encompassing the whole. Nevertheless, the image makes the abstract concept of place a little more accessible as it gives a more holistic image than one-dimensional words. Contemplating place in this holistic manner is also helpful in considering how to deal with negative experiences of home and place. I have presented the concept of home as a restful, secure place of belonging and acceptance. This is often far from the reality of many people's experiences of home. The places where some spend their lives are sometimes far from welcoming or nurturing. The emphasis on commitment to place may make those who need to detach themselves from past or current places feel very  17  uncomfortable. The subtlety of difference between the terms place, sense of place, and placefulness adds to the problem. Envisioning myself at the centre of a field of care alleviates the difficulty of home places as a source of pain. Only some of the geographic locales of my personal history are encompassed in my field of care. I am not necessarily committed to all the places of my past. Connected to them, yes, as they . (and the experiences there) will always be a part of me. To be sure, pain is a part of that field in some way, but there is room to allow for the detachment needed from certain places and experiences.  Origin of the Constellation  With our working definition of the concept of place as an informed commitment of care in mind, the next step is to query how this connection to a place is formed. How do certain people and places . become part of my field of care, or sense of place? In the mobile societies of postindustrial cultures, "home" is becoming more and more difficult to define. The practice of living in one place, on ancestral lands, using knowledge passed downfromgeneration to generation, has been largely erased, often due to the call of the city and to the increased difficulty of making a living off the land. Even the typical attitudes of my grandparents' generation who believed in buying a house and land and "staying put" have faded for many people. Moving from place to place can be exciting: it can open up new possibilities, add to one's understanding of different parts of the world and different cultures, or provide a lifesaving reprieve from persecution and suffering. From my experiences in Canada and the United States, mobility is framed in the media as a representation of excitement, and opportunity. There is a lack of awareness of places and roots that runs deep. Sanders calls this rootless state a "vagabond wind," one which has been blowing for a long while (1993, xv). We talk about being nostalgic for the "good old days," not realizing that nostalgia is a translation from the German for homesickness, literally referring to a deep, crushing return pain: the longing of the spirit to be back in place (Sanders, 1993). Perhaps it is inevitable that a nation of immigrants [the US] — who shoved aside the native tribes of this continent, who enslaved and transported Africans, who still celebrate motion as if human beings were dust motes — that such a nation should lose the deeper meaning of this word. A footloose people, we find it difficult to honor the lifelong, bone-deep attachment to place. We are slow to acknowledge the pain in yearning for one's native ground, the deep anguish in being 18  unable, ever, to return.  (15)  Perhaps since many North Americans, including myself, have never stayed in one place for even ten years, we are desensitized to or unaware of a yearning to return. Still, I think the longing is there. There is also a lot of talk in the media and amongst colleagues, family and friends concerning a desire for community, safety, neighbourhoods, attachment and commitment, place (see for example: Western Living 22 (2), 1992, an edition dedicated to the theme of community). As Alan Wittbecker sums up in his essay "Nature as Self, "The connotations of place have been stripped from the memory of nostalgia, the use of the word has been trivialized, and the symptoms have been reassigned, but the disease still erupts, unnamed, and its effects are everywhere" (1989, 78). Today, those who are rooted often have to leave behind the people and places which ground them; others, never having experienced deep roots, may not even be aware of the malaise that infects them.  October 30, 1998 ' / have seen the anguish of leaving a home place on a small scale through the eyes of my grandparents. sister and I recently helped them make the necessary move from the house in which they had spent the majority of their 63 year marriage to a seniors' apartment. They were very brave as we progressed through the packing and sorting, having to give away many treasured things in order to fit into the new two bedroom apartment. But the saddest parting of all was with the house itself. Grandma and Grandp told stories about pieces of furniture, aspects of the rooms, adventures in the attic. Grandma had been spokesperson for the group of neighborhood mothers who fought for the transformation of the defunct railroad belt behind the house into a public greenway, instead of into private land. Grandpa was loath give up his cellar office, his kingdom. It was heartbreaking watching them walk around the house, unconsciously sliding a hand lovingly along a banister or smoothing a piece of wood paneling. Grandm would shake her head and call it a tragedy, and then immediately straighten up and give thanks that th had been blessed to have lived there at all. It has been hard for the rest of the family as well, as that hou was one of very few constant reference points. My family moved three times, other relatives also mov but Grandma and Grandpa's house ('301') was always there: solid, unchanging, waiting for us to visit. Looking back, it was the stability and community that took place within that house that mattered, as the house itself. The solidity of the house was mirrored in the solidity of the love in the family. The attic was always waiting for my sister and me, the youngest two of four children. What a thrill it was to climb the wooden stairs all the way to the top corner of the house, and to sleep in the childhood beds of my father and uncle! The stairs and the flagstones of the front step are smoothed by time; my feet seem to remember them as they welcome me back. Due to distance, we did not visit often. Still, a presence is n gone.  Is my sense of place indelibly shaped by my childhood experiences? By the places where I experience community, respect, and love? Or by some combination of the above? My grandmother grew. up in a small town northwest of Toronto, but '301' is one of her places. "The cottage," built by my  19  grandparents on Lake of Bays, north of Toronto, is another focus of her sense of place. I am attached to both of these homes, but my landscape of ocean and mountains experienced in BC is very different from the deciduous forests and numerous lakes of the hills of Ontario. Some authors writing about place make a strong link between the landscape of childhood and the focus and awareness of place later in life. Barry Lopez states that "The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape; the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genes" (1988, 65). Although there are always exceptions, an unofficial poll among friends and family shows a strong correlation between landscapes of childhood and particularly appreciated landscapes in adulthood. Certain geography feels "right," as though it fits the grooves of what landscape should be, according to some invisible; already formed template in one's head. Orr calls this mindscape: How does come to be? My immediate family has moved three times in my lifetime. I personally have moved seven or eight times for school and work opportunities. Where, then, are my connections to place? How are they formed? Aspects of landscape which have been relatively constant — water, mountains, green spaces — have definitively become part of my mindscape. Orr uses mindscape to describe the lens or template through which we look at the world. In its semantic resemblance to "landscape," the word reminds us in itself of the relationship between the land and how we look upon it. Perhaps an awareness and appreciation of place that is often learned in childhood is a more . important influence on adult awareness of place than the actual childhood landscapes themselves. Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble, in Geography of Childhood: why children need wild places (1994), discuss their children's ability to focus on the small scale details of their immediate, local landscape. They also relate the experience of two adult women, who, upon returning to their childhood sites of play, relive the feelings of freedom and belonging they experienced as children, as though the rocks where they played were welcoming them home. Nabhan, while appreciating homecoming moments, focuses on the way his children learn to be aware of the detailed complexity of a place and to concentrate on the local. Childhood landscapes can have an effect on adult appreciation of place. The level of awareness and play that occurs has an effect on adult attitudes towards place ~ if we allow ourselves access to the memories and the freedom to indulge in them. 20  Types of Place Relationships?  Orr also offers a theory about where and how a sense of place is formed. His work Ecological Literacy  (1992) has been key in furthering my understanding of place and its application to education.  When Orr speaks of the concept of place, he usually does so in the context of physical geography, "its human scale" (126). He further states that one of current educators' difficulties in understanding place is that it is by definition specific, while our way of thinking is abstract (127). This direct relationship between an individual and a particular physical place, when played out in society, distinguishes residents from inhabitants. Residents are "merely consumers," temporary occupants who put down few roots and invest little care in the place in which they live: "As both a cause and effect of displacement, the resident lives in an indoor world of office building, shopping mall, automobile, apartment, and suburban house, and watches television an average of four hours each day" (130). Inhabitants, on the other hand, dwell in an "intimate, organic, and mutually nurturing relationship with a place" (102; 130): "Good inhabitance is an art requiring detailed knowledge of a place, the capacity for observation, and a sense of care and rootedness" (130). I wish to explore briefly the ideas Orr presents in this dichotomy, commenting on how that relationship compares to my understanding of place. Although Orr's work as a whole resonates with a reverent and respectful relationship with place. and nature which I admire, I am troubled by the apparent limitations implied by the specificity of the definitions of place which he describes, as well as the North American focus of his portrayal of residents and inhabitants. This is a very limited cultural commentary (malls, TVs, indoors) which does not take into account other lifestyles which exist both within America and in the larger context of international cultures. Moreover, the distinction drawn between resident and inhabitant seems to suggest that individuals must be deeply rooted in the particular landscape of their childhood in order to be placeful. From the inclusiveness evident in the rest of the book, I suspect that Orr may not have meant this dichotomy to be so severely applied to every individual's situation, but it is difficult to interpret these particular pages otherwise. Orr's insistence on a parallel between transience and residency is disquieting, as though being a mere resident is inescapable for those living somewhere on a temporary basis. This correlation is made in both sections of Orr's book where he refers to the difference between residents and inhabitants: "The resident is a 21  temporary and rootless occupant" (102); and "A resident is a temporary occupant, putting down few roots and investing little, knowing little, and perhaps caring little for the immediate locale beyond its ability to gratify" (130). Although Orr goes on to discuss the manner of living in place, which I would agree is more important than the length of time spent there, his insistence on the qualities of a resident on these pages makes it difficult to imagine that a resident could aware of and connected to a place. Little time = little knowledge = little care seems to be Orr's equation for residents. For Orr, the knowledge of a childhood place is a crucial factor in knowing who and where you are and where you come from. He cites others to support his case: "Terrain structure is the model for the patterns of cognition" (Shepard, cited in Orr, 130). Orr insists on the importance of having the opportunity to "soak in a place" (130, Shepard's term) and, if one left, to be able to return to that place when older. "Landscape shapes mindscape" (Orr, 130). While this dichotomy is troubling in some ways, it is also helpful. The environment surrounding an individual obviously influences his or her personality, values and life perspective. That knowledge of past and present places is intertwined with identity is one of the fundamental assumptions of this study. However, Orr's specific focus on one's early landscape does not adequately address the possibility to learn to appreciate place as an adult, to become attached to new places later in life, or to invest in a particular place even for a short period of time. Nor does it indicate much compassion for people who are forced or coerced to leave their places. Orr's words intimate that individuals who spend most of their time indoors, for example, or .who move every few years, are poor neighbours and dishonest citizens, rather than inhabitants who "tend to make good neighbours and honest citizens" (130). It is not clear what he means by "honest citizens," except that he places them in the same category with inhabitants who care about their places, are observant and knowledgeable about them, and who have a sense of care and rootedness. It does not explain many people who have uprooted and started over in a new place, or who rent their homes rather than buying, and are aware and accommodating "neighbours" and community members, such as my grandparents who now rent in a new neighbourhood. According to our working definition of place, the focus of care can be one's home (house), or back garden, a hospital room, or wherever. Awareness and engagement inform knowledge of place. The constellation of place is more than geography or landscape. It extends to an emotional connection with a • 22  person or people, with a place or places, as discussed in Evernden's image of a field of care. My relationship with places in my life is fluid and mobile in nature. The places which truly lie in the heart do not shift in importance if they are not physically present. Nor does that necessarily make me a poor neighbour or leave me unconcerned about the place in. which I currently live. It may, however, make me less effective in my attempts to live placefully, as I lack intimate knowledge of the place where I live, the kind of knowledge that comes with time and experience. Orr's statement that inhabitants, uprooted, are homesick (130) seems to imply that as an adult, it could be difficult to become a full inhabitant of a place that was previously unknown, since inhabitants are homesick anywhere other than their place, the landscape of their childhood (130). The implication that those who are not homesick must not have been "soaked" enough in their original landscape is alienating and divisive. Orr is correct in fearing that many people, particularly in Western societies, care too little and put down few roots in the places in which we live. The categories of resident and inhabitant do exist. How individuals arrive in each category, however, is much more complex than only transience can circumscribe. Sanders (1993) has had to make a new home for himself, as the places of his childhood have been either paved, flooded, or are inaccessible (having been made into an army compound). Nor do Orr's limited parameters explain the deep attachment I feel to places I lived for short periods as an adult. We need to give consideration to particular circumstances and reasons for these choices, rather than assuming that temporary residence automatically begets mere consumers, poor neighbours and dishonest citizens. I admire inhabitants who live as Orr describes — people who know where they live, are in tune with it, can predict the land's moods and temperament. I only wish to point out that every individual who has not had the luxury of growing up in one place, particularly a rural or community-oriented place, is not immediately debarred from being placeful. The fundamental idea behind Orr's arguments and underpinning this entire discussion is a positive and educational one: the crucial lesson for each individual to learn is that of living a placeful life. How do we explain connections to places where we lived short-term and a lack of connection to places where we spent many years? Relationships with people for whom we care deeply which are embedded in those places, in addition to similarities between the landscapes are parts of the answer. A '  2  3  sense of place is more than geography, and landscapes. It extends to an emotional connection with a person or people, with a place or places, as discussed in Evernden's image of a field of care. Experiences of. childhood, knowledge, friendship, cultural ideals and expectations all play a role in forming a field of care/place, but there is a mysterious essence which cannot be explained. Going back to Sanders' explanation of place, "I locate myself through what I love" (1991, ix). The mysteries of love - including care, place and connection — may never be fully analyzed or explained. My sense of place is an inner . impression of belonging to another person or a physical place. They are all parts of my person and my experience, whether present in memory or in daily experience. Concrete places and relationships which are part of my past have become part of me in the present. The mountains, and ocean which have been a part of the landscapes in most places I have lived figure strongly in my sense of place, the'landscape in which I feel at home. Landscape shapes mindscape in a.more fluid and plural manner than the one relationship Orr intimates between individuals and the landscape of their formative years. Revisiting (whether imaginatively or physically) the landscapes of childhood can be a way of revisiting oneself, but whether such a journey is grounding or difficult or even possible depends on individual circumstances. While we may always belong to the places of our childhood in some way, the fact remains that the process of learning placefulness and to know new places extends throughout life.  June 12, 1997 Tonight was a presentation of Jane Urquhart's novel, Away (1993). 1 visited Ireland last summer, and went through one of the areas where the Potato Famine had hit particularly hard. I had never thought of the stench of rotting plants, or what it would be like to be married in a moth-eaten veil and old bedsheet, while your future inlaws sobbed at the thought of having you as part of the family! Aside from aesthetics, the presenter talked about mindscape and landscape. That the land has a hand in forming who you are. This makes sense to me. Evernden talks about how we 're displaced, or alienated from the natural world. How about people who were born in a busy city and thrive on the hustle and bustle — people who can't sleep in the country because it's too quiet. Or someone who grows up in a city like Winnipeg, in a city with nature on the margins. She has not spent much time in nature but still, upon moving to Vancouver, feels uncomfortable and threatened by the mountains looming on the horizon. Is this all part of what Evernden and Urquhart are saying? That we are influenced to some extent by our natural surroundings, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the individual's contact with the natural world? And if literally almost no natural presence is available, we substitute whatever environment we happen to be in. This may not be a healthy practice, but is still done. If it were true that it is too late to change the way one looks at the world, then there is no point in our studying environmental education now. It's too late, we are adults and are already formed - baked. But I don't believe this is true. I agree that any change or:adaptation to one's worldview or deep sense of place does not usually come easily. But the possibility of change is always open. March 7, 1998 XDn my trip to Prince George, I rediscovered how much I need mountains. PG is on a big plateau - sort of low, rolling hills off in one direction, but pretty flat overall. We drove up to Mackenzie in the afternoon, and as soon as I saw the first mountain peak, my eyes felt like they widened in joy, trying to drink it in. Funny! I've lived without 24  September 1, 1999 Chapter 2: Defining Place mountains and ocean before, but I remember feeling a sense of"Tightness " even in smelling salt air again. I always thought the ocean was the most important to me, but this experiment also showed the importance of seeing some sort of elevation around me! Interestingly, Hans and Chris loved the plateau. They found it wonderfully beautiful (it helped that it was a gorgeous sunny day and blue, blue sky!). I asked Hans where he grew up - in foothills and plain. He could ski nearby, but was also flat ...I wonder what kind of effect this all has on sense of place and what one finds beautiful.  Orr's presupposition that human society is currently in a dangerous pattern of shallow rooted, individually centred, technologically dependent residents is shared by many other writers. In the opinion of many environmental philosophers, the answer is not more technology or more specialists (Schumacher, 1979; Orr, 1992, 1994; Bowers, 1997). The problem of roots, home and place is soul-deep. We need a new vision and a new story in this crisis of spirit and spiritual resources, for without vision, people perish (T. Berry, as paraphrased in Orr, 1992, 4). Evernden agrees: "When the story fails, when it no longer satisfies, the anxiety of individuals will be revealed again. Environmentalism is one such.revelation of anxiety and concern over the failure of the cultural explanation" (1993, 123). What is the story that has failed? As members of a Western society, we believed that technology would solve all our problems and would create a better, smoother working, higher quality world than we could ever imagine. This would depend on individuals working hard, thinking critically, and acting independently. However, we are still faced with world crises, wars, pollution, failing economies, poverty and starvation, abuse, crime, lack of funds for social programs, and huge environmental crises and situations heading for disaster. The helping hand of technology has taken us to greater health, increased longevity, impressive mass media communication, ease of travel - but not to Utopia. Looking out for oneself as an individual, rather than as an integral part of a community, has left many of us uprooted, displaced and out of context. One way to rediscover our context is through learning to reinhabit our places again, "lovingly, knowingly, skillfully, reverently" (Berry, 1981, 281). What does it really mean to live in place? How does one actually go about living with nature anyway? How can we make any move when frozen by contemplation of the probability that any action will have some negative impact within the web since everything is connected to everything else? As Chris Young jokes in seriousness, "The very thought of it is overwhelming, especially when Suzuki says there are something like 30 million species of life on Earth. Or did he say 50 million? Who wants to learn to get along with all of that? It's enough to make you want 25  to hide in front of your TV forever" (1990, 137). However, when we learn to focus on a particular field of care, we begin to see ourselves in context in sharper focus. At this point, a sense of place appears to be very individualistic, although asking for community at the same time. This is a tension which will be addressed in the following chapter. In addition, Chapter 3 will look at some specific ways people have attempted to address the complexities of finding their focus and live in harmony with place.  26  Chapter 3: Applying Place: Living With Community & Mobility The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these questions have little to do with success as our culture • has defined it. David Orr, 1994, 12  What does it mean to be placefid?  The previous chapter stands as a testimony to my interpretation of the constellation of place and its enlightening role in understanding both ourselves and our roles as stewards/co-participants in the physical and social communities in which we live. Throughout this process, two notable tensions and implications of the conviction that the concepts around place are significant have surfaced: conflicting desires for both individualism and community, and for mobility and rootedness. These stem from the individuality and lack of mobility implied in my understanding of the expression of one's sense of place, hi order to grapple with these tensions, I must ask: what does it truly mean to be placeful, to live well in a place? A short answer is to live in awareness of one's place and thus of one's active membership in a community. If this is true, must individuals stay in one place to commit to a community, or is.there flexibility to wander from place to place and still effectively express care for a special place left behind? It seems that a simultaneous desire for mobility and roots can run at cross purposes. If a person does stay in one place, the particularities of how to participate in building a spirit of community among people largely trained to think and act as individuals is daunting. Any group of people will most likely hold divergent opinions on how best to live in a place.. How to build community successfully and sensitively and subsequently how to live in community are not always simple questions. Through a discussion of what it means to live in community, this chapter will look at the larger principle of placefulness and what it implies for community living, on a social and classroom scale. Investigating these tensions does not negate the value of what has already been written about  27  place, although my first reaction was to think so. I wanted to shove these worries back under the water in the hopes that no one else would notice them, but they persisted in surfacing. I also felt disappointed that few of the writers I was reading deal with these issues of mobility and diversity. In Ecological Literacy, for example, Orr mentions the tension between mobility and roots in fourteen lines, including: "Indeed, are rootedness and immobility synonymous?" (1992, 131). He points out the issue, but then, instead of steering us closer to get a good look at it, he comments that our nomadism occurs on a destructive scale, and closes with a two-sentence counsel that learning how to reinhabit our places will restore context to our lives. Although I agree with this recommendation, the lack of wrestling with this difficult tension between roots and mobility frustrates me as a reader and fellow inquirer. Orr (1992), Berry (1987), and Durning (1996) also describe the responsibility of community members to be good neighbours and honest citizens, but do not often discuss what to do when obstacles or conflicts get in the way. Since these questions persisted, I decided I could not ignore them and move on. In fact, naming them has actually made me more aware of the impact the constellation of place has on life and education, rather than causing me to lose ground. Discussion has become richer and more colourful, (although unfinished), not poorer or weaker. I would not claim that the concepts related to place are the only ones to inform curriculum positively; nevertheless, I believe it to be a helpful and timely exercise to reflect on the implications of place, experience, and narrative on contemporary education and society. In the second chapter of this thesis, I define place and its cognate terms as an individually experienced set of commitments, awareness, and relationships to a geographic location, which extends into, an attitude or lifestyle of care, or placefulness. What differentiates a sense of place from mere objective knowledge of place is the subjective attitude of cornmitment and care involved, an attitude which ideally informs how we live. In order to glimpse the fullness of the constellation of place-related concepts, it is important to look at the physical and relational aspects of a place as well as the actions which flow out of these relationships. According to how I understand the concept, to be placeful is an attitude of desire to be informed, aware, and ready to act on my accumulated knowledge and experience with the goal of caring for and being involved with my place or places. Up to this point, we have looked at place and placefulness mainly in the form of abstract ideas, as we communicate through the medium of text. I have presented 28  some activities which are seen as conducive to placefulness: learning about one's surroundings; caring for one's place; and actively participating in community. However, what may appear straightforward in text often becomes more complex when implemented in lived reality. When we are grounded in a place, we often realize that we are not alone in our commitment to that place or to a lifestyle that placefulness requires. In making decisions concerning where and how I live, if I act on my own, the effectiveness and/or appropriateness of the decision depends on my use, awareness and comprehension of applicable knowledge. This is a manifold process which relies on the skill of individuals to be astute and critical thinkers in the face of the partiality of knowledge. My interpretation of care and ethics concerning my physical and social communities is very much subject to my personal values and experience, which may or may not be quite different from those held by other community members. How to be placeful within a community, therefore, cannot necessarily be reduced to a simple formula.  How is placefulness related to community?  This potential for selfish individualism inherent in my understanding of place troubles me with its slant towards egocentrism and its vulnerability to conflict, with little provision for redress. Orr (1992), and other writers who call out for community, criticize individualism, or at least the kind of selfish individualism which prioritizes personal advancement and ease over communal (including the ecological) well-being. Yet because the idea of place is also individually experienced and created, it is, by necessity, individual. There are some communal aspects: commonality of language, shared family history of people and places, similar cultural definitions of art, beauty, wilderness, the urban, and so on. However, going back to Evernden's field of care, each field is still unique and individual, although it may share similar features. Part of this tension is in the vocabulary. A sense of place is formed by individuals, but is not necessarily individualistic or self-prioritizing. Care for places can also be shared, as evidenced in the example of the bioregional movement, but my sense of place is ultimately the offspring of personal experience and conviction, as experienced through culturally shared lenses. The focus of this kind of care is/very likely different from the selfish individualism Orr (1992; 1994) critiques, where inhabitants take little notice of the places where they live and focus on being consumers. Nevertheless, while a developed, '  29  individual sense of place can be more in tune with the environment, the difficulty of the independence and potential selfishness embedded within this conceptualization of place is not often addressed in. place literature. The most obvious occasion where individual ideas of how to be placeful may clash is in the arena of decision-making. One goal of place is to live in communion with a place, and in community with others who live there. What happens when many individual ideas of place are brought together in a community? Sometimes this produces cohesion, and sometimes rupture. Those who have spent time in co-operative living situations, for example, often wryly mention that communities have life-spans: at some point the original commitment comes to an end, or at least the members shift (Beers, 1992). In discussing a Kitsilano co-operative housing community where members live in pods of three to eight people, David Beers (1992) explains that some join as part of their endeavor to change the world, while others seek to find shelter from it. About two-thirds of early members have moved on, having had their share of community democracy (long and frequent meetings, for example, may dampen enthusiasm), little privacy, and co-operative work and play. Yet community life persists with newcomers. The way this thesis defines place demands respect and tolerance of other points of view concerning place. If there is a maximum point of tolerance that people reach and then need to move away, this point differs from person to person. Nevertheless, is leaving the community the only option left to address sufficiently problematic differences in opinion? Is it too difficult to live as a community when a compelling vision is not shared to the extent of willingness to sacrifice personal advancement for the betterment of the community? The idealistic vision of a safe and sustainable world is perhaps not immediate or relevant enough for many people to see beyond the immediate. However, homogeneity is a misrepresentation of cohesion and harmony. Many of us live and work in community with people who are different from ourselves, hold diverse perspectives, and have different values and worldviews. If there were no diversity or even small conflicts, I would find community life rather humdrum. There would be less learning, and less discussion. We each experience this every day. Still, the links between moving from an individual sense of place to thinking and acting as a caring community member are unclear. What is expected of community members is related to what it actually signifies to be a community. .  30  Orr (1992) explicitly wants to teach people to be "good neighbors" and "honest citizens" who think about the impact their actions have on the natural world, who. are willing to put the good of the community high on their list of priorities (over individual progress), and who are ready to change their attitude towards consumerism. Berry (1987) describes community membership in terms of a pattern of roles weaving together: a membership of parts inextricably joined and receiving significance from each other and from the whole, with each member doing his or her part. Sanders (1993) depicts his grounding in community as dwelling in the company of others in a place and discovering what is expected of its citizens by the place and by each other. Durning (1996) defines community from another angle. Community is not a thing or a body of society (a noun), but an activity that you do (a verb). He writes: Community, I am beginning to understand, is made through a skill I have never learned or valued: the ability to pass time with people you do not and will not knowwell, talking about nothing in particular, just to build trust, just to be sure of each other, just to be neighborly. A community is not something that you have, like a camcorder or a breakfast nook. No, it is something you do. And you have to do it all the time. (1996,264) I hope that I may one day know my neighbours well, but Durning's idea of community as an activity is a compelling one. A community may be so in name when the builders are finished constructing the houses or when the classroom tables are full of students, but it is really the spirit of working together, of trust, and of care that make the community. This view of community is an answer to the question of what community can be and how to function within it. Duming's idea of community is close to the idea of placefulness; it describes an attitude or perspective which informs the choices we make as we live our lives. It includes an awareness of the social communities of which we are members, but positions the emphasis on attitude and actions rather than on membership. These authors write very movingly. However, they write little on how to deal with multiple demands on time or with conflicts of goals or individual property decisions. Becoming less consumer-oriented or more locally-focused is one aspect of placefulness, but living with people, with all their rough edges and estimable qualities, is where placefulness is tested. These perspectives expect community members to be active and informed citizens, and implies that they should be involved in causes and on committees, or at least doing something tangible to help their community. But which community? School? Spiritual? Ethnic? Special interests? There is a limit to '  31  how busy we can and should allow ourselves to become. There needs to be acceptance of people who desire more privacy or solitude. My first reaction when I read Durning's (1996) words was to sit back and appreciate the clarity with which he puts his finger on the element of action in community. My idea of community is a group with whom I am involved, whom I actively care for and about, and who cares for and about me. However, I am a person who recharges by being with people. There needs to be room in a community for other kinds of people, including those who do not crave the company of others and who do not enjoy group projects. One should not assume that an individual or family who lives in relative seclusion automatically does not care about community. Placefulness must in some way reflect personality, since it is part of our identity. It is not a stamped, conventional formula. Individuals are unique; so are their understandings of place. People play different roles in a community. Some are at the forefront, heading the committees and organizing events, while others do their part in the background. What bonds people together is the spirit of community. Knowledge, awareness, and care of place are some of the ingredients of this placeful community spirit. There is also a negative and potentially paralyzing underbelly of group dynamics which leads some to view community as problematic, although the desire for the acceptance and security of a supportive community is both understandable and common (I. Young, 1990). his Young's view is that those motivated by the ideal of community "will tend to suppress differences among themselves or implicitly to exclude from their political group persons with whom they do not identify" (1990, 300). Newcomers or those who refuse to bend to the norms stand out and are often marginalized or not allowed to advance. Is it possible to have a non-exclusive community? Coming together in solidarity often leaves someone outside of the circle. Perceptions of place and self will never be so homogenous that global groups of people will agree fully on how to live placefully. Nor should they, since different places require different lifestyles and are part of unique communities. Global assimilation is not the goal. Place essentially speaks to difference, since it is personal and experiential. Perhaps it is possible to agree on fundamental principles of environmental action, goals, and justice, and then to trust individual groups to follow those guidelines to the best of their knowledge and ability, with a safety net in place for accountability. This is one reason why boards, committees and regulations are set up, with varying degrees 32  of success. For these proposals to be successful, they must stay open to change, be willing to adjust according to experience and new knowledge, and not get bogged down in bureaucracy. Is this possible? In any case, the bottom line appears to be that I do my part as diligently as possible, and trust (and encourage) others to do the same. An example of grassroots decision-making and organization that gives me hope for cohesive group action is Di Chiro's (1995) account of her experience at the multinational People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit (Washington,  DC, 1991). Through a process of consensus, the leadership summit  agreed upon seventeen organizational principles of environmental justice, written in the form of a treatise. Over 500 people participated in the event, and were able to co-author a document which they all supported. Di Chiro (1995) emphasizes that the success of this summit and of other emergent grassroots coalitions in the USA is directly related to the freedom of communities to be rooted in their own cultural histories, personal experiences, and places. This allows them to approach and understand their natural and social communities according to their own traditions. These traditions may be very different from my own. I am writing from my own.perspective, which in many ways echoes those of the white, middle class world of Orr, Berry, and Sanders. Nevertheless, that is in part why I find place so fascinating and crucial to education. The concept of place is one to which everyone can relate, no matter what the social context or community. Places are not meant to be rated: "my mountains are better than your desert or skyscraper." I may argue that mountains and open spaces are beneficial to me personally in an aesthetic sense, but I do not have the right to condemn urban dwellers. However, in terms of ecology and health, we all need green spaces. In decision-making situations where urban choices and actions affect the people and area surrounding them, such as issues surrounding acid rain, waste removal and treatment, and air quality, ecological solutions may result in legislation which curtails urban residents' freedoms. This is not a condemnation of the people themselves, but establishes necessary demands and limits on their actions. The concept of place critiques how individuals and communities live, not where. Sharing stories of placefulness from other places is the beginning of the process to attempt to understand viewpoints different from my own.  33  How is placefulness related to the classroom community?  Another version of community is the classroom. Individuality and independence similarly offer challenges in this context. Every day, educators interact with groups of individuals and are expected to form some sort of community among them. In simple terms, educational theory often views the classroom as a community: a group of people who have come together in a particular place or places for learning, interaction, escape, mobility, and a variety of other reasons. Learners are also members of broader communities defined by characteristics such as language; race or socioeconomic status; place of employment; or activities pursued. Many educators also.agree that the educational system is to play a key role in nurturing clear thinkers who are able to reason and make informed choices (Cox & Cairns, 1989; Hare, 1992; Noddings, 1993; Wamock, 1996). I would not assume that every adult has spent an equal amount of time in reflection on his or her particular value system, nor that they were encouraged in a school situation to do so. However, the amount of reflection a person has done concerning a value or belief does not necessarily affect the level of conviction with which it is held. My role as an ESL adult educator includes encouraging learners to reflect on the values and beliefs they hold, and to set an example by doing so myself. According to Halstead (1996), values are principles and standards which act as general guides to behaviour, points of reference in decision-making, or a means to evaluate beliefs or actions. As guides and points of reference, they are commitments closely tied to personal integrity and identity, acting both implicitly and explicitly. This depth of personal investment is exactly what makes conversations concerning values controversial and potentially hurtful. For example, the level and demonstration of care for objects, land, people, animals, community, trade and global issues flow out of the value people place on them. Most people have a conscious or unconscious hierarchy of priorities of who or what is important to them. We are also often adamant that our personal hierarchy is the best. I personally prioritize open spaces, an abundance of trees, and parks or empty lots in my neighbourhood. The builder who wants to put 24 townhouses and three apartment buildings on the same empty lot prioritizes profits, jobs, and the provision of housing. How, then, do we participate in open and respectful conversations which go beyond the superficial •  '  34  on such controversial issues as values? Is not an educator always open to accusations of bias? In many respects, these questions can be answered according to general principles of teaching and interviewing. Of course educators can address difficult issues in the classroom. Such discussion must be open, careful not to belittle, and encouraging of a sense of community, care and respect (Warnock, 1996). Fraenkel (1977) advocates the presentation of contradictory views in order to make learners aware of differing perspectives and to invite critical analysis of each view. Nell Noddings (1993) underlines the importance of teacher neutrality in discussing such questions (in her case, particularly questions of religion). In presenting a controversial value for discussion, educators are responsible to present a spectrum of views, which may include one's own. Discussions around experiences of place, the placefulness of decisions, and definitions of place often revolve deeply embedded values and beliefs. Nevertheless, Hare (1992) warns against overdoing neutrality. If values are presented in an excessively neutral manner, participants could come away from the discussion convinced that any opinion on the matter is acceptable, when some may actually be problematic. Being careful not to influence the students overly and being aware of one's lenses as a teacher is important. However, being supportive and fair is not the same as purposefully staying on the surface in order to avoid difficult or complex conversations, which may result in relatively superficial discussion and understanding of the issue (Hare, 1992). We should not be afraid to dig deeper and talk about the reasons why a belief is upheld, how it connects to other aspects of life, and what is positive as well as problematic about it, as far as classroom will allow relationships. If all views were equally moral, healthy and logical, then the issue would not be important to debate. Making moral judgments is part of how we approach life. Still, on the whole, it is possible to respect someone and still disagree with him or her. It is the way in which the discussion of the conviction is handled which is more important. This balance may be more difficult to retain in a class situation due to the inevitable power differential between teacher and students, however faintly the line is drawn. And yet, this kind of debate ties back to my original hope for adult education as a forum in which participants learn or hone their critical skills of reasoning and reflection. It is equally important to include the heart, the home of faith and emotions. Without faith, belief systems are merely skeletons of logic. If  35  reduced to such a state, the conversation rests solely on the quality of the argument and the skill of the debater.  Placefulness and Decision-making  •  '•  Broadening the question of conflict resolution to include social and educational communities, it is to be expected that the daily enactment of roles and values may not always be smooth. Although I say I wish to respect others' places and the decisions owners make concerning their places, how do I do so if and when the value system through which they make these decisions is in direct opposition with mine? The way place and placefulness have been defined, there is only room for respect and compromise — which leaves the door open for frustration when compromise seems akin to betrayal of place. It implicitly trusts individuals to care for the "right" things in the "right" way. The issue of the best use of the University Endowment Lands (UEL) at the University of British Columbia is a good example of this kind of conflict. In 1989, 809 hectares of the UEL were redesignated a regional park, Pacific Spirit Regional Park. The objectives behind this decision were aesthetics, education, recreation (Wege, 1985). Gabrielle Kahrer (1991), in her overview of the park's history, specifically mentions the preservation and conservation of the environment, particularly fragile and recovering ecosystems in the park, such as the Camosun Bog. Pacific Spirit Park is made up of three main types of forest, as well as bog, and has approximately 65 km of official trails for biking, horseback riding and walking trails in certain areas. I and many others believe in 1  the importance of protecting green spaces and diverse and sensitive ecosystems, such as the bog area. The forest is a home to many creatures, a place where domestic animals can run free, and is a provider of oxygen for all around. The UEL also benefit people by providing a place of retreat, pleasure, recreation, and connection to nature that is already quite minimal in an urban lifestyle. However, other people believe equally strongly in the importance of access to education and to building an academic community. UBC is running out of space for residents; the wait-list for family housing, for example, is up to two years long.  Certain areas of the forest are off limits for park users in the interests of protecting the fragility of the bog and of watching unmanaged forest in order to see the differences management makes. Camosun Bog is open to access, but monitoring and restoration of the bog are underway (Pacific Spirit Park Society, 1998). 1  36  These advocates envision a community of residences on a large percentage of the UEL, an opportunity to build a caring, self-contained village community along the model of a European village. My own opinion is that the more respectful decision considers the uniqueness of ecosystems which take decades or more to be rebuilt if obliterated. Housing, on the other hand, is more mobile, although more financially beneficial to the university. However, the value of emotional well-being and cleaner air from green spaces is, in my opinion, unquantifiable and infinitely precious. Now that the area has been declared a park, this disagreement is less volatile. However, the point is that both sides sincerely believe they are proceeding out of care and commitment for the area. How does one decide whose care is more valid? Who decides? There are a multitude of factors to take into account to decide this, more so than we are aware. One partial solution is to do our homework diligently and bring as many opinions and as much knowledge to the decision table as possible. Still, sometimes a limited time frame and finite knowledge makes this process incomplete. The amount of energy it takes to face the bureaucracy involved in the decisionmaking process is also a barrier against involvement. Finally, even if the research process is followed through, there is no guarantee that a consensus will be reached. At some point, the pressure of numbers (in terms of economics and of votes, if the decision is put to a vote) will persevere. In a democracy, the power to seek to influence and persuade is part of the freedom of speech we enjoy. In the end, however, we submit matters to scrutiny and approval by a majority vote. This process is not foolproof. For example, in some cases when environmentalists and industrialists are at odds over the development of a resource, the decision often comes down to a practical, objective comparison of numbers (job, profit, etc.). It is often impossible to reduce the intrinsic value of the natural world to a monetary value; when environmentalists are forced to do so, it often weakens their argument, for all the opposition needs to do to deflate the argument is produce a more economically pleasing figure. The importance of knowledge and awareness of place through education is thus even more crucial in order to increase the occurrence of informed decisions, particularly in the area of development. A community which has learned to work together and has put effort into trust-building and interdependence will be more likely to depend on this kind of trust system. This discussion also asks the question whether certain individuals' visions of care, or placefulness, 37  carry more weight than others'. If, as I have claimed, knowing where one lives helps knowing how to live there (i.e., in a placeful manner), then one could surmise that those who have an area longest have the most knowledge, and, therefore, the most ability to be placeful. This is not necessarily so. It is possible to live in a place a long time or even be native to a place and not live placefully, or not know much about the details of the ecosystem. There is some knowledge that a long-time resident will have that a relative newcomer will not, such as the natural, social and meteorological history of a place. But residence is not enough to guarantee a desire to learn about the best ways to make ecologically-sound decisions. For example, decisions can be made based on social tradition, rather than on ecological knowledge. I think it is fair to say that many long-time residents in many cases care deeply about their place. Whether or not they are appropriately informed or aware of the intricacies of their place or the effects of their lifestyle on their place, however, is another, although related, question. For example, it is possible for an outsider expert to arrive in a place and be able to give effective advice to the locals, as long as he or she takes the time to understand and research the factors at play in that particular situation. To do that, the locals and relative newcomers have to work together and share their knowledge. At the same time, listening to local people, instead of applying outside advice blindly or haphazardly from one situation to the next, is an important part of the process. The agricultural situation in Nepal is an interesting example of a situation where outsiders and locals worked together to mutual benefit. The Himalayas in Nepal have seen farmers till their slopes according to the same methods for generations. The Nepalese have developed an elaborate system of terracing that enables them to farm even the steepest slopes. They keep cattle and use the dung as fertilizer, knowing that such measures are needed to keep the soil fertile. However, due to an increase in population, these methods are no longer effective. To keep the balance between human needs and physical resources, a family needs to have one cow or buffalo per person and four times as much land set aside for forest as land designated for growing crops (BC Ministry of Education, 1987). Since the human population has been doubling every generation, there are too many mouths to feed, too many animals, too much grazing, too much deforestation, and too much erosion. The land is overgrazed, leaving the earth open to the rain. Families have had to resort to cutting down trees at alarming rates in order to heat their 38  homes and cook, as wood is the only fuel available. Every time the monsoon rains come, whole farms and even villages disappear as the terraces break off and slide down the slope in a flurry of mud. The old ways are no longer fruitful. The government reacted in 1956 by cordoning off the remaining forests with barbed wire and patrolling them to keep people out, which only resulted in an increased crime rate, as people were desperate for wood (BC Ministry of Education, 1987). In.fact, it seems that taking responsibility for the . forest away from local responsibility resulted in an increase of abuse. The first tree plantation project was started in 1973 by a District Forestry Officer, Taj Mahat, who had a vision of the difference renewed forest land could make. However, it took outside training and experts, namely those of the Nepal-Australia Forestry Project, to bring the outside expertise, supplies, and finances into Nepal to make the tree-farming projects a stable and lasting enterprise. Mahat's idea was to work in conjunction with village elders and have villagers keep the animals out of the plantations, instead of expensive and hard to find barbed wire. In return for this labour, villagers can harvest grass for their cattle and leave the trees to grow, a kind of selectivity which one cannot trust to cattle. This kept the cattle close to home, and it was discovered that when fed in the stall, cattle will eat greens they would not favour in the field. Under this arrangement, trees are supplied and kept healthy, cattle are fed, fields are selectively grazed, and dung is kept on the farm to be returned to the farmland. Three years after the start of the project, hundreds of small tree farms were in operation. The key was to work with the locals, rather than against them, in community forestry. The locals shared their knowledge of the weather, their cattle and the soil, while the outsiders provided their biological expertise and resources. Another factor of success was that no chemicals or hormones were used in awareness of the poverty of the Nepalese, as well as the ecology, so that when the project workers left, the Nepalese could continue. In this case, the local knowledge of place included awareness of the problem but was insufficient to address it, due to constraints of resources (particularly financial) and power.  2  In 1987, when Vanishing Earth was made, the program had enjoyed three years of success. In the first area where the program was implemented, three times as many trees were planted than were harvested. However, the government was still unsure whether the program merited funding.  2  39  The example of the Nepalese is an interesting one because it forces us to reflect on what care really means. The farmers were very concerned about the disappearance and devaluation of their land, along with their ability to survive. Still, they did not see or did not have the resources to stop cutting down the trees and plant more. They may have cared about the trees and may have foreseen the problem of a tree shortage, but the more pressing need was to have a fire in order to heat their home and feed their family. The animals have to eat; if they starve, the family starves. Being placeful does not allow us to avoid making difficult choices, some of which may end up being detrimental to our place. In a North American context, my choices appear less urgent in the short term and seem to have less impact on my immediate surroundings; yet they can have devastating effects in the long run when viewed cumulatively with many other people's. This is partly due to our culture largely being removed from agricultural and natural/ecological processes that affect the quality of things such as diet and quality of air. The decision with regards to the development of Burns Bog in Delta, for example, may not appear overly important in immediate terms. But when we learn that the bog, in its capacity to convert C02 into 02 at a rate much higher than trees (Burns Bog Conservation Society, 1999), it becomes clear that shutting down this naturally-occurring phenomenon may have deadly long-term effects. Lois Jackson (1999), a Delta Municipality Council representative, claims that Burns Bog is the main reason that nearby Vancouver is a carbon neutral city, an unusual state for a city of its size. The issue of the bog has become political, the. nature of many environmental issues. Again, this leaves us with little other choice than to learn as much as we can, and leave the rest to activism, trust, and democratic vote. I am not entirely happy with this system, but with so many individuals, communities and issues on the playing field, I see little other choice.  Sept. 14, 1999 Labour Day came and went, and I didn't get to the PNE once again. I really wanted to go — / love the crazy atmosphere of people and giddiness ... where else are you allowed to enjoy smash-up derby? :) I hear they have begun setting up 'the green space' which will become part of the park system that's causing the controversy over the PNE site: the plan to turn the site back into the ecosystem it was. In theory, this seems a good idea. But the PNE has to go somewhere, or be shut down completely,, which doesn 't seem likely. I still can't believe they want to put it on Burns Bog. It just seems ludicrous and ironic to green over a cement space and cement a green space instead, maybe it was a bad decision how ever many years ago to construct the PNE on its current site, which included a salmon river, but it's done. It will take years to get it back to its original state, if that's even possible. It's not an easy matter of turning back the clock after all those years of use, oil, etc. Maybe whoever had the idea concerning Burns Bog as a future site thought it was far enough out, no one would notice, no one really cared. I'm sure they aren't too happy 40  over the controversy that has raged on. Probably shocked at the backlash: The Delta Municipality wants to buy the bog, so they don't have to keep defending it from development projects that rear their heads every few years ... why the company ( a cement place?) didn't sell to them mystifies me. This whole situation really hits me as an example of how political causes become. Who can tell if politicians are really for the bog, or for votes? Is the Delta municipality's concern for the bog a temporary one since its citizens are currently environmentally conscious? If the bog is saved, maybe it doesn't matter. It's just so frustrating sometimes. Truth doesn't win out; money, or votes, or pressure does.  Placefulness and Mobility  This discussion of placefulness and community brings us to the issue of roots and mobility. As a committed and caring community member, can I be placeful and on the move at the same time? There is an implicit morality in my working definition of placefulness that says rootedness is better, more valuable, and less harmful to the environment than moving from community to community and place to place. It also demands knowledge, which takes time to accumulate. From an ecological standpoint, traveling is in many ways abusive to the environment. Trains, planes, and cars pollute the atmosphere; even travelers who move on foot and pick up as much as possible behind themselves leave traces of their presence. On the other hand, placefulness is an attitude that can travel with a person. The arrival of an environmentallyconscious and knowledgeable person can be a real asset to a community and a rich opportunity for everyone (including the arrivee) to share and leam from each other. It is also an attitude that can grow. Plumwood (1991) talks about how general care for the world more easily comes into being when it sprouts from care for a particular place, or tree, or river. Michael's fictional character, Athos, says the same as he leaves Greece to emigrate to Canada: Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you leam to love one place, sometimes you can also leam to love another. "(1996,82) My love for the mountains and ocean can open doors to learning about that particular coastal ecosystem, which can then grow into a more general appreciation of ecosystems and biotic relationships as I travel. Still, in my dark moments, I fear that I am only promoting the idea that I can be placeful and mobile so that I can continue in a lifestyle I love. I grow itchy feet after a year in one place, and yearn to travel — long enough to feel I am truly away and immersed in another place. This is in part a way of dealing with the stress of local responsibilities and the demands of relationships. When I travel, I act 41  according to my own agenda. It is also a satiation of my curiosity to learn about other places, people, languages and traditions. Am I thus working against community? Or is it only human, and even healthy, to step out of our responsibilities (temporarily) and refresh ourselves? It may be so. But at times I feel a sense of guilt that my place does not satisfy me. Much of the North American place literature I have read speaks only of the satisfaction and wholeness the writers find in place. It is very pastoral writing, singing the praises of staying put, usually in a rural setting. However, it seems obvious that many kinds of relationships and experiences, including travel to other places, are desirable. Perhaps some people are born wanderers, while others love to stay at home. Others may use mobility as an expression of freedom, or as a coping mechanism.  "  My chief concern is that my wandering detracts from the effectiveness and sincerity of my feelings of placefulness in that I cannot be the involved, dependable, community member I somehow feel I should and in many ways want to be. I also fear that my ignorance of the places in which I wander may subtly result in unintended harm. I can make an effort to leave as small an ecological footprint behind me as possible, but.I will not be as much a part of a community as if I stayed put. Perhaps I can compromise by having a home place and leaving it now and again, but coming home to pick up my responsibilities, rather than constantly starting over somewhere else. In many ways, I am able to indulge my desire to travel because I have strong roots, both in terms of my sense of place firmly embedded in the west coast of B.C. and in my family ties there. The permanence of my parents allows me to have a permanent address, calling card, someone on site in case of need, and many other little things that aid me in my travels. Further, knowing that I have stability in my family being rooted in a place gives me a psychological and emotional sense of security which allows me to explore. It is easier and safer for me to explore when I know home is waiting. I realize that I am privileged to have this kind of security and protection. Not all travelers do, and some may not want it. Age is also part of my freedom now; as my responsibilities to career or family grow, the desire or necessity of staying put may change. I should note that most of the writers quoted here are a decade or two ahead of me in age. Nevertheless, the attitude of placefulness can accompany me wherever I go. Snyder is one writer who addresses the difficulty of mobility and place: Still - and this is very important to remember - being inhabitory, being place-based, has never 42  meant that one didn't travel from time to time, going on trading ventures or taking livestock to summer grazing. Such working wanderers have always known they had a home-base on earth, and could prove it at any campfire or party by singing their own songs. (1990, 26) He reminds us that it is acceptable to be absent from one's place and to travel where need demands. Our places are carried with us wherever we go. Snyder calls us to be aware of that presence, and to share stories as we travel, thus sharing our places and sharing ourselves. He bases this morality on an indigenous family-farm model. I extend this to traveling for pleasure, curiosity or refreshment as well. This kind of journey is invigorating, enlightening, and encouraging to oneself and to others. I should not be tied to a place out of guilt; placefulness is bigger than a focus on one particular place. I have a home, and will tell stories of it and ground myself in it, even in the face of those who may see me as rootless and restless. Furthermore, the decision to be mobile is often made from a position of prosperity or desperation. Those who are able to pick up and move for pleasurable goals are usually those who have the resources to do so unless the situation is so desperate that some make the decision to leave with nothing, or are migratory workers and nomadic peoples. Sanders, Orr and Berry write from the perspective of white men' with secure jobs and property. They may have struggled to get to that position, but it is clear that none of them live in a particularly poor or inner city neighbourhood. Berry (1987) writes about the value of smallscale farming using traditional methods, but has a professorship and a speaking/writing career that supplements his income. Other farmers who value his beliefs may not have the same kind of safety net. This makes their decisions much more risky. When Sanders addresses the importance of choosing a home, staying put, and learning how to live well there, those who have had little choice where to make their home (and may be in a violent or poor area) may feel they are constrained to a home they would prefer to leave behind. Although Sanders was forced to leave the homes of his childhood due to outside development, he appears to have the resources to choose freely where he would like to establish a home. Other people do not have this luxury. If a person wants to leave a bad or violent neighbourhood or one full of difficult memories, even though it is home, should he or she stay put? How does placefulness fit for someone who does not care for their home, particularly when he or she cannot leave it? In "Leave if you can," Henry Paige (1996) talks about what it is like when home is not a positive  43  or attractive place, but hard, lonely, unprofitable, and in many ways, unhappy and unhealthy. This use of 3  terminology refers to place as the location where you are, rather than the relationship of care of a sense of place. Town members do not leave for a variety of reasons. Those in Paige's (1996) essay stay out of fear, duty, lack of resources, responsibility, and a certain comfort in familiar status or position. Paige writes, "Home is not a place only, but a condition of the heart... an ache or a warmth; a sound or an echo; a dream or a nightmare" (1996, 12). As I wrote earlier, we can in some ways choose what is part of our sense of place. Perhaps in some cases the choice is made for us. Place is a dynamic idea: we can never truly own our place, but need to realize that the lines of place are constructed creations which may disappear, shrink, or expand over time (Paige, 1996). It seems trite to encourage people to make the most of a difficult situation and find some positive aspect or connection to home where they are. And yet, this is what may, and often does, happen. In Paige's words, "And roots will burrow out the nourishment in almost anything if given time. In rock or sand or even concrete. A flower will usually find the crack in the sidewalk" (1996,12). A sense of place is a route to that nourishment.  And the place's point of view?  Throughout this work, I have spoken of a place as a locale which receives care and attention. This approach portrays the place as a silent, passive recipient of care. I have also referred to relationships, but have" not explicitly stated how the place acts out its side of the relationship. Most people usually envision relationship as a two-way experience. Perhaps the place affects us as much as we affect it. Certainly I come away from a hike in the woods refreshed and renewed by crossing paths with creatures and living organisms which awe me in their majesty, complexity, and simplicity of being. These times in my places put other details in my life into perspective. I cannot say that the forest appreciates me as much or in the same way as I appreciate it; I have more of an impression that.I pass unnoticed as a fleeting and inconsequential visitor. However, having grown up immersed in stories of OS. Lewis' tree dryads and J.R.R. Tolkien's Ents (old, wise, tree shepherds who look and act remarkably like trees), a place as an 4  3  4  Paige's example is a small, isolated, dusty, dying, Mexican/American town. This is in reference to C S . Lewis' Narnia series, & J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. 44  intelligent entity strikes me as a possibility. - If so, the intelligence is not like ours, focused on spoken and written language and creativity. In writing about mountains, Lawrence Kushner pictures it this way: The memories of a place become a part of it. Places and things never forget what they have been witness to and vehicles or and entrances for. What has happened there happened nowhere else. Like ghosts who can neither forget what they have seen nor leave the place where they saw it, such are the memories tied to places of ascent. (1977,54) It is difficult to step away from looking at our relationships with place from a human perspective. We can never know what a place looks like from the other side; the view from the place itself remains outside of human language. I struggle to articulate what I mean by relationship with a place, or with aspects of place. When I say I feel communion with a tree, what role does the tree play in that relationship? Is it aware or affected by the relationship? I only know that whatever the agency of the place in my relationship to it, I need to recognize or appreciate the spirit of a place on some level. As Snyder (1990) writes, both the spirit and knowledge of a place, however interpreted, have to be part of my understanding and appreciation of place. The power of the spirit of place is, I think, often felt, but not often expressed in such terms. I was at first put off by the term "spirit," feeling that it grants more personhood and spirituality to the natural world than I am comfortable giving. There is considerable disagreement over whether animate and inanimate objects have spirits — or souls, or can communicate or feel. Naming something "the spirit of a place" also is limiting in that it intimates there is one spirit to be known, certain ways to know it, and once found, is the true and only knowable spirit. This kind of extrapolation is not, I believe, what I intend to imply. By "the spirit of a place," I mean to refer to a feeling of communion that I sometimes feel when in a particular place or kind of place, a feeling of serenity and belonging where I can almost feel the heartbeat of the place, or a buzz of communication amongst itself, just beyond my hearing. I am aware that this feeling may be my projection upon the place; the metaphors and images I use are my chosen representations. Nevertheless, the experience is still tangible; it just gets lost in the translation into language sometimes. I do not know how the place views or experiences me, but, working within the constraints of words, needed to put a name to it. Sharon Butala's book, The Perfection of the Morning: An Apprenticeship in Nature (1994), is a  45  novel-lorig wrestling with how to put the feelings and importance of place into words. She moved me with her explicit expression of the felt power and presence of place, and the length and intensity of her journey to learn to understand its language and be accepted into its presence. I long to be able to write along these lines, deeply evocative of majesty and wonder of place. However, Butala's writing is the fruit of years of living in the Prairie, struggling to understand it and the relationship between herself, the land, and the historic, human, and animal communities there. Butala wonders whether a place has feeling or memory, and then goes on to explore how often we keep these thoughts to ourselves out of fear of looking foolish or thought crazy. She muses, We use words like "awareness," perception," "sense," or "intuition," or a "sixth sense." They are as close as our language, as far as I know, allows us to come to describe the way in which we apprehend experience that is out of the realm of the ordinary. None of these words seem quite sufficient. And as for describing the quality of the experience, its texture, color and the accompanying emotion, the way it permeates our being and floods us with new knowledge/awareness/perception, it seems to be impossible to find the right words and a way to structure them that will make our listeners believe us. (1994,65) It seems to me that the experience of the spirit of a place is one kind of knowledge; an understanding of the ecology and geography and history of a place are related kinds of knowledge. In my emphasis on knowledge, all of these areas of knowledge are important for wholeness. The wide variety and availability of unit plans and programs around factual or scientific knowledge show that some realms of knowledge are more accessible and perhaps more safe. Controversial, maybe, but one can still keep the self at arm's length behind facts and arguments. My insertion of some autobiography is an attempt to reveal myself and my biases as another personal example of the interplay between ecological facts, experiences and awareness of place, and placeful living. March 28, 1999 Reading Sharon Butala's book, I was moved by the way she expresses what I can only think of as the soul of the prairie. It also impresses me how many years it took her to reach that expression. I appreciate that she shares the struggle it was and still is, but also the joy that comes from listening, paying attention, to being open to what the land is saying, who the land is. Maybe I throw the work !relationship' around too lightly. To be in relationship with the land is to have the land shape you, how you live, how you worship, how you make decisions, how you view time. I am not at that place (that word!) yet. I am not fully immersed in my place. There are so many other distractions, walls which shield me from really being in my place. / put down Butala and am filled with a sort of haze or hue that this kind of oneness with place or recognition of the voice of place is within my reach, that I can write like that... and then I pick up my pen, and the moment is gone/the haze lifts ... I yearn for this kind of connection, this felt relationship. How to reach it? Have to be in the kind of isolation/no or few walls between me and nature to be in that space? Is 46  thai why (or at least partly why) much of place writing is rural or pastoral? Because city life is so full of distractions and background noise (literally and figuratively)? So how can I be in place here? At least am open to place? But not as in tune as if I could hear/sense/feel nature more? (thought on the way home: I yearn for Butala's kind of connection.. Not everyone does. Remember Tom this morning — would like to live on floor 33. I can't say everyone has to want the relationship / do. But placefulness, awareness — yes. We all should have to live in a thoughtful, aware, informed way (morality again!). But there are different extremes or levels of depth? of application? of place.)  These are tensions which arise for me around discussions of place and what it means to be placeful, concepts I believe in but which make such demands of me that I am at times overwhelmed. It is helpful to look at place and my embodiment of placefulness as a growing process with layers or stages to it. As C. Young (1990) and Berry (1983) write, we have but finite minds that can be overwhelmed by the vastness of the task of caring for each and every species and addressing each and every global environmental problem that exists. My strategy will be to begin with the local, and work outwards towards the global, believing all the while that we can, and do, make a difference.  47  Chapter 4: Specific Place Literatures  Pull down thy vanity, it is not man Made courage, or made order, or made grace, Pull down thy vanity, I say pull down. Learn of the green world what can be thy place ln scaled invention or true artistry. Ezra Pound, Cantos LXXXI, 43 - 47  There are many who write along the themes of place from widely varied disciplines and theoretical points of view. Following on the heels of my discussion of what it means to be placeful, in this chapter I will present a brief overview of four bodies of literature that have also suggested spiritual and ethical perspectives concerning how to live well in a place: bioregionalism, ecofeminism, First Nations worldviews, and Christianity. Although there are other discourses concerning placeful living, these four are an introduction to Western attitudes which have wrestled with the practicalities of placeful living. I include them as a continuation of an answer to how place can be applied in everyday life. This discussion is of necessity oversimplified, and I urge the reader to accept this synopsis strictly as an introduction and to seek out supporting resources as desired.  I. Bioregionalism  For the primary defining factor of a bioregional culture will be the understanding that individuals, and larger associations of humans, must evolve an acute understanding of the nuance and supporting capability of place. This understanding, or rediscovery, of what was the standard way of human life for thousands of years affirms the power of the bioregional vision — it is not a new invention, but a memory that has only been briefly tranquilized. Doug Aberley, 1993, 14  The term bioregion signifies what its roots imply: a region (region) of life (bio). Michael Cansuccinctly summarizes bioregionalism as follows: "In simple terms, the bioregional movement is inspired by and organized around the concept of local community, complemented by broader efforts at regional and inter-regional networking in both rural and urban environments" (1999, 99). Bioregionalists propose the 48  division of land into areas delineated along lines of biophysical and cultural continuities (Aberley, 1997). Such geographic regions are often identifiable due to obvious physical connections and borders such as watersheds. However, North America's current political divisions ignore the ecological territories which bioregionalism embraces. Instead of ecologically arbitrary borders and distant governance, bioregionalism calls for a reinhabitation of the land: the creation of adaptive cultures which grow out of the unique characteristics of climate, soils, land forms and native plants and animals of a particular region (Berg, 1990a). Solutions, goods, politics, resources, wisdom, and decision-making grow from within the place itself (Sale, 1985; Berg, 1990b). The following pages will look at the history, concepts and aims of the bioregional movement in order to understand it more fully and critique its weaknesses and strengths. Some bioregional philosophy is rooted in an underlying belief in Gaea (or Gaia), the Greek term for the earth mother, the creator of the creators. The Greeks believed that the earth is an organism in itself, as Plato says: "a living creature, one and visible, containing within itself all living creatures" (cited in Sale, 1985, 3). The name still appears in the root of words such as geography and geology. The natural world and all its features were considered to have spirit and sensibility. Although earth-worship diminished over time due to the influence of what is often seen as a male monotheism introduced by the Indo-Europeans, the idea of an enchanted world endured in dominant culture until the Scientific Revolution (Sale, 1985). The cosmos was a place of belonging and participation, rather than distanced observation (Berman, cited in Sale, 1985).  Bioregional Themes  The main theme underlying bioregional thought revolves around a close relationship between the land and those who live whhin it: Dwellers in the Land (1985), to borrow the title of Kirkpatrick Sale's seminal book'on bioregionalism. Dwelling implies a deeper relationship than living. When individuals dwell in the land, they are rooted in the place itself and are grounded in the history, of the region. The vision.for a particular bioregion must conform to. the particularities of the place and grow out of its characteristics, needs, and personality. Bioregional plans must be practical and realistic, not dependent on, in Sale's words, "extraordinary technological or psychological wrenchings" (1985, 136). To make explicit 49  what this means for a community, Sale examines four critical areas of a bioregion: scale, society, polity and economy.  Scale  Scale is an important concept relative to bioregionalism. The goal of bioregional planning is to have political divisions respect naturally and/or culturally occurring regions. Scale thus becomes part of a moral consideration of environmentally-conscious living. With global concerns in mind, individuals should be aware of the needs and characteristics of the bioregion in which they live. Each bioregion, with its particular biophysical and geographic make-up and personality, gives clues as to what environmentally aware living may look like for its particular territory. The role of the rational community members (i.e. humans) is to take the time to read these clues and to negotiate with integrity between potentially conflicting ideas for the greatest good of the bioregion. This kind of clarity of vision asks for a sensitivity to and knowledge of the life-forms supported by the area. An understanding of who and what lives and grows in a region is the first step to understanding the region. Although determining regional lines may at first appear to be a daunting task, many bioregional writers and proponents describe how boundaries fall into place as participants discuss the limits of what they consider their bioregion (Mollison, 1990; Aberley, 1993; McRae, 1998). The scale of a bioregion is determined by the natural systems and ecological carrying capacity of the area. Watersheds are perhaps the most accessible example. A watershed has natural boundaries determined by river systems and resultant vegetation, soil, and animal species. This is the most common example given to explain the term bioregion (Sale, 1985; Berg, 1990a; Aberley, 1993). Since bioregions are determined by both geographic and cultural boundaries, the term bioregion is also sometimes used to emphasize a group of communities and neighbourhoods (Marshall, 1990). Peter Berg (1990a) brings biophysical and cultural boundaries together in his delineation of four zones within every bioregion: cities, suburbs, rural area, and wilderness. Each zone plays a role within the bioregion as a whole. These more natural bioregions become the basis for a reorganized societal structure.  50  Society  Society is the second critical aspect of a bioregion. Within a bioregion lives a community of people as well as a variety of other life-forms. The human population may be spread throughout a bioregion or concentrated in major towns or cities. Either way, community members must share the responsibility for decision-making and accountable living. One of the main goals for. bioregionalists is to make individuals aware of the framework of relationships and systems upholding their bioregion. Members of a community are responsible to learn the terrain around them and subsequently to tell the story to others so that they too can be aware of the specific characteristics of topography and ecology of their bioregion (Snyder, 1990). This type of cooperation and mutual respect should overflow into interactions with other humans living in the community as well. Ideally, society must leam to work together in cooperation and mutual respect, allowing for diversity of culture and opinions (Mollison, 1990). This can be an easier task when the community is small. Some bioregionalists, such as Sale (1985) and Bill Mollison (1990), recommend that the optimal community consists of 500 - 1000 people, with 7,000 40,000 in the bioregion as a whole. If this were so, everyone in the community would be at least aware of who the other members are and would be able to act more as a unified community. However, this is often not possible or even desirable to many people. It may take more effort to come together as a community in a highly populated or urban area, but the challenge to do so remains.  Polity  The third focus of the bioregional model is politics. The bioregional themes of community sharing, cooperation, and responsibility also set the goals of government in the bioregional model. The more natural divisions of bioregions would form the basis for a reorganized government structure. These regions would govern themselves instead of being dependent on decisions from afar made by people unfamiliar with the area in question. Decentralization also calls for community decision-making where everyone has a direct voice, rather than only through elected representatives. Mollison (1990) calls for a bioregional association made up of all the bioregion's residents. An association would be set up as a regional office, coordinating the services and resources of the community and acting as a contact center to 51  other regions. Mollison (1990) envisions a consulting and coordinating teamof four to six people with connections to other associations dealing with specific areas such as food, shelter, energy and resources, and finance. The politics for the area must grow out of the reality of the life of that specific place. Berg (1990b) calls this kind of interactive, shared involvement a socialshed (136), or a group of individuals who identify with a particular place and who look for ways to interact positively with the web of life around them. Several of these socialsheds working together on different projects can join together to form a council and claim representation for the region in which they are living. Councils working together will eventually form a bioregional congress, an idea which has already materialized in parts of North America (Berg, 1990b). Banding together increases the strength and volume of voice, as it is a struggle to be heard in competition with the traditional arbitrary and historical governments officially in place (provincial, state, national, etc.). Bioregionalists do have a long road ahead of them to prove a new system as a worthy and viable alternative to the present system. People may not easily trust a "new" pattern of power, or may fear that shifting support may end up splitting a current majority government. Nevertheless, Mollison (1990) argues the aspect of common sense in the shift to have local people make local decisions. Although such a shift may appear radical, a change needs to take place since existing governments have not proven themselves to be genuinely supportive of sustainability. According to Berg, existing government has failed to listen to local problems and difficulties and has, therefore, "forfeited defense of life-places to the people who live in them" (1990b, 140). Bioregionalists see little choice but to choose to be represented by those who care and are concerned: the local inhabitants.  Economy  The fourth critical focus of bioregionalism is the economy. The self-sufficiency of local inhabitants spills over into the economic goals of bioregionalism. The eventual aim is for the inhabitants of a bioregion to restore natural systems to a level where they can satisfy basic human needs and develop support for those living within its borders (Berg, 1990b). Communities need to assess the natural, technological, service and financial resources of the region and identify areas where resources, including money and talent, leave the region (Mollison, 1990). Once a region is aware of where it is not self52  supporting or where it is not using its resources to the fullest capacity,-steps can be made to remedy the "leaks." Bioregionalists appear to put great stock in human produce what is needed out of what is naturally available (Mollison, 1990). Concentrating on the particularities of a bioregion also draws attention to characteristics or life-forms which may have been previously, overlooked or taken for granted. Diversity is to be celebrated and explored as a more trustworthy and creative option than a potentially dangerous dependence on a single industry or crop. In this way, communities should be able to customize region-based systems of supply and provide for themselves (Aberley, 1997). When a bioregion simply cannot provide a particular resource or life-form (a basic example: peaches will not grow naturally in the Queen Charlotte Islands), trade is possible. Every bioregion will have something it can trade. Trade is an opportunity to create connections between bioregions (Berg, 1990b). Sale (1985) is particularly adamant about the conditions of trade: it must be within strict limits and be non-monetary, non-dependent, and non-injurious to the environment. His viewpoint, however, is particularly narrow. Many bioregionalists choose to promote local economy but welcome market connections between bioregions for products and services not locally available. A diminishment of global trade also lessens the possibility for communities to enjoy products not native to the bioregion. Bioregional economics do expect a decrease in consumerism. The ultimate goal is to create an economy that depends on a minimum number of goods bought and a minimum-amount of environmental disruption in comparison to a maximum use of renewable resources, human labour and ingenuity within the region (Sale, 1985). This kind of economics does not necessarily push towards growth, but sustainability. This is certainly in contrast to the growth economics of our society today. Bigger is generally considered better in a technologically-oriented industrial world. Bioregionalists urge society to reconsider the benefits of being content with sufficiency and sustainability.  Concerns  The bioregional movement advocates many values which I wholeheartedly uphold: care and concern for the environment, appreciation and celebration of the specific characteristics and personalities of different places, and the respect and awareness inherent in such a paradigm. I wish to be part of a •  :  "  53  community which appreciates its strengths and recognizes its weaknesses, a community which works, plans, discusses and lives together. Bioregionalist communities appear to promote this kind of group work and identity. However, I am hesitant to embrace some of the bioregionalist principles wholeheartedly. While it makes sense that local decisions of development, identity, and action are made by people who live locally, independence and self-sufficiency can be taken too far. The freedom of action inherent in bioregionalism depends on a moral populace. There has to be trust that decisions made by community members will work for the greatest good for the community. Nevertheless, what is unclear is what happens when there is a conflict over what to do with a particular project or resource. Individuals outside the bioregion who may have valid knowledge to apply to the decision or who may be affected by the decision may not have any power of voice. Furthermore, what kind of power do community members have in the face of intra-bioregional conflicts? Berg (1990b) admits these problems do occur. The potential for a misuse of power is very high. To illustrate the kind of problem I have in mind, let us look at the following example of a situation where bioregional community processes have no effect on an individual decision. Martha McMahon (1995) relates the story of a fictional friend. The story is not taken from her own lived experience, but is a realistic possibility. It also is not specifically from a community which names itself bioregionalist, but is represented as a community of people who are similarly concerned. McMahon sets the scene with a woman, Sarah, who lives in a beautiful, relatively isolated area of British Columbia. Her property borders onto land just bought by "a couple escaping what they call the social and environmental toxicity of Vancouver (his words)" (1995, 70). There is a tree with two trunks on the border of their adjoining properties; one trunk is cut and the other, on Sarah's land, still stands. Sarah and other neighbours who live nearby are angry about the cutting of the tree, which now embodies contested social claims on nature, economics and property rights (McMahon, 1995). What makes the new neighbours' act even more incomprehensible to Sarah is the fact that one of them is a holistic healer and the other is involved in environmental restoration. But instead of restoring their land or keeping it in its natural state, they decided to cut and clear the woodlands and sell the wood for lumber so they could build a guest cabin and a house. McMahon presents Sarah's hurt in the form of a journal entry: •  •  ' •  54  They spoke of their love for the environment and commitment to the idea of neighbourhood and community as they explained to me why they could not leave even some of the trees. The environmental restorer assured me that the environment would be better than before he arrived by the time he had finished his work. This he communicated to me in a language of a certain kind of ecological science — of amounts of biomass and water quality and so on. He spoke of his commitment to growing organically on some of the land he has cleared. (1995, 70 - 71) Sarah and other concerned neighbours have no say in decisions neighbours make on privately owned land. Sarah can only look on, discuss her opinion with the owners, and bow to their decision. This is where one has to trust that fellow community members to make an ecologically viable solution, or be open to seeing why less ecologically beneficial decisions may be made for financial or other reasons. I think that the neighbours' actions in the story are especially painful to Sarah because they are being made on what Sarah sees as falsely ecological grounds, and are being explained as alternative and beneficial decisions. This example shows that the democratic system in place is not always conducive to the highest benefit for the land, or, for that matter, for the people living there. To be fair, such misuse and controversy exists in our current system of elected representatives. I have little power over what my neighbours choose to do with their property, unless it goes against zoning laws. Nevertheless, systems are in place, however effective, which cross bioregional lines and which address abuse of power. It seems to me that writers such as Sale (1985) and Berg (1990b) are overly optimistic of human nature. They appear to feel that if a community takes extreme care to know and serve the biophysical and cultural needs of a bioregion, human difficulties such as greed and misuse of power will be naturally curbed. Maybe they will, if such a rigorous level of care is upheld. But if they are not, what recourse is in place for anyone implicated in or affected by the situation to step in to negotiate? History would suggest that greed, independence, and the desire to satisfy self are embedded too deeply in common manifestations of human nature to be completely suppressed even in the face of desire to be in tune with the land. It is my conviction that although some individuals and communities may be persuaded to think smaller, live more modestly and goodheartedly, large scale societal transformation is virtually impossible without some kind of underlying spiritual transformation. Such a fundamental revision of thought patterns and value systems is envisaged by the other three theories we will review in this chapter, as well as hoped for by many bioregionalists.  55  II. Ecoferninism  The assumptions of modernity, the faith in technological "progress " and rapacious industrialism, along with the militarism necessary to support it have left us very lost indeed. The quintessential malady of the modern era is free-floating anxiety, and it is clear to ecofeminists that the whole culture is free-floating — from the lack of grounding in the natural world, from the lack of a sense of belonging in the unfolding story of the universe, from the lack of a healthy relationship between the males and females of the species. We are entangled in the hubris of the patriarchal goal of dominating nature and the female. Charlene Spretnak, 1990, 9  Ecoferninism pursues some of the same themes of empowerment and local place(s) as bioregionalism. Certain ecofeminists perceive the two movements as complementary, both urging a reconsideration of social attitudes towards the role of men and women in relationship with each other and in relationship with the land. According to Judith Plant, "Without feminism, it seems that the bioregional view is not going to bring about the shift in attitude that is required to live an ecologically harmonious life" (1990b, 21). Home, local places and the network of relationships embedded within them are a focus of both bioregionalists and ecofeminists: what is personal becomes political. Not all ecofeminists and bioregionalists would consider themselves adherents to both streams of thought, but there is ground for cooperation and provocative dialogue. . Conversations between ecofeminists and bioregionalists are only a small part of the widespread and diverse dialogue of ecofeminist ideas, issues, politics, and concerns. Katriona Sandilands traces the term ecoferninism back to Francoise d'Eaubonne (1980), defined as "the historical and continuing interstructuring of the exploitation of Nature with the domination of women" (cited in Sandilands, 1991, 90). A concept underlying much ecofeminist thought is the theory that through patriarchy, the male and the female have traditionally been dichotomized and assigned separate roles, of which the male's are deemed superior (male = technological, dominating, cultural; female = natural, intuitive, emotional). As a consequence of this hierarchy, both women and nature have been dominated and oppressed. Since 1974, the term has been used by many writers, both male and female, who have continued the questioning and analysis of attitudes towards and experiences of the natural world and women. Although the designation ecoferninism delineates the movement as a whole, ecofeminist •  '  56  philosophy encompasses a diverse body of thought. There are many facets of ecofeminism, each reflecting the differing perspectives and emphases which their proponents bring to the discussion. Despite the fact that labels can be problematic in themselves, I find the use of classification to be helpful in introducing and explaining unfamiliar or complex ideas. Carolyn Merchant's (1990) helpful summary of ecofeminism distills five broad categories: liberal, Marxist, socialist, social and radical/cultural ecofeminism (please see Table 1). A sixth category, not covered by Merchant, could be called spiritual ecofeminism. All models of ecofeminism critique the environmentalist movement for particular shortcomings and all present an image of what a feminist environmentalism would include. Despite variations in emphasis, these threads form a 1  largely unified fabric in their critique of society and of many of the current approaches to the environment. I will now turn to these shared fundamental principles in order to provide an overview of a complex movement. Table 1: Feminism and the Environment NATURE  HUMAN NATURE Rational agents Individualism Maximization of selfinterest Creation of human nature through mode of production, praxis Historically specific - not fixed Species nature of humans  LIBERAL FEMINISM  Atoms Mind//body dualism Domination of nature  MARXIST FEMINISM  Transformation of nature by science and technology for human use Domination of nature as a means to human freedom Nature is material basis of life: food, clothing, shelter, energy  RADICAL FEMINISM  Nature is spiritual.and personal Conventional science and technology problematic because of their emphasis on domination  Biology is basic Humans are sexually reproducing bodies Sexed by biology-Gendered by society  SOCIALIST FEMINISM  Nature is material basis of life: food, clothing, shelter, energy Nature is socially and historically constructed Transformation of nature by production  Human nature created through biology and praxis (sex, race, class, age) Historically specific and socially constructed  FEMINIST CRITIQUE OF ENVIRONMENTALISM  IMAGE OF A FEMINIST ENVIRONMENTALISM  "Man and his environment" leaves out women  Women participate in natural resources and environmental sciences  Critique of capitalist control of resources and accumulation of goods and profits  Socialist/communist society will use resources for good of all men and women Resources will be controlled by workers Environmental pollution will be minimal since no surpluses will be produced Environmental research by men and women Woman/nature both valued and celebrated Reproductive freedom Against pornographic depictions of both women and nature Radical ecofeminism  Unaware of interconnectedness of male domination of nature and women Male environmentalism retains hierarchies Insufficient attention to environmental threats to women's reproduction (chemicals, nuclear war) Laves out nature as active and responsive Leaves out women's role in reproduction and reproduction as a category Systems approach is mechanistic not dialectical  Both nature and human reduction are active Centrality of biological and social reproduction Dialectic between production and reproduction Multileveled structural analysis Dialectical (not mechanical) systems Socialist ecofeminism  from Merchant, 1990, 104.  For a more detailed discussion of different threads of ecofeminism, see Merchant, 1992, 1990. She changes the term radical ecofeminism (1990) to cultural ecofeminism (1992). Other writers often use the terms 'cultural' and 'radical' as synonyms in this context. 1  57  Connection: Humanity &, the Earth  At the forefront of ecofeminist philosophy is a sense of connection to the Earth within humanity. Religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, amongst'others, are seen to have set up a dichotomy between humanity and nature by teaching that humanity is made in the image of God as a special creation, and is thus separate from the rest of nature, destined for an eternal purpose beyond this life. Vandana Shiva refers to these religions in the following: Patriarchal world views in all their variation, from the ancient to the modern, from east to west, share one assumption — they are based on the removal of life from the earth, on the separation of the earth from the seed, and on the association of an inert and empty earth with the passivity of the female. (1993,23) The growth of technology and the tendency of society to believe that science and technology can solve every problem we and the earth may face has added to this separation. Ecofeminist writers such as Charlene Spretnak view this mode of existence as living in alienation "on top of nature" rather than in harmony with it; ecofeminism offers a means "out of alienation toward a way that is infused with ecological wisdom" (1990, 3). Blind faith in technological solutions leads the decision making process of . at least the Western world and has contributed to the destruction of ecosystems, of economic and living conditions, particularly throughout the Third and Fourth World, and of women's loss of control over previously solely female abilities, such as conception and gestation (Spretnak, 1990). For many ecofeminists, the power of life and being is not understood as a force that comes from outside of our world (such as from (a) God), but from the world itself. As anthropologist Paula Gunn Allen says, "We are the land. The earth is the source and being of the people and we are equally the being of the earth" (cited in Christ, 1990, 65 ). Humans are one part of the web of life, the cyclical interconnectedness that allows 2  room for life and death and rejoices in the unique capacities of each being. Ecofeminists consequently tend to see humanity as called to live in appreciation and recognition of their place in this interconnected web. Issues of place are thus important to ecofeminists. Each individual  This quote is from a discussion in The Sacred Hoop concerning the American Indian approach to the land. Christ presents the view of connection as such, but then draws the ideas into her arguments of ecofeminism. 2  58  cannot help but shape the world around him or her; the passing of life is inevitable. Nevertheless, we can do our utmost to live as thoughtfully and respectfully as possible. Carol Christ suggests the following as a means through which to do this: To understand and value the life we enjoy is to understand and value the lives of all other beings, human and non-human. This ethic calls into question much of modern life, which is based on the acceptance of the inevitability of war and on the exploitation of other people, of plants, animals, and the rest of nature. (1990,66-67) Many ecofeminist writers, therefore, view humanity as far from superior to other creatures, except in our relatively, greater power to shape and influence the world. Such power only serves to increase our responsibility.  Connection: Women & Nature  A second theme of ecoferninism following from humanity's connection to the earth is the assertion, acceptance and celebration among ecofeminists (particularly radical/cultural ecoferninism) of natural and historical connections between women and the natural world (Spretnak, 1990; Griffin, 1990; Merchant, 1992). Women have traditionally been seen as nurturers, givers and regulators of life, "dedicated to the continuation of life on earth" (Merchant, 1992, 193). Nature, too, acts as a giver and regulator of life. Plant (1990a) points out how this connection comes through strongly in the English language: the natural world is named Mother Earth; an untouched forest is virgin land. Susan Griffin (1990) describes the polarization of male and female, culture and nature as a fragmentation of wholeness through the categories of masculine and feminine: "We assign to the masculine the province of the soul, the spirit, or the transcendent, and we read the feminine as representing nature, and the Earth" (88). Men are thus seen to belong to the spiritual and cultural, while women are part of the natural and physical. Women are given the capacity to care and to nurture, and do so outside of the rational realm of men. Similarly, nature lies outside the domain of humanity and is, therefore, subject to subjugation by the same rational, patriarchal society as is dominant in culture. Discussion within ecoferninism swirls around a perceived parallel between the female and the natural, as they have both been the victim of domination and oppression for centuries. Many ecofeminists  59  trace the beginning of this oppression to around 4500 B.C., when nomadic tribes from Eurasia invaded Europe, the Near East, Persia, and India, and replaced the existing nature-based and female-honoring religion of the Goddess with their omnipotent, male Sky-God (Spretnak, 1990). This is seen as the beginning of the alienation of the cultural from the natural, the division from Mother Earth and the roots of the desacralization of nature. This worldview was strengthened through the Enlightenment's view of the world as a machine, separate from humanity and supposedly necessitating control or taming (Sandilands, 1991). Spretnak and Christ correlate the capabilities of technology glorified in the mechanistic Scientific Revolution with the significance of interpretations of Christianity which promote men as superior to and more valuable than women. A fundamental reason for this oppression is the "patriarchal culture of the terror of nature and the terror of the elemental power of the female," linked with the alienation of both men and women from our grounding in the natural world (Spretnak, 1990, 6). Therefore, "identifying the dynamics — largely fear and resentment — behind the dominance of male over female is the key to comprehending every expression of patriarchal culture with its hierarchical, militaristic, mechanistic, industrialist forms" (Spretnak, 1990, 5). This is a controversial claim, but illustrates the importance a sense of place has to many ecofeminists as an opportunity to re-ground and identify themselves within the natural world, away from the fear and resentment with which Spretnak claims patriarchal culture has imbued the natural world. The same fear is oriented towards the natural world, since in many ways, with our retreat into the cultural and cosmopolitan world of cities and urban culture, wild and even rural places can become unfamiliar and imposing worlds which impress upon humanity the frailty of our species. In that light, a sense of place grounded in the natural world would be viewed as a source of identity to be avoided. Women, then, from an ecofeminist viewpoint, are also unfamiliar and potentially threatening territory to the male world.  Connection: Women & Environmental Issues Spretnak (1990) takes care to clarify, very rightly, that women are not drawn to ecology and ecofeminism simply because they are women. Many do not see themselves as holding an elemental power or as arousing fear and resentment on the part of men. However, writers such as Christ (1990) point out 60  that the women of today have generally been brought up in patriarchy and have been trained to see the world in a certain way. Women have been socialized into these dualities as strongly as their male counterparts (Plant, 1990a). At the same time, there is an undercurrent of knowledge that we, as humans, are living in alienation from our roots, and are being called back to living in communion with the places which gave life to us and sustain us. Instead of viewing the female sphere as a place of subordination, ecofeminists have celebrated their femininity as a source of freedom and growth (Starhawk, 1990). The parallels between women and nature are seen as links of strength, beauty and mutual understanding, not as proof of weakness and inferiority. Although Spretnak assures the reader that women are not naturally drawn to ecology and ecoferninism, I still sense an undertone in ecoferninism which sets women up as the more capable gender to address humanity's relationship with the environment. In Christ's (1990) words, "Those of us [women] who have been trained in the language and thought forms of patriarchy but who have not entirely forgotten our connections to the powers of other beings"(59) are seen to have an advantage over men since we have access both to the world of patriarchy and to the world of natural connections and relationships. Environmental dilemmas are often presented by ecofeminists as issues especially to be confronted by women, due to their particular roles and connections to nature. In Starhawk's terms, Environmental issues are women's issues, for women sicken, starve, and die from toxins, droughts, and famines, their capacity to bear new life is threatened by pollution, and they bear the brunt of care for the sick and dying, as well as for the next generation. (1990, 83) Although environmental problems obviously have an impact on every living thing on the planet, Starhawk focuses on how women are particularly affected in their roles in the home and as child-bearers, thus making environmental problems women's problem. Women are portrayed as particularly interested and motivated to focus on their connections with the natural world and fight for the resolution of these problems as leaders with the potential of infusing life into both human and environmental relationships. Evidence for Starhawk's preferential view can be drawn from the reality that women often make up the majority of those involved in local community environmental issues (this is less true for wilderness preservation issues). Starhawk does also label environmental issues as international issues, and her essay does not 61  necessarily cut men out of the environmental struggle. However, neither does it specifically mention men or their roles in any way, after mentioning specific female roles. She would prefer that all those involved in and affected by environmental issues would have a say in policy and decision-making. Perhaps since women have historically been left out, she means only to fill in the gap of silence. I would prefer to view environmental issues as everyone's problem. Although Starhawk and others do not say so directly, it seems to me that the focus on women as naturally and biologically connected to the earth and adept at caregiving gives the impression that women are programmed to be the most effective ecological warriors. This implication can be read to concede tacitly the patriarchal view that women are "naturally" closer to nature through their biological tendencies and that, through their experience and understanding of the natural world and as givers of life themselves and as care-givers, are naturally more capable than men to live in harmony with each other and with the environment. By not mentioning men, or the process they face to free themselves of their bonds to patriarchy, men appear to be relegated to only minor or passing roles. Perhaps this is an understandable feminist reaction to what are seen as centuries of oppression, but I do not think it is necessarily a helpful one. I am inclined to agree with Plant (1990a) in her observation that all humans can be equally prone to greed, error and selfishness. However, ecofeminists are certainly correct in believing that women bring great talent and relevant experience to the task of how to give care and concern to social and environmental relationships. Consequently, the celebration of the qualities of the female must be critiqued. In much ecofeminist literature, women are valued as care-givers, homemakers, craftmakers (such as weaving and quilting), nurturers and activists who fight for the health of their homes and children (Plant, 1990b; Starhawk, 1990). However, these are the same qualities which patriarchy relegates to women. If we accept that women are the "natural" caregivers and guardians of the home, we are in danger of reifying the traditional definitions of femininity and female roles in society. The boundaries of this feminine space are not always addressed by ecofeminists, as Merchant (1992) critiques, although writers such as Sandilands (1991) have been very active in speaking to the lack of critique of women's roles, particularly in  62  environmental contexts. The celebration of feminine roles, such as mothering, needs to be balanced with 3  recognition of the problematic forces which have shaped these roles and the ways in which their present construction may perpetuate social inequities. Val Plumwood states, "Challenging these dualisms involves not just a reevaluation of superiority/inferiority and a higher status for the underside of the dualisms ... but also a reexamination and reconceptualizing of the dualistically construed categories themselves" (1991, 17). Culturally-defined roles and dualities which promote hierarchy must be challenged in order to shift the traditional lines of male and female responsibilities with regards to home and to the environment (Plant, 1990b). In terms of the concept of place, women, on an international scale, play a major role in the home and in the concerns of place and the family. Many groups made up largely of women have banded together to fight against what they view as anti-environmental decisions which threaten harm to the community. An international example is the treehugging movement of the women of India in the Chipko region, a grassroots movement which blossomed into cooperation from women across communities and villages through word of mouth and spontaneous action to save their forests from being depleted for a fast cash crop of firewood (Merchant, 1992). Merchant gives many other examples of women's ecological movements worldwide: the Kenyan women of the Green Belt movement, planting trees in arid, degraded lands, and Swedish women making jam from berries sprayed with herbicides and offering a sample to members of parliament, who refuse. Di Chiro (1995) refers to mothers in California who fought against the construction of a lethal waste incinerator in their neighbourhood. The list could go on. Men are certainly also involved in these movements, but in many cases the majority of participants and organizers are female. In the documentary film Fury For  The Sound  (Wine, 1997) which portrays the struggle against  clearcutting in Clayoquot Sound in 1993, Valerie Langer, one of the main organizers, points out that men are present and active in many of these groups, but 80% of the participating activists are women. She claims there is a special bond or synergy between women when they come together to face a force which  Another article by Sandilands, Green Consumerism, is a particularly pointed questioning of ecological marketing, environmental actions and expectations and the resultant problematic reification of the roles of women. 3  63  wants to destroy or at least alter their environment, community or home. Perhaps this is true. Whether this is the case due to biology or history is a deeper and more complex question. The assumption of a direct parallel between women and nature also calls for deeper examination. Sandilands (1991) argues that much of ecofeminist thought which promotes the existence of natural connections between women and nature has not problematized the basis upon which the connections were made in the first place. Ecofeminist accounts clearly show how connections between women and nature have been devalued, but only some question whether such a unique connection actually exists. Sandilands (1991) examines accounts of ecofeminism which show how the connection between women and nature has been devalued but which do not actually problematize the basis upon which the connections between women and nature were made in the first place. Other ecofeminisms do problematize the process of connection between women and Nature, but they too also assume the construction birth and mothering as "essentially more 'natural' than other biological processes" (Sandilands, 1991, 92). Furthermore, women are assumed to be connected to nature and to their natural mothers because they do not experience the separation and individuation that men do. Sandilands questions "why women's bodies are seen as unique to their 'naturalness,' why it is that processes associated with birth are constructed as essentially more 'natural' than those associated with eating, sleeping or defecating" (1991; 91). Men are capable of connecting with and caring for nature and for each other, a capacity rarely sung in this celebration of the qualities of the female.. Much of the idea of a natural connection between women and nature has been assumed and reinforced in society, without examining the validity of the claim. However, no matter how the connection came to be viewed as such, it still has a tremendous effect on the way individuals view themselves and their relationships with each other and with nature. In many societies, as is the case for the Chipko women of India, females are responsible for agriculture and for providing for their families. Protecting the trees which provide their proportionally small firewood requirements and which prevent erosion of soil is crucial to families' survival and wellbeing. In Western society, our connections to place may be more buried, or less crucial on an everyday scale for our survival, depending on location and way of life. However, in calling attention to our connections to the earth and to our membership in the web of life inherent in our world, ecofeminism 64  summons our attention back to our roots, our places and communities. Even though the promotion of Goddess worship or the view that men are resentful of the female element may be alarmingly radical for some, the voices of ecofeminism which plead for society to accept our citizenship and responsibilities as creatures able to influence worlds with our actions have much to add to the conversation on place. The ecofeminist vision of humanity's grounding in.the natural world is fundamentally relevant to the discussion of the interrelatedness of place and self. The attention many ecofeminists have given to the importance of experience of places and to co-existence within the natural world, instead of living on it, is bearing fruit. Unlike bioregionalist literature, the ecofeminist writing that I researched does not use place terminology as central terms throughout the literature. However, much of it speaks to issues which fall under the umbrella of the concept of place. The focus on the connection between humanity and nature is parallel. When Griffin says: "I know I am made from this earth, as my mother's hands were made from this earth" (1978, 227), she is speaking about her concept of place. When Butala writes an entire book about the unfolding of her relationship with the Canadian Prairie landscape, she is exploring her sense of place. The illustrations of movements of women forming coalitions and taking action to protect their places (locales), which stems from their senses of place, are also clear examples of links between the concept of place and ecofeminism, under different terminology. Their places are part of their identity and sense of belonging, and that placefulness spills out in evidence in their lives.  III. First Nations  The earth is not a mere source of survival, distant from the creatures it nurtures and from the spirit that breathes in us, nor is it to be considered an inert resource on which we draw in order to keep our ideological self functioning. Rather for the American Indians ... the earth is_ being, as all creatures are also being: aware, palpable, intelligent, alive. Paula Gunn Allen, 1986, 119.  The rich variety of principles of relationship between humans, non-humans and the land found in  65  First Nations' perspectives is another example of a body of teachings concerning how to live in place.  4  Traditional native environmental ethics are not always discussed in such terms, but are, according to Thomas Schilz, "rather part of the religious system that intertwined humans, animals, plants, and the spirit world in a complex, multi-layered cosmos" (1991, 174). For the purpose of giving an overview of indigenous approaches to living in place, or, in relationship to the land, I will outline some of the principal beliefs upheld among many aboriginal nations' which pertain to this relationship, supported by specific examples, as an introductory look at the domain of First Nations' literature. Although I am not an expert in this area of inquiry, and am speaking as an outsider, I have pulled together a sampling of what could be said about each nation's perspective of the cosmos. It is important to keep in mind the wealth of knowledge left unaddressed. I also recognize the potential dangers of overgeneralizing or presenting a false picture of uniformity of First Nations' beliefs. These examples will show both similarity and difference, but the thread that shines through them all is the importance of the land.  Stories and Knowledge  In literature from various indigenous groups across North America and Australia, common themes crop up time and again under different names and in different contexts. Diverse media, such as fiction, short stories, academic articles, poetry, and recorded life stories from writers from different First Nations' groups, illustrate a parallel similarity in themes: spirituality; ethics, including relationship to the land and the importance and responsibilities of family and community; the central role of storytelling; and the significance of education — particularly education according to "the old ways" (Mrs. Smith, interview with Cruikshank, 1990, 170, 215). These themes are often not explicit, but are embedded within story. They turn upon each other, making it close to impossible to look at any one theme in isolation. Environmental ethics are part of community and family responsibility and of spirituality, while spirituality is part of every daily action and law. Education, therefore, means training individuals in the spiritual and ethical ways of a  I employ the terms used by native authors in my readings in the assumption that they use respectful and acceptable language in referring to themselves. Indian, native, aboriginal, indigenous and First Nations are the most common terms I encountered, and were consistently used in non-pejorative contexts.  4  .66  people. The chosen method to do this is through story! Although at times the following discussion may appear tangential from the central thesis of human/place relationships, this is in recognition of the embeddedness of native environmental ethics in story and spiritual beliefs. We must enter into the knot of relationship, through story, in order to approach any understanding of First Nations' perspectives on place. How, then, is storytelling used in First Nations cultures? Language is acknowledged as a very powerful tool. Place names, for example, are part of the landscape, ties which speak of a past which must not be forgotten. Family names place individuals within a familial, communal and historical context that shapes their present responsibilities and defines relationships. Clan stories and songs act as honoured flags of identification (Cruikshank, 1990). Still, when non-natives or natives not brought up traditionally encounter an indigenous story, much of this depth of meaning may escape recognition or perception, if unexplained. Native narratives follow a different path from Western storytelling. Lee Maracle, a Salish/Metis West Coast writer, explains in the preface to a collection of her short stories (Sojourner's Truth & other stories,  1990) some of the differences between native and Western narrative traditions. In  native stories, the reader or listener is as much a part of the story as the teller. There is a plot, as in Western storytelling, but the teller trusts the audience to have the ability and responsibility to arrive at their own conclusions and to draw useful lessons from the story, in contrast to the more Western tendency to dictate conclusions. All personal conclusions are considered valid in native tradition, as long as the listener actively works it out. This may not happen immediately, but can come to fruition over time. A second fundamental difference is that much of native storytelling is shared orally, rather than in written form. However, this is changing as the storytellers realize that the upcoming generation has been trained to be more likely to turn to books. Julie Cruikshank (1990) experienced both of these narrative characteristics firsthand during her research recording the life histories of three Yukon Tagish/Tlingit elder women (Mrs. Sidney, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Ned). Each of them used story and song to narrate her life. If Cruikshank asked the meaning of a story, the story would simply be repeated, not explained. Mrs. Sidney and Mrs. Smith in particular were keen to participate in the project out of interest to share with Cruikshank, but overall to use the opportunity to create booklets of stories to educate their families and upcoming generations. Based on her research with these and other native women, Cruikshank comments how 67  "Women see their books of stories as a connection between the world of tradition and the schools' 'paper world' and feel that, thus legitimized, the stories should be part of the schools' curriculum" (1990, 17). The three Tagisn/Tlingit women directed Cruikshank in the recording of these stories in content and in form. The stories were written down in a form as close to the oral as possible, using the oral traditions as their framework. Cruikshank reports that this was not always easy to do, but recording the oral stories was thought important to do in recognition of the reality of the text-based education that most people in North America experience and the lack of qualified tellers and language to carry on the oral tradition (Cruikshank, 1990). Mrs. Sidney, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Ned each begin their life story through a detailed genealogy going back to their grandparents. They talk about where they, are from, naming places, people and events. "Connections with people are explored through ties of kinship; connections with land emphasize sense of place" (Cruikshank, 1990, 3). Mrs. Sidney uses stories as cultural scaffolding for the events of her life, while Mrs. Smith uses events from her own experience as a framework for presenting the relevance of her stories (Cruikshank, 1990). Identity and ethics are shared through story. Stories, then, are repositories of knowledge. According to tradition, native children are traditionally expected from infancy to listen and learn, through story and imitation. The oral tradition of storytelling passes on lore, genealogies, geography, tradition, and general knowledge: "the sound of words keeps them alive in the present" (Awiakta, 1993, 224). From a traditional native perspective, time is not linear, but a fusion of past, present and future (Awiakta, 1993). The past informs the present and both implicate the future. According to the Nishnawbe (Ontario), time belongs to "the Great Mystery;" humans do not have to be concerned with it except to be in harmony with it and live according to the rhythm of Creation (Solomon, 1990). They learn how to do so through stories passed down from generation to generation. Oral tradition, according to Cruikshank, is really to be viewed "not as 'evidence' about the past but as a window on ways the past is culturally constituted and discussed" (1990,14). Stories shape the present, but also shape how storytellers view the past. The Yukon Tagish/Tlingit women who narrate their stories to Cruikshank use the past to explain or teach in the present: stories recreate the life-cycle by taking a situation outside of the personal experience of the listener so that he or she can benefit directly from it (Cruikshank, 1990). 68  As one could therefore surmise, traditional native education focuses on learning through storytelling and through direct experience. Children were expected to imitate their elders, the ways of their people and of nature (The Four Worlds Development Project, 1988; Reed, 1991). Character formation and practical skills go hand in hand. Gerard Reed, in his study of the Sioux through the writings of Charles Eastman, relates that traditional teachers encourage "first and foremost, the development of personality, and the fundamentals of education as love of the 'Great Mystery', love of nature, love of country and people" (Eastman, 1912; cited in Reed, 1991, 171). Through a physical program focusing on 5  practical skills, the deeper purpose of education is spiritual. Reed (1991) clarifies this relationship: "Native Americans sought to usher their young into the invisible world by means of the visible" (171). Prayer — journeying to the centre of one's being (The Four Worlds Development Project, 1988) — and songs become part of an uncontrived response to the natural world, since the elements are to be regarded as spiritual powers. What may now be called an environmental ethic is part of a much more integrated approach to life as a whole.  Spirituality and Knowledge  This integrated ethic is exemplified in many First Nation groups' approaches to living in harmony with the world around them. For example, American Plains tribes traditionally teach that the daily aspects of an individual's life act as a reminder of his or her position of relationship to the surrounding beings and forces (Schilz, 1991). Hunting, eating, and putting food aside for winter, for example, are acts dependent on harmony with the environment. This kind of harmony must be sought after on a physical and practical plane, but also on a spiritual level. Spirituality, according to many indigenous beliefs, is shared by animals, human and nonhuman entities. For example, the Plains Indians believed that humans, animals and non-human lifeforms (trees, water, etc.) share the same three-part spiritual life: a ghost (waniya), a spirit (wanagi) and a guardian spirit (sicun) (Schilz, 1991). Humans were to live in relationship with these Charles Eastman was a Sioux who spent his childhood with his tribe in the Canadian forests, after fleeing the aftermath of the 1862 Sioux rebellion in Minnesota in which his father had taken part. He returned to the United States as a teenager at the insistence of his father to get a "white man's education and follow civilization's path". Reed presents him as a writer who is particularly gifted to present a deep understanding of both the Sioux and "the white man's" worlds at the turn of the century. 5  69  entities, and saw they must take care of the plants and animals — or the guardian sicun may take revenge. Such practical rules result in promoting and even consecrating proper ethical behaviour, when applied sincerely and properly. This would mean not hunting more meat than needed, or moving on when the land could not support the human population any more. Reading Eastman's work, Reed (1991) relates how the Sioux thought it possible to live in this kind of harmony with Creation. Creation was fundamentally good, and although a people may not live in luxury, they could live a good and sufficient life. For an urban native Canadian today, living in'relationship to a place asks few questions of how much meat he or she should hunt. Nevertheless, living in relationship with the natural world is still an issue for modern urban life. Interaction between the physical and spiritual world is common to most, if not all, native worldyiews. Although overgeneralization can be dangerously leveling, for this discussion, I feel it is important to show that the majority, if not all, native religions held land - human relationships as central. Ake Hultkrantz, in Native Religions of North America (1987), distills four prominent features shared amongst North American native religions: a similar worldview, a view of cosmic harmony, an emphasis on experiencing powers and visions directly, and a cyclical view of life and death. There are forces at work on the earth — physical and spiritual forces which must be kept in balance. The world was created sacred and in interrelated balance. Each created being starts out whole, but if broken, must be made whole again (The Four World's Development Project, 1988). The Navajo people visualize this wholeness in the belief that the earth is made of male and female forces which exist in balance to each other (Grim, 1991). The brokenness often comes through the actions of humans, upsetting the balance, causing reactions and ensuing imbalance, which must be attended to. Human knowledge of the relationship between beings and forces in nature and how to stay in balanced relationship with oneself, others and the environment is the beginning of wisdom. Looking out my window in West Point Grey, it is immediately apparent that not only has this balance not been upheld, the land upon which much of Vancouver was built has not been developed in a balanced, ecological, or just fashion. Land rights issues are particularly relevant to BC, where much of our developed strata is on First Nations' territories. It would be remiss not to acknowledge the attacks on place .  .  70  (locale) which First Nations' peoples have experienced. The history of relations between white settlers and natives is a mixture of exploitation and friendship, of treaties and betrayals, lifestyle changes and disease, and forced education and language laws. Recently, there has been a revival of First Nations art and culture, and a renewed interest in bringing back schooling in traditional languages and styles. Hopefully, the path back to traditional native values will include wisdom concerning humanity's balanced relationship with the land. How are individuals to attain this wisdom? Through the path of respect for elders, spiritual activities, and the struggles of other people, balancing what one values for oneself and for others (The Four Worlds of Development, 1988). Arthur Solomon, a Nishnawbe spiritual teacher, describes in his poetry the essence of this relationship: "We cannot be in harmony with the Creator and be out of harmony / with our Mother Earth or any of the life on it / including our brothers and sisters" (1991, 25). The ideal of harmony is echoed across many indigenous groups: The Great Spirit is the centre pole of creation and unites all things in creation to work together according to their particular role (The Four Worlds Development Project, 1988). The unwritten guidelines of nature and Mother Earth are laws of honour, faith and trust (King, Nishnawbe; 1993). It is imperative that humans give thanks to the Great Spirit for all other beings and for the four elements of life: earth, air, fire and water (Beaver, Alderville First Nation, Ontario; 1993). Actions in the physical plane of reality affect the well-being of the spiritual plane,, as the spiritual health affects the physical. A balanced life honours the laws of both. All of life, then, is viewed as relationship in balance. This balanced relationship ideal is very much indicative of indigenous peoples' view of themselves as caretakers of the land. Spiritual belief flows into practical action, according to traditional belief systems and codes of action (Swanson, 1991). From infancy, and even sometimes during pregnancy, children are told of the voices and lessons of the physical forces around them, and cautioned to listen to them (Reed, 1991). For example, in Sioux tradition, a newborn baby is introduced by the two grandmothers to the trees and forest so that he or she "becomes at once 'nature-bom' in accord with the beliefs and practices of the wild red man [sic]" (Eastman, 1907; cited in Reed, 1991, 171). Each created being has a role, and has been given the knowledge, capacity and responsibility to fulfill that responsibility. It is up to the individual to '71  listen and learn what those ways are. From this point of view, it is clear that humanity is dependent on the earth for food and medicine, warmth and light. Some stories from other tribes tell how various creatures (Coyote, Wolf) taught humans how to live off the land. In addressing the rich knowledge inherent in creation to discover role and responsibility, harmony is restored. One nation which has reached a remarkable state of harmony with their environment is the Papago Indians of southern Arizona and northern Mexico. There are not many Papago who still live on their ancestral lands and who farm according to traditional methods, but there are some who deliberately resist the call of the city and "improved" modern life. They live in the desert, under arid, hot conditions, periodically tempered by unpredictable rains. Nabhan, an American naturalist who has worked with the Papago for several years, relates in The Desert Smells Like Rain (1982) how he remembers being amazed at how different a view of the desert the Papago hold from others' impressions of the same landscape. Most outsiders are struck by the apparent absence of rain in deserts, feeling that such places lack something vital. Papago, on the other hand, are intrigued by the unpredictability rather than the paucity of rainfall — theirs is a dynamic, lively world, responsive to stormy forces that may come at any time. (Nabhan, 1982, 6) The Papago have fought bureaucracy and white ownership for their land, and some still strive to hold on to the ancient ways of farming, which demand knowledge and experience of place. According to Nabhan, this is due to "decades of day-to-day observations. These perceptions have been filtered through a cultural tradition that has been refined, honed, and handed down over centuries of living in arid places" (1982, 8). Papago farmers know the difference between rainwater and groundwater and what the soil's reaction to each will be, when to plant and when to wait, how to make the most of the mercurial flash rains, the importance of setting aside seeds from one successful crop to the next so that the best qualities of seed are preserved, and a multitude of other situation specific techniques. Their traditional method of digging trenches at strategic spots in the landscape to trap excess water during the flash rains is a technique of which local hydrologists and crop scientists have only recently begun to see the ingenuity (Nabhan, 1982). It is not only the necessity of survival which motivates these farmers. Their connection to the land is a relationship. It flows both ways, in terms of love and dependence. The desert sustains the Papago, to be sure, but part of the Papagos' responsibility is to "help the desert yield its food" (Nabhan, 1990, 124).  72  The Papago speak of the land as an extension of themselves. The saguro cactus, for example, is considered a member of the tribe, the rains and growth of crops depend on the songs sung by the Papago, and so on. The vocabulary the Papago use reveals the intensity of care and relationship between the Papago and their landscape. Traditional knowledge serves as a guide, and is added to by personal, daily experience. Some things only the land itself can teach (Nabhan, 1982). 1  The traditional teachings of aboriginal tribes of Australia illustrate a similar relationship with the land. The land is everything to them: the source.of law, ethics, and reasons of existence (Davidson, 1992). Robyn Davidson spent approximately three years living in the central desert of Australia, much of,it among aboriginal people. Although Tracks (1992) is more the story of Davidson's journey, there are passages, where she vividly attempts to comprehend and present an indigenous worldview. In her understanding, the aboriginal people of Australia see themselves as the caretakers of the land; individual and/or exclusive ownership, as the Western world defines it, does not exist. People belong to the land, rather than vice versa, particularly to land passed down through patriline and matriline and where one was born or conceived. Along with that relationship come complex ceremonies and detailed knowledge to care for the land and keep the connection strong. When that land is taken away, along with the freedom to roam from area to area, as has happened through the reservation system, the aboriginal people lose their identity. Davidson paints a picture of the consequences of this broken relationship: "Without that relationship, they become ghosts. Half people. They are not separate from the land. When they lose it, they lose .themselves, their spirit, their culture"(1992, 168). It strikes me as significant that such a clear depiction of the relationship between land and its people comes through the words of a white writer living among indigenous people, rather than from the people themselves. Although Davidson is speaking from her experiences in Australia, it resonates in parallel force in my native American/Canadian readings. Davidson portrays the aboriginal worldview in terms and manner of Western tradition of narrative. The Australian aboriginals tell their stories in song, naming the places they walk through. They are not written down. As a white writer, Davidson has a power of voice and accessibility that the Aboriginals do not. Similarly, as explained earlier in discussing native storytelling, the relationship between land and humans is rarely expressed directly. Again, this is  most likely a reflection of differences between Western and indigenous traditions of narrative and use of vehicles of knowledge. In presenting these few points about First Nations', perspectives on living in relationship to place, I am struck by the same clash of tradition. My Western Enlightenment training prompts me to look through research material for common themes to lay out in a linear and logical manner for the reader. However, native presentation of perspectives on land ethics do not make this easy. Much of the ideas discussed above are embedded in text and story, although some are presented in Western : fashion in articles or books. The goal here is to bring these two forms of knowledge together: to speak of the indigenous approach to knowledge in relationship, and to do so in the required form of linear narrative. To summarize, traditional First Nations teachings concerning living in place are interwoven with general teachings on how to live ethically and harmoniously in relationship with the beings and landscape which surrounds the individual. Relationship is the key. The web of beings and forces which shape the human world relate to each other and dictate responsibility in a complex series of knots of relationships. Entering into the sharing and learning of stories of place is one of the principal means to understand those knots.  IV. Christianity  The Bible leaves no doubt at all about the sanctity of the act of world-making, or of the world that was made, or of creaturely or bodily life in this world. We are holy creatures living among other holy creatures in a world that is holy. Some people know , this; and some do not. Nobody, of course, knows it all the time. But what keeps it from being far better know than it is ? Why is it apparently unknown to millions of professed students of the Bible? How can modern Christianity have so solemnly folded its hands while so much of the work of God was and is being, - destroyed? Wendell Berry, 1993b, 98 - 99  Christianity is criticized by some writers in the other three, theoretical positions for fostering attitudes which lead to alienation from nature and exploitation of nature. Many Christian thinkers speak from a strong ethical position which frames the relationship between humankind and the natural environment as one of stewardship. For numerous evangelical Christians, the definition of a steward is a wise, responsible trustee.who makes prudent decisions in the name of ah absent or overseeing master (in  74  this case, God the Creator) concerning the use of resources and space. For others, including some Christians, stewardship is synonymous to management, an elevation of humans to an omnipotent position of superiority and freedom to do as they see fit with the natural world. Although vestiges of Biblical teaching are embedded within the latter reading, I believe this viewpoint reflects a shift away from the spirit and responsibility of true, Biblical stewardship. In order to unearth what biblical Christianity indeed teaches concerning creation, or the natural world, and thus how we are to live in place, a reexamination of biblical teachings concerning humanity's relationship with creation is clearly necessary. The Christian response to environmental criticism is divided. Lawrence Osborn (1993) classifies typical reactions into three categories: reaction, reconstruction and re-examination. The reactionists perceive "Green spirituality" as a threat to Christianity and believe that Christians concerned about the environment "have sold out to the New Age movement" (Osborn, 1993, 27). In some cases reactionists 6  may argue that the environmental 'crisis' is not as serious as the media make it out to be, and if it is, it is not worthy of much concern as the world will be destroyed in Armageddon in any case. The reconstructionists, on the other hand, accept the seriousness of environmental critiques aimed towards evangelical Christianity and modify their belief system to be more environmentally friendly and focused on a God who would not have given dominion to one creature over the others. Finally, those who reexamine Christian traditions and beliefs find a middle road, recognizing the historical diversity of Christianity and the existence of environmental attitudes and care, such as stewardship, in the Christian faith. Jonathan Wilson (1998) outlines the same divide within evangelical Christianity in terms of those who emphasize the doctrine of creation and uphold a strong ethic of stewardship, and those who attack the perception of an ecological crisis and any charge to rethink human responsibility to the natural world. The rift between these modes of thought is wide. To examine what the Bible teaches concerning humanity and the rest of creation, let us look at some of texts and tenets of belief which are being called into question.  For example, see Constance Cumbey (1983). The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age and Our Coming Age of Barbarism. Shreveport: Huntingdon House. Cumbey is a lawyer who speaks out prominently against writers such as Loren Wilkenson (Earthkeeping: Christian Stewardship of Natural Resources, (1980) for their concern with the environment and calling for changes in dominion-centred environmental ethics.  6  75  Responsibility of Humanity  Christianity teaches that humans are creatures created by God, higher than the animal world and lower than the angels (Ps. 8:5-8). Furthermore, God's commands to Adam and Eve in the creation 7  accounts in Genesis have been interpreted by many people as granting free use (and abuse) of the environment for human benefit, a position which often attracts much of the blame for the current environmental devastation (White, 1969; Oelschlaeger, 1992; Weston, 1994). Lynn White's essay (1969) is cited in numerous works from many disciplines on Christianity and environmental matters as one of the first critiques to condemn Christianity for its negative and domineering attitude towards the natural world (Berry, 1981; Wilkinson, 1991; Oelschlaeger, 1994; Hiebert, 1996). While some agree with White's conclusions and others do not, the same passages are cited over and over again: "Christianity ... insisted that it is God's will that man exploit nature for his proper ends" (1969, 347) and "Hence we shall continue to have a worsening ecological crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man" (1969, 351). White goes on to say that since Christianity has influenced the worldview of Western society, many of those who would not consider themselves practicing Christians would also hold the view that humans are superior to nature and can exploit it to indulge their slightest whim, even if it means harming the environment. It is interesting to note that White himself was a practicing Presbyterian; a second article by White (Continuing the Conversation, 1973,  out of print; cited in Oelschlaeger, 1994) not often quoted expands on  the need for an essentially religious solution to the ecocrisis. If one reads White carefully, it becomes clear that he never says that Christianity is correct in insisting that God's will is for man to exploit nature indiscriminately for his own ends. The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis is more a piece of selfcriticism and rejection of Christianity's traditionally exploitative view towards nature. White has been criticized for radically simplifying religion's role in the ecological crisis (Oelschlaeger, 1994), but the identification of Christianity with a justification of abusive control of nature remains a strong influence in environmental writing and discussion. My understanding of true Biblical stewardship is that people are to  7  A l l Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV), unless otherwise stated. 76  manage the earth in the sense of farming and living off it, informed by other Biblical principles such as the fact that "the earth is the Lord's," love for one's neighbour, cooperation, perseverance and diligence. This is a far cry from doing whatever we wish with natural resources in an abusive and destructive attitude of false mastery. There is truly great danger inherent in such a false definition of stewardship. In order to understand from a Christian worldview what God intends for His creation, let us reexamine the original commands given in the creation accounts in Genesis (emphasis mine): Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Gen. 1:28 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  Gen. 2:15  I come to the same conclusion as Susan Bratton (1984) and Hiebert (1996) concerning the words used in God's commands to Adam. Gen. 1 uses verbs which denote a rather heavy-handed approach to the land: rule over, or [Hebrew rada], and subdue, or [kamus], both imply treading down or trampling. However,  when reading the Bible, one must always look for the message of the text as a whole, both in its cultural and textual contexts. For example, according to Osborn (1993), sometimes [rada] implies oppression (ex. Ne. 9:28), but many other times it signifies normal rule; biblical scholar Claus Westermann (1984) adds that this kind of militaristic terminology was common usage in near-eastern court languages of the time. Still, if these two verbs were the only ones used in God's commands to humanity, the form of stewardship criticized by those who see it as an excuse for exploitation could be correct. However, Gen. 2 employs the terms work, or [abad}, which also means serve or be a slave to, and take care of, or [shamar],  which means to keep, watch, or preserve. The more aggressive verbs in Gen. 1 are perhaps meant to refer to the agricultural work of that Adam was expected to do, such as to dress and keep the land, as one translation puts it (KJV). It should also be noted that these commands are given at a point in the narrative 8  before the Fall, or the first disobedience of humankind and the arrival of sin into the world, bringing humans out of a state of perfection. The concept of permission being given to destroy or ravage the earth, as some have interpreted the verbs in Gen. 1, is incompatible with the perfect and guileless world in which  8  King James Version. 77  Adam lived at the time of these commands. Living alongside Adam and Eve in this perfect world, however, were many other forms of life. Humanity fills an interesting place among the millions of creatures co-existing in this created world. Humans are created creatures, connected to and dependent on the earth. In the Christian narrative, Adam was formed of the very dust of the earth; the name [Adam] is Hebrew for man and is also very similar to the Hebrew for earth, [adama] (Wilkinson, 1991; Hiebert, 1996). The words of Gen. 1:28 are actually a blessing from God given to Adam and Eve; the words of the blessing are the same as the blessing of the creatures of the sea and air. This ensures the "creatureliness" (Bratton, 1984) of humans, although humanity is also clearly set higher than the other creatures (Ps. 8:5-8). However, my emphasis here is meant to underline the morality and humble nature of humans; although high in the order of creation, we are still far below godhood and the power and omniscience that godhood entails. Part of the work required of us is to oversee the care of the rest of creation. We are closely tied to the earth — and so to outplaces ~ through the very fabric of our bodies, to other creatures as one of numerous orders of creation, and to God as our Creator and whose image we reflect. As such, we have been given the responsibility to act as stewards and care for the earth and its inhabitants. In the Christian worldview, humanity must strive for a balanced view of humanity which recognizes our membership within the natural world as well as the blessing of rationality that allows us to be aware of our citizenship. Stewardship calls for servanthood, not selfish exploitation.  Balance  This realignment is necessary to get back to a clear understanding of the balance inherent in an ethical/Biblical relationship to the rest of creation. The Christian perspective accepts that we do not own creation, but are only passing through as temporary stewards (Ps. 90:4, 10). "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it" (Ps. 24:1). Ownership of land is part of our society, but it is limited by human mortality and natural constraints on human attention: there is only so much land that can be owned before an owner cannot take proper care of it (Berry, 1993a). We tend to think of land as broken into pieces, each part owned by an individual, rather than as a whole. This perspective intimates 78  that land is for possession (Weston, 1994). In the Old Testament, the ownership plan allowed for the Year of Jubilee, when, every fifty years, all land reverted back to its original owners and any slaves were set free (Lev. 25:11,13). This was to remind the Israelites that the land was the Lord's and that all they possessed was a gift from Him: "The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants" (Lev. 25:23). The KJV reads strangers and sojourners with me, words very evocative of our temporary term as stewards and the closeness of the tie with the Creator.  Concerns  Critics, including some Christians, say that this temporality underscores the importance of salvation and evangelism, father than allowing ourselves to be distracted by temporary issues such as environmental issues (Osborn, 1993). However, this argument ignores the spirit of the law in favour of the letter. True, the evangelical theme of the New Testament exhorts believers to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28: 19), but it also includes human relationships in Jesus' summary of the law: '"Love the Lord your God with all your heart arid with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,' and 'Love your neighbour as yourself" (Lk.10: 27). This command can be extended to include all of creation in the act of love. God also promises care in a covenant with all creatures (Gen. 9: 9-17) and delights in creatures for themselves, not in their relationship to humans (Job 38-41). These four chapters are particularly clear that humans, in their arrogance, may think they hold power over the earth, but in reality, they are as dust in comparison to the creative power and majesty of God. The Old Testament teaches many environmentally-conscious principles concerning the tending of the land, such as letting the land lie fallow every seven years to give the earth its Sabbath rest. The overarching relationship between humans and the natural world is presented as care for the present with an eye on the future in terms of the physical health of natural environments, not just humanity's spiritual well-being. It should not be forgotten, however, that our mere physical presence influences and often irrevocably changes our environments, no matter how "care-ful" we may be in terms of stewardship (White, 1969; Oelschlaeger, 1994). Kathleen Braden (1998) upholds an ethic of stewardship as a response to a more destructive view of dominion, but still struggles with the idea of management. In her view, 79  "there is no question that stewardship is demanded in terms of the earth's resources under human use and the places people inhabit, but what of the wild lands that remain? ... By that identity, wild species arid places are chaotic to the eye of man; they are not tamable or manageable, even for well-intentioned purposes" (1998, 261-62), Since we cannot help but affect our surroundings, using nature for enjoyment, peace, space, silence and even knowledge is in some sense an exploitative kind of love (Braden, 1998). Braden argues that this love leads us to be "in danger of loving the wilderness to death in an effort to derive our own benefits from it in terms of recreation and refreshment" (1998, 264). Obviously, the most placeful (or environmental, stewardship) ethic would rectify this situation. This is a difficult thought for those who love and are refreshed by accessing relatively untouched open spaces. Braden (1998) calls for the stewarding of human action, rather than of the earth, being willing to leave wild areas alone, to live more densely in already constructed areas, and to move from the role of manager to that of witness: knowing the wilderness is there should be enough. The definition of wilderness is in itself a complex issue. Nevertheless, we must still strive,after that elusive harmonious balance between ourselves and the 9  natural world within which we live. Braden's decision on how she will maintain the balance is extreme. Other people, as we saw in the literature review, have made different decisions. In any case, communion with nature is a constant, unfinished balancing act (Berry, 1987); the balance is constantly shifting and demands constant appraisal. This kind of balance requires that Christianity not ignore the complexity of environmental dilemmas or indulge in oblivious self-justification or lack of involvement. Throughout the Bible, stewardship is linked to responsibility and accountability for skills, family, fellow human beings, and the land, which ultimately belongs to God. Although the word steward is not always used, the concepts of honesty, accountability and responsibility inherent in godly stewardship stand true. Some individuals, such as Clare Palmer (1992), find the chain of command problematic: Master >• steward >• entrusted object, particularly when humans are given the title of master, as Loren Wilkenson (1991) does in naming humans  While the debate surrounding the definition, role and possibility of wilderness is beyond the scope of this research, let me point the interested reader to William Cronon's anthology of deconstructive criticism of the idea of wilderness and our relationship to nature (Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature, 1995).  9  .80  "legitimate masters" of creation through stewardship. Master is a very culturally loaded word, opening the door too easily to unethical, tyrannical behaviour. Dominion is another term that conjures up pejorative and negative associations in its modern use. I prefer steward: not the ultimate master but someone left responsible of a particular charge. In reaction to a long history of emphasis on dominion, it is helpful to focus on the servitude aspect of our caretaker role in an attempt to realign our approach to the communities in which we live. Our elevated position is not meant to denigrate the rest of creation. All of the natural world holds intrinsic value simply because it was created by God. They are part of His work, and He found it good (Gen. 1:31). God's creation is full of marvelous and wondrous things: creatures who communicate in ways we cannot even begin to understand and use their senses at capacities of which we can only dream (Weston, 1994). The relationship between God and His handiwork is reflected in the expectation and acknowledgment that all creation praises their Creator (Ps. 19:1; Ps. 148:3-10; Is. 55:12). Humanity is not necessary for God to be in relationship with creation. The concept of stewardship is clearly laid out in biblical teachings to facilitate the inevitable relationships humanity has with the rest of creation. Christians must take every care, however, not to abuse the power of stewardship and turn it into visionless management devoid of care. "The earthly result of human sin has been a perverted stewardship, a patchwork of garden and wasteland in which the waste is increasing", as the Evangelical Environmental Network states in their declaration on the care of creation (1999). We cannot help but influence and modify the environment in which we live. If humanity could live separately and not interfere with other systems of life, stewardship would not be necessary. However, that is impossible. The role of the godly steward is to. live wisely, weigh the alternatives and consequences of our actions as deeply as possible, and strive for harmony. Once humans have modified (for good or for ill) a natural environment, human stewardship may be necessary (Wilkinson, 1991). Unfortunately, at that point, the best we can do is remedial. Take the example of the deer population in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, for example. Human settlement has driven off all the deer's natural predators and the deer population has exploded. Nature's population control is no longer in place. What are we to do? Some say that hunting the deer (for meat or pleasure) is fully justified, within certain quotas, to keep the herd numbers at a certain level. But who decides what that level should be? This brings us to trying our best to 81  rediscover and stabilize natural balances while uncertain of many of the present and future consequences of our actions. This is the danger that many see in the idea of stewardship; however, there may be no way around it in view of past decisions and current and future population levels. The consequences of our actions and those of our predecessors must be dealt with even as we strive for an ideal communion with nature.  The perspectives of bioregionalism, ecoferninism, First Nations and Christianity serve as an introduction to the diversity with which individuals approach the concepts of place and placeful living. Although they differ in many ways, there is a passion which runs through all four which carries faith into action. Adherents of these discourses choose to explore their responsibilities to the places in which they live and how their places have shaped who they are and how they live. What each of us believes is a central facet of who we are. In the same way, so are our experiences and knowledge of place. In the next chapter, we will look more closely at the connections between place and identity, and the role they play together in education and curriculum.  82  Chapter 5: Place, Identity & Education  When we include ourselves as parts or belongings of the world we are trying to preserve, then obviously we can no longer think of the world as "the environment" — something out there around us. We can see that our relation to the world surpasses mere connection and verges on identity. Wendell Berry, 1995, 74 - 75.  Negotiating Common Ground  The discourses discussed in the last chapter situate a commitment to place as a practical and spiritual aspect of living that directly affects everyday decisions. Supporters of these philosophies position their sense of place at the forefront of how they perceive themselves, how they wish to be perceived, and how they choose to live, morally, spiritually and relationally. A basic premise of the preceding pages is that the relationships bound up in place intimately affect who we are as people and the life choices we make. In this chapter, I explore more closely how place affects identity by looking at the relationship between place and self. In other words, place — along with language, culture, ethnicity, gender, level and quality of education, position in power relationships, socioeconomic status — is claimed as a cornerstone of identity, and identity as an important aspect of education. As every learner carries a sense of self into the classroom, he or she cannot help but bring experiences of place as well. If a sense of place can have a grounding and authenticating effect in the process of self-understanding, as I will argue, then it is time (past time) that the concepts around place be explicitly addressed in curriculum. Not many educators have attempted to draw together bioregionalism, ecofeminism, First Nations beliefs, Christianity, conceptions of identity, and critical and feminist pedagogy. This combination may appear confusing and unwieldy at first. However, threads of these discourses run through the concept of place. The concept of place has the potential to negotiate a common ground between these diverse theoretical discourses vis a vis the environment. Bioregionalist, ecofeminist, First Nations and Christian literatures teach different views of spirituality and worship, but all four promote the importance of 83  relationships and community. There is something or someone other than the self that needs to be acknowledged.' Critical and feminist pedagogy also focuses on community and relationships, both in and outside of the classroom, through an emphasis on the narratives, roles and contexts of the learners. On a slightly different tack but with similar goals in view, environmental educators (Orr, 1992, 1994; Bowers, 1997; McRae, 1998) campaign for awareness and knowledge of the personal and local in terms of the natural environment. Environmental literature (see Orr, for example) tends to present a choice between two extreme lifestyles: as a selfish individualist or an environmentally-aware community member. In reality, most of us fall somewhere in between, instead of becoming another specialized discipline or field, place and its related cognates are able to draw on other fields which have much to contribute, such as environmentalism, ecology, praxis, and spirituality. Through an understanding and awareness of place, environmental education and community/experience-based pedagogy can come together to develop an educational system which will address the needs of the learners, elaborate their understanding of self, and encourage care for and awareness of the environment at the same time.  Concept of Place: Connection to Identity  However, before a link between place, environmental education, and politically and critically aware teaching can be established, the association between place and identity must be addressed. Who, or what, is the self? What defines and constructs identity? "Who are you?" is the first question the fictional philosopher Albert Knox poses to his student in the introductory philosophy course embedded in Jostein Gaarder's work, Sophie's World ([1995] 1996). The self has been analyzed from many disciplines and under numerous names (Fitzgerald, 1993). Theories of the formation and definition of the self are in themselves a wide-ranging set of literature and typically do not deal specifically with the concept of place, but in order to establish an understanding of why place is integral to identity, I will touch briefly on some of the major theories which have influenced current Western perceptions of self. To begin with an ancient set of writings which has had a strong influence on the Western world, Judeo-Christian philosophy teaches that each a unique blend of talents and characteristics, set apart from the rest of creation through the gifts of reason, free will, and an eternal soul. Rene Descartes 84  (1596 - 1650) and John Locke (1623 - 1704), two philosophers influenced by a Christian worldview and who have helped to shape the modern, Western definition of self, characterize the self as one who has the ability to reason (Fitzgerald, 1993). With the Enlightenment, theories of the self and what makes us who we are began to be studied through the eyes of science and psychology. Some scientists are persuaded that the capacity of memory is essential for the perception of self (Restak, 1984). Psychologists and biologists dispute whether genetics or the environment play the stronger role in forming the self: this has become famous as the 'nature vs. nurture' debate (Scarr, 1988; Spinelli, 1989). Current opinion holds that both genes and environments combine to produce human development and individuality (Scarr, 1988). This is a move away from a biological basis of identity towards a more social and cultural understanding. Culture — language, geography, food, traditions, values, religious beliefs, roles — implicitly and explicitly teaches members who they are, what behaviour is expected, and other fundamental characteristics of the cultural group, even as these attributes influence and are influenced by their surroundings. Cultural and constructivist theories generally view identity as a complex and adaptive mediating process that steers human behaviour (Collier & Thomas, 1988). Understanding identity as strongly affected by contextual factors is predominant in the fields of pedagogy, psychology and sociology. According to Turner and Onorato (1999), the currently dominant view of the self in social psychology clusters around a central core of four characteristics: the self-concept is a representation of an individual's personal identity; each self-concept is a unique or idiosyncratic psychological structure; the social self is a constructed reflection and internalization of others' reactions to the public self; and the self-concept is a relatively enduring, stable, cognitive structure. In other words, each person is unique, but constantly processes the actions and reactions of those around them in order to adapt and evolve as life unfolds. Continuous interaction over time within social networks teaches common patterns of thinking and behaving which inform identity: "shared experience, shared knowledge, shared ways of looking at the world, and shared ways of talking" (Heller, 1986, 181). Morgan expands on this idea of social reflexivity: "... societal values, norms and rules are real only insofar as they are perceived, acted upon, and potentially transformed through the discursive practices that individuals participate in" (1997, 432). This capacity to generate new social rules does not, however, negate the power of the 85  coercive resources that dominant groups use to shape perception (Morgan, 1997). Feb. 26, 1998 Was reading Snyder today, The Practice of the Wild (1990). Really interesting vocabulary. He talks about 'living in place', the process of 'becoming placed or re-placed'. Cool terms! How he explains the fluidity of the relationship between my places and me, who I am, makes sense to me. "Our place is part of what we are Yet even a 'place' has a kind of fluidity: it passes through space and time ..." (27). It's good to recognize that it doesn 't stay the same, even if it is preserved. And that I don't stay the same. So there is ' room for change in a constancy, fluid kind of way. So Turner and colleagues are correct, that the self is relatively enduring and stable. Snyder is also correct that our relationships with places, and thus with who we are, are fluid. It's a process, and a processing.  Places and experiences within places are also part of the communities in which individuals interact. The relationship between place and identity flows from an understanding of how experience shapes the self. Recall Orr's (1992) impassioned appeal to allow children to spend enough time in a place to soak in it, for landscape to shape mindscape (Chapter 2). Similarly, Nabhan and Stephen Trimble's (1994) story of two adult friends reveling in their reunion with the rocks and caves where they played as children depicts the joy of coming home to a landscape that somehow is part of you, has marked you, and welcomes you home. Ecofeminist literature emphasizes this kind of a relationship with the earth as well; writers such as Griffin (1978) speak of the earth as having given her form and life. Lopez, an essayist who focuses on his experiences of places, also lays out a direct connection between self and place: "The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape; the shape of an individual mind is affected by land as it is by genes" (1988, 65). He explains further that since relationships in the outside world can be named and discernible, so can interior relationships. The shape and character of the self are deeply influenced by where one goes, what one observes and experiences: the intricate history of one's life in the land, even a life in the city, where wind, the chirp of birds, the line of a falling leaf, are known. These thoughts are arranged further, according to the thread of one's moral, intellectual, and spiritual development. (Lopez, 1989, 65) Lopez links experiences of the natural world to the shaping of morality, intellectual capability and spirituality. What we experience in the world and how we experience it is, therefore, extremely important. It is also clear from his statement that the "natural world" (our places) do not necessarily have to be rural or "wilderness". City places, too, are landscapes. One learns a landscape by studying the relationships within it; in the same way, one learns to know the self. 86  This recognition of relationship is an echo back to this thesis' point of departure with Berry's "endless fascination" (1987, ix) with the study of connections. Looking at relationships to place is a means of rooting or grounding oneself within connections. For some, the roots may already be a longestablished and acknowledged part of identity. Mrs. Smith, one of the Tagish/Tlingit women whom we met in the last chapter, grounds herself in the landscape where she has spent her life and defines herself as part of the landscape: "My roots grow in jackpine roots" (cited in Cruikshank, 1990, 163). Most of the writers included in the literature review define themselves in awareness of their relationships to the natural world, both cultivated and wild, as part of themselves and their heritage. This is not meant to imply that nature is not valuable in and of itself, but that they see themselves as part of and responsible to their places. These individuals stand in witness to the deep connection between place and identity. Sept. 12, 1999 Decided to stop by Queen Elizabeth Park on the way home. I'd mostly forgotten about it, but was driving by ... since Mom and Dad moved, we haven't had our picnics there anymore. And whoosh! A whole flood of memories roared through my head. Had to sit down here and capture some. I haven't thought about this place for years, but it is crisscrossed with childhood memories. I was smiling to myself with the nostalgia I see in Grandma and Grandpa's eyes as my feet remembered different corners of the park and knew where paths would be. ... It's so strange that a place I haven't thought of in so long, a place that is neither ocean or mountain (okay, it's a hill), is so deeply inscribed on my mind. Would you say that it's just a bank of experiences? Or is it inscribed in my identity? Or both, working together? ... Why am I trying to bring places to the fore? Or am I not trying; they 're just coming? They have been forgotten in the textbook/computer world I lived in for years. Or at least, not on centre stage. Revisiting them brings back experiences I had mostly forgotten, and wonder I had suppressed. The different places also represent the diversity of factors that have a part informing me. ... WhatJan said last night — knowing where we are from and where we are now grounds us to know where we are going and who we are in going there.  Connection to Critical and Feminist Theory  Critical and feminist theorists/educators have generated a good deal of specific research regarding the complexity of identity and the role, process, and content of education, bell hooks examines the feminist slogan, "The personal is political," in Feminist Theory: from margin to center (1984). Feminist education becomes a means of encouraging women to understand their political reality and its relationship to that of women as a group (hooks, 1984). One emphasis of feminist and critical theory (Merchant; Briskin; Rich; hooks) advocates the inclusion of personal experience and context in curriculum, often through the teaching of critical thinking to encourage and empower learners to be aware of the social,  87  contextual and power relationships that surround them (Gilligan; Freire; Briskin; Schenke; Di Chiro). This • position underlines the crucial role that narrative and experience play in identity and empowerment and particularly pertains to this discussion because of the importance it gives to personal story and the opportunities it reveals for links between place and education. In my investigation of the multifaceted fields of feminist and critical theory, I specifically looked for research which investigates the experiences in ESL classrooms and/or links between language and identity. Bonny Norton, an ESL educator and researcher, brings together the themes of identity and 1  language learning in her work. She defines identity as "how people understand their relationship to the world, how that relationship is constructed across time and space, and how people understand their possibilities for the future" (1997, 410). Norton's work echoes that of many other feminist researchers (for example, Plumwood, 1991; McDowell, 1999) in the proposal that identity is based on relationships and contextual factors which are open to change over time and space. Relationships are by nature complex; functioning within a set of relationships which often involve overlapping and sometimes opposing responsibilities and norms. For example, Norton (1996) presents the complexity of identity in the women who participated in her identity and language learning studies: Each woman held many roles and responsibilities and wielded different amounts of power in each. A student can also be a sister, a wife, a mother, an employee, an employer, a newcomer, and an insider in the different situations which make up her life. All of these roles are part of her identity and are relationships largely navigated through-language. The individual has to understand which role is suitable to which context, and what power is available to her at what time. For language learners in particular and language users in general, language, a vital piece of identity of any group (Gudykunst, 1988), becomes politicized. Pierre Bourdieu makes this relationship clear: "Just as, at the level of relations between groups, a language is worth what those who speak it are worth, so too, at the level of interactions between individuals, speech always owes a major part of its value to the value of the person who utters it" (1977, 652; cited in Norton, 1997). Through language, identity wields power.  1  .  -  A more thorough investigation of E S L theory will be presented in Chapter 6.  These relationships are not static. The agency of individuals and shifts in attitude and societal opinion also hold power. Whether or not people have the authority or ability to change the perceived value of their social or language group is the centre of a lively debate. Feminist research has critiqued the popularity of the belief that everyone can actually be whomever or whatever they dream of being, as so many were told in childhood. The belief that "hard work leads to riches, fame, success and happiness" (Briskin, 1990, 5) has been challenged as many realize that glass barriers defined by race, economics, gender, and other qualities still exist. Although this message that hard work always pays off at first appears empowering, it often ends up disempowering women in particular through its underlying message that lack of success is a result of laziness or personal failure, rather than of deeply embedded structures outside of individual control (Briskin, 1990). Being aware of what learners face in the world outside the classroom is part of the impetus behind the emphasis on personal narrative in the classroom. For example, Arleen Schenke, an ESL teacher, explicitly shapes and describes her teaching as "feminist" and "antiracist", a "practice in historical engagement": By historical, I refer to the ways in which we live our personal and collective histories in the present and how acts of remembering can fashion new stories out of the familiar refrains of the old. By engagement, I refer to the willingness to involve ourselves (students and teachers) strategically in critical analyses of the cultural/racial/gendered production of our everyday lives. (1996, 156) She encourages students to share personal experiences and to investigate what they choose to remember, what they leave out, and why. The act of personal engagement or involvement ensures that the learning be individually applicable to each student in his or her personal contexts. Pamela Ferguson similarly shapes her ESL curriculum around the real-life issues that she and her students face: "Questions of who the students are and what they want become the basis of learning" (1998, 5). Ferguson acts as a guide to help learners critically assess needs and status so that curriculum does not blindly reproduce the status quo. Every learner brings something to the classroom (Arseneau & Rodenburg, 1998). However, many of them are unaware of the richness of their own knowledge. Ferguson writes, "I want students to understand that they know how to learn. They, as adults, already have the knowledge of successful learning practices and how learning feels" (1998, 5-6). Even adults who have had unfortunate learning experiences in a school situation or who never went to school have learned "  '  •-  89  throughout their lives. It is important to tap into those learning experiences and lay them out for the learners as motivating examples that they do know how to learn and are able to do so. A great deal of foundational work has thus already been laid to include personal narrative and experience in the classroom, and can easily be extended to encompass stories and experiences of place. A familiar example from adult education is Paulo Freire's representation of praxis. Freire's philosophy of education focuses on the learner's personal understanding of and relationships to the world: "Educands' concrete localization is the point of departure for the knowledge they create of the world. "Their" world, in the last analysis, is the primary and inescapable face of the world itself ([1992] 1994, 85). When Freire began his work with groups of illiterate peasants in Brazil, he taught them to read and write through a curriculum created from their personal experience, needs and understanding (1975). Freire's method (1975) asks the educator to live among the people (the learners), observing their language and way of life. With the learners, the educator would then choose a small number of generative words of syllabic richness and common use, codify these words into images, and discuss them with the learners. Talking about the images and using a variety of syllables (at least three per word) teaches learners the building blocks of reading and writing, as well as bringing them out of their culture of silence (having been silenced by a lack of power of voice) as they consciously create and codify their own culture. This creative process eventually leads to learners seeing themselves and acting as Subjects, rather than objects who swallow the rules of the status quo. This is an example of praxis, defined by Freire as "the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it" ([1970] 1993, 60). The same creative process of moving from object to Subject is a key goal of education. Freire's literacy curriculum can easily be adapted to learning and sharing about place. Learning the vocabulary of our places and talking about our experiences of them together can help us gain what Orr (1992) calls ecological literacy, literate in how to care for and live in place. Awareness of place is a point of entry into this literacy. Sometimes students ground their identity in who they are in the classroom, or in relationship with a particular teacher. But the classroom or group learning situation is a temporary one! Teachers may also empathize with their students, but cannot fully understand or occupy the same context or roles. It is, therefore, important that individuals learn to ground themselves in their own learning and 90  experience, even as it is shared with others, and to search out the value of their care for their places and communities. Commitments to places, even if they are physically far away, are part of one's story, an identity that can be nurtured, empowered and encouraged in a supportive community of learners. In the same way that Freire's literacy strategies begin with what is known personally and expand outwards, a sense of place begins with what is lived personally and flows outward in an unfolding field of care. Throughout this discussion concerning identity and education, an explicit discussion of place as a concept has moved into the background. Nevertheless, although Schenke (1996) and Freire ([1970] 1993) do not specifically address the role of place in shaping identity, their conceptualization of and emphasis on personal experience, and their emphasis on the necessity of awareness of the roles individuals must uphold in their particular contexts, are applicable to my working definitions of place and its cognates. Investigating a sense of place involves looking back at what historical experiences shape what becomes part of one's field of care, and so can be informed by the feminist and anti-racist pedagogy Schenke (1996) proposes. One may choose not to include all past places or experiences in memory, but Schenke's questioning of what is included and why is an intriguing one to apply to a study of the concept of place in its particular blend of the abstract and the concrete, in the form of memories, physical landscapes, and relationships of care.  Connection to Education  Since place is part of the self, whether recognized or not, it is already present in the classroom. However, it is not yet always explicitly addressed in the classroom. Elementary and secondary curricula are generally prepared to meet goals set by government standards. Unit plans are available on the web and through bookstores and environmental organizations on issues such as waste management, recycling, energy use, energy use, air quality, endangered species, and animal, bird, fish and plant habitats. Such activities are and can be geared towards encouraging a sense of place, but are not quite at the point of focusing on individual experiences of place. When the BC Ministry of Education ([1995] 1999) lists "direct experience" as one of six principles for integrating environmental concepts in the classroom (the same six principles it applies to every subject), it appears to refer more to creating opportunities to 91  experience natural systems in the environment directly, through classroom projects and field trips, than to sharing stories of caring for place. University and adult classes are more autonomous in curricula decisions, but content is often driven by economic need, practicality, and tradition. This trend may become more and more common, as universities look to businesses for funding and for university/industry liaisons. R.M. Diamond (1993) bluntly gives his opinion: "The focus on research and publication and the mad dash for federal funds and external grants has diverted energies away from important faculty work and has had a direct and negative impact on the quality of classroom instruction" (cited in Smith, 1995, 75). I will argue that it has also, therefore, had a negative impact on content of instruction. In order to understand how place may fit into current education systems, the objectives and content of already existing curricula must briefly be observed, as well as the core values which education and educational institutions instill in students. Although my focus in practice is adult ESL, it has been my experience that ESL curricula and teaching trends tend to follow those of mainstream education. Looking back over commentary garnered from the media, personal conversations, mainstream texts and teacher training materials, it appears that public opinion on the quality of today's Western educational systems is mixed. Complaints often seem to be more common than praises: "children no longer leam the basics and waste too much time in group work," "high school graduates are not able to write an essay," "university graduates have not learned to think independently." The findings of an Alberta-based Angus Reid poll (1993) support these opinions: 70% of Albertans believe that students coming out of high school today have poor reading and writing skills and an inadequate understanding of math and sciences (cited in Cammaert, 1995). Employers in the business world complain that the educational system in B.C. produces citizens ill-suited to the real world, having spent too much time learning about political correctness and human rights and not enough time learning about self-discipline and work duties (Ferry, 1998). The battle between parents and the B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF) over the existence of traditional schools is another symptom of disappointment with the current participatory learning focus of the school system. Traditional schools promote a return to teacher-led instruction, phonics-based reading education, uniforms, and a greater emphasis on discipline (O'Neill, 1998). These schools are criticized by the BCTF as a reaction from like-minded families seeking refuge from the diversity that must be served in public schools 92  (the movement for traditional schools in B.C. began with predominantly Christian groups), and turning their backs on the participatory and co-operative learning methods which the BCTF strongly feels are most effective.  2  On the other hand, other voices praise the ingenuity of an educational system which has incorporated various technologies, assisting children and adults to be faster, smarter, and more savvy in the technological and business world than was thought possible fifteen years ago. The fact that Linus Torvolds, a 21 year old university student, had the intellectual capacity to create a software program (Linux)  able to compete with the multinational giant corporation Microsoft is a prime example that youth  can and do use their intellect to reach complex goals (Laver, 1999). The trend towards specialization, a common goal in today's universities, can have a side effect of cultivating students who have not learned to think holistically, across disciplines and in different settings.  Connection to Curriculum  To look at modern education's influence on learners, the cultural assumptions embedded in the system must be examined. Orr (1992, 1994) criticizes Western educational systems for producing graduates who see the individual as the basic social unit, tend to believe that technology can solve any problem, view change as progressive and traditions as limiting and limited, give more value to logic and science than emotion and instinct, and believe in the advancement of the individual as more important than that of the community. Orr views these values as harmful to the individual, to society and'to the natural' world. The BC Ministry of Education's mission statement illustrates the values Orr critiques in its promotion of the individual and his or her ability to think, work, and use technology: The purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable all learners to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable economy. (1994, 20)  On a political rather than pedagogical level, the B C T F is also angry at the "suitability clause" which traditional schools enjoy: principals are free to hire whomever they determine to be the best-qualified certified teacher, rather than hiring in accordance to the union's seniority list. Teachers can also be fired after a year if found lacking. Both aspects run directly against union rules.  2  93  The Ministry is, nevertheless, making some effort to address environmental education. One of eleven issues that should be addressed in each subject is "environment and sustainability." According to the publication Environmental Concepts in the Classroom: A Guide for Teachers (BC Ministry of Education, [1995] ): 3  Environmental education is defined as a way of understanding how humans are part of and influence the environment. It involves students learning about their connections to the natural environment through all subjects; students having direct experiences in the environment, both natural and human-built; and students making decisions about and acting for the environment. The emphasis on connections and direct experience echoes Orr's vision of environmental education, but does not necessarily critique humanity's impact on the environment or dependence on technology. Martha Piper, president of UBC, also appears to agree with Orr's.goal of interdisciplinary study. In her "Message from the President," she talks about the "responsibility of preparing the future citizens of the world" and the development of.learning and research environments that are "international in scope, inter-disciplinary in orientation and information-linked" ( This appears to be a response to the kind of concerns Orr expresses about an overemphasis on the individual. On the surface, it seems that if we fulfill these categories, we will be well on our way to educating for a sustainable and environmentally-aware society. However, these goals are paper promises handed down from government and administration. Whether or not they are actually implemented or are even the best goals for society are questions which are not always addressed. Environmental education is far too often an add-on of an obligatory unit on recycling or an extra field trip, let alone probing beneath the surface at the motivation behind the implementation of environmental programs. According to Orr (1992), the principal failure of current education, even with the above goals in place, is that it does not deal with who we are and where we are. The failure is not, as Allan Bloom argues in The Closing of the American Mind (1987), a lack of appreciation for the "Great Books", or the "classics." Orr criticizes the exclusivity of classical education  3  Under Appendix C, Environment and Sustainability, in each IRP. 94  for speaking mainly from the viewpoint of white males and thus excluding the majority of human experience. Orr continues: Western culture has not offered much enlightenment on the appropriate relationship between humanity and its habitat. ... The sum total of violence wrought by people who do not know who they are because they do not know where they are is the global environmental crisis. (1992,99,102) In other words, Bloom's proposed return to a classical curriculum reissues the same traditional set of knowledge which, although interesting and informative, only portrays limited realms of thought and experience. As ESL curricula tend to mirror mainstream curricula, tWs limited type of perspective is a real problem across different education streams. Of course, every curriculum will leave something or someone out. Nevertheless, Bloom's recommendations would take us a step backwards to return to a onedimensional curriculum which educational theorists, historians, feminists, ethnic writers, and many others have worked many years to inform and expand. Furthermore, Orr (1992) posits that since most educational settings in the Western world are indoors and abstract, students are inadvertently taught that knowledge is meant to be wrestled with in abstraction, distanced from the individual and individual experience (Orr, 1992). This tendency also reinforces the view that the world outside is part of experience but not part of logic or intellect, and has no place in education except as studied in a laboratory. Educated citizens have become so specialized in one area that they are often at a loss to see the broader connections between one area of knowledge and another (Orr, 1992). For example, I know more about the history of struggles for equal representation and social justice in South Africa through a social studies unit on apartheid than about similar struggles in East Vancouver, and have rarely been prompted by a teacher to look at similarities of racism and classism between these two worlds. When problems do appear at such close range that local society has to pay attention, individuals seem to believe that technology, government, science, or someone other than themselves will solve it. Personal responsibility is often an afterthought. This displacement of responsibility is connected to the qualities that our curricula generally attempts to promote in its participants. The ideal educated citizen, as he or she seems to be viewed by most North American schools and governments and described by Orr (1992) and Ghet Bowers (1997), is  95  an independent, specialized consumer. Although Orr at first censures universities' cultural assumptions in general, he then focuses the spotlight on the attitude towards environmental education specifically: To the extent that most educators have noticed the environment, they have regarded it as a set of problems which are: (1) solvable (unlike dilemmas, which are not) by (2) the analytic tools and methods of reductionist science which (3) create value-neutral, technological remedies that will not create even worse side effects. ... In other words, business can go on as usual. (1992, 89) This perspective allows educators to concentrate on what is important: namely, the critically thinking but individually oriented citizen. By rationalizing in accordance with these cultural values, technology is the answer to perceived weaknesses in the system, not a change in educational goals or in cultural values. Bowers, an influential environmental educator and a contemporary of Orr, continues Orr's critique of current Western models of education. His book, The Culture of Denial (1997), is a provocative questioning of the underlying cultural values embedded in the educational system, including individualism and critical thinking. Bowers (1997) isolates specific cultural assumptions embedded in Western modern education: the individual as an isolated unit, tradition as negative, change as positive, transgenerational communication as unimportant, and community as unnecessary. Teachers and learners have internalized these assumptions. As Bowers reiterates, and as we have seen in feminist and critical theory (Merchant, Gilligan, Freire), no one can think or act in isolation from his or her culture. Therefore, the presently accepted promotion of critical thinking ~ teaching and encouraging learners to think for themselves and question authority, followed by discussion in which they continue to participate (Nilson, 1997) — is not necessarily the best or most empowering technique. In many ways, many teachers and learners have internalized cultural ways of knowing and communicating. They need to leam to be aware that they have been socialized into their ways of thinking. Bowers explains: Understanding how primary socialization influences which aspects of culture will be learned at an explicit level, and which will become part of tacit understanding or ignored entirely, is as essential for the teacher as an understanding of the Constitution is for lawyers, and human anatomy for doctors. (1997,203) Thinking critically about the self, power relationships, or one's personal situation is not going to be effective or result in learning on any kind of deep level if the root metaphors or assumptions underneath are not called into question. Among the "root metaphors" Bowers (1997) critiques are those of the machine and technology, such as the computer. Piper's goals of producing graduates who are 96  "information-linked" and "who are able to use, analyze, and interpret large amounts of information" (using technology) are not in the same breath specifically encouraged to think critically about the role of technology or of the values in place that encourage them to depend on machines. The university will thus continue to produce technologically adept individuals who have internalized the root metaphors, but who may not have learned to critique them. In the same way, environmental education that does not critique technocratic and individual assumptions is not going to effect any great change in how Western society views or treats the environment. This lack of depth in critical thinking is a major reason behind the lack of effectiveness of environmental education at present. Bowers explains: Reform efforts that broaden the course reading list, or add an environmentally oriented course to the traditional course offerings will not. lead to changes in the deep epistemic foundations of modern culture. If the reform effort is to be genuine, it must expose the connections between the existing root metaphors and the environmentally and communally destructive practices of modern culture. (1997,206) Bowers' goal, as is Orr's, is to achieve environmentally conscious and centred education. However, in his opinion, the present efforts to add on courses, readings or activities have not succeeded in changing the deeply held cultural norms and ideas because they have not addressed the assumptions at their roots. Effective environmental education is not only a process of acquiring more information, but is learning from and being encouraged by how we have worked in harmony, as well as becoming aware of the environmentally destructive and productive ways in which our culture shapes our thoughts. This is.not always comfortable, for it means coming to terms with the reality that humanity has made tremendous mistakes and that we are responsible for wounding our planet in irrevocable ways. It also implies that Western society does not have all the answers and that modern or postmodern lifestyle needs radical renovation. This kind of awareness will only aid the advancement of environmental education. In reviewer Chris Sprouse's opinion, "Bowers seeks to create a constant awareness in citizens and citizens-to-be of their previously taken-for-granted cpnsumerist beliefs as a transition to a newly taken-for-granted ethic of sustainability similar in spirit to Aldo Leopold's 'land ethic'" (1998-99, 50). The process of reflection and preparation as an educator is never complete. Fortunately, after analyzing the end goals that they feel are not appropriate for education, Orr and 97  Bowers also lay out a process through which the educational system can be modified and reconstructed. When designing curriculum, the designer usually prioritizes certain concepts and values, as they are the reason he or she feels the need to design the curriculum. Orr and Bowers obviously have an agenda to promote ecological and communal sustainability. This leads us back to the discussion on values in education in Chapter 3. In this case, I think the state of this planet (our places) leaves us no choice but to teach environmental ethics. Bringing the concepts around place into curricula is one way to do this. To this end, Bowers (1997) has researched what he calls more ecologically sensitive cultures. From these data, he draws up a list of cultural characteristics which have made them ecologically centred: mythopoetic narratives which represent humans and other forms of life as equal participants in a sacred, moral universe; a metaphorical language and thought process that uses natural phenomena as root metaphors for understanding relationships and events; a view of time which see the past and future as sources of authority; a well-developed tradition of transgenerational communication; lack of focus in community on economic production and exchange; a deep local knowledge of ecological design; and emphasis on the conservation of cultural values. These features exist only in limited or distorted form in modem cultures. In Bowers' words: Western cultures have failed to recognize that many indigenous cultures had worked out the symbolic frameworks for answering questions of long-term survival that all cultures must address: namely, how to live in a sustainable relationship with an environment that cannot be taken for granted. (1997,4) Not all traditional cultures are models of ecological citizenship, but Bowers promotes the above features of symbolic development as essential to putting modem cultures on a more sustainable pathway. His goal is not to find solutions in use elsewhere and simply to transplant them onto our own dilemmas. Rather, Bowers' main goal is to urge Western societies to make a shift in thinking, or at least to reflect on the assumptions embedded in culture as a first step to truly empowering education and environmental action. Orr also proposes a remedy for the current lacks in educational systems. Over the space of seven chapters,'he lays out a detailed proposal for building an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to address environmental issues. Since for Orr, all education is environmental education in what it includes and excludes, his curriculum centres around personal experiences of content, moving education outside of the  98  four walls of a classroom, and breaking down the barriers between disciplines in order to reach a better understanding of the complexity of issues. Place creates a powerful nexus for these complexities to meet, for the understanding of a place requires approaching it from as many angles as can be imagined. Looking at place requires a combination of intellect and experience- It reeducates people in "the art of living well where they are,"  '  .  the establishment of a community of Hfe that includes future generations, male and female, all races and nations, rich and poor, and the natural world. ... A second aim of connective education is personal wholeness and transcendence. (Orr, 1992, 138) Orr uses the term "connective education" within a chapter on education and sustainability, having established that the concept of place is a vehicle through which to embrace connections both between disciplines and between individuals and their natural/social communities. Once again, the study of connections comes to the surface. There is no escaping the reality that as individuals, we are part of a whole. Identity is fractured: in many cases, individuals do not know who they are and where they are from. Education is similarly fractured, broken into manageable bits and pieces. Allowing our places to be part of learning and to study them through the lenses of different disciplines is a step towards being able to see more of the whole picture. Orr further includes an outline of an interdisciplinary curriculum covering sciences, philosophy, history, natural history, religion and ethics designed for university students to learn about the connections between ideas, assumptions, and their own place in the world: ultimately to become the concerned, involved citizens of Orr's optimism. The proffered curriculum is quite extensive. Aside from Orr, there are many other examples of environmental education programs, activities, institutes, organizations and clubs. For example, Steveston Secondary School High has been twinned with Casa Guatemala Orphanage since the late 80s. Students go down on annual visits to do work on the orphanage site and spend time with the children. They have taken on larger projects, such as helping the orphanage build a fish farm in 1989 and sustain it (Green Teacher, .1998-99). Teachers used this project to talk about sustainability and economics, while giving both Guatemalan and Canadian participants a chance to work together and learn from each other. Lee Henderson (1998), an ESL teacher at Vancouver Community College is in the process of putting together a beginner ESL environmental journal based on submissions from students and '  99  other interested writers from the college and elsewhere. He asks for any environment news stories, opinion columns, stories about environmental dilemmas or descriptions of ecosystems. Tufts University (Massachusetts: set up an Environmental Literacy Institute in 1990 with the goal of making the whole student population "ecologically literate," including becoming aware of the university's energy consumption, water use, where resources come from and how they are used, and knowledge of the eco-system. Many other examples address similar scientific issues of waste management, soil conditions, natural resources, salmon environments, and so on. For example, Ecolacy, a newsletter put out by the Environmental Educators' Professional Specialists Association (EEPSA), a group of teachers interested in environmental education and non-formal education. EEPSA defines its goal of giving students an ecolacy filter: "the ability to make decisions about their world that incorporates a fundamental understanding of the complexities of the biosphere and of the need to consider the generations yet to come" (1998, 1). The example of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma of Mexico (Mexico City) new environmental studies program comes close to achieving a truly interdisciplinary program. The program, launched in 1997, is the first of its kind in Mexico. A degree is not yet in place, but students from across the university can take courses in environmental sciences, ecotourism, ecology, environmental management, restoration, environmental economics, administration, and so on. These programs are necessary, important, and integral to the future of healthy communities and a healthy planet. The study of place is most concretely approached through sciences such as biology, ecology, botany, natural history, and geography. Place as a geographic locale or landscape is perhaps most easily definable. Nevertheless, although scientifically oriented programs may lay the foundation for caring for the environment, but there are other important sources of information and knowledge. The ecology-based education proposed by Orr and others does not appear to deal with language, literature, and personal narrative to a very great extent, although he does mention works which students should read and immerse themselves in. His proposed curricula still has very few women writers represented, fewer international perspectives, and little mention of the role specific arts can play. At the Universidad in Mexico City, the arts and humanities are largely left out. The concept of place involves more than awareness and 100  understanding of the ecological interworkings of an area. If educators tie scientific information to examination of cultural assumptions, personal story and experience, strong ecological programs would emerge. Encouragingly, some programs have begun to do so. Community and regional planning are areas which deal with relationships between people and places, and are rich with potential for discussions of place. Environmental education is another obvious focus, and has provided several examples to add to this discussion. Courtenay-Hall sums up the diverse goals of place-centred education in a short paragraph: Place-centred education is education that focuses oh helping students to understand and reflect on the characteristics of the region that they call home and the nature of their connection and responsibilities to it. The goals of place-centred education include helping students to develop their sense of connection to the place where they live; to.develop their capacity to articulate, express and act upon this sense of connection; and to understand their own place in relation to the places of others, both locally and globally. (1999b, 3) These goals for education respect the local and personal contexts of the learners and explores the connections between local and global places, issues, and decisions, as does feminist education. The main difference is the focus on the natural and built environments in which the learners live. This focus can be applied across disciplines through discipline-specific activities. APASE, the association whose work is presented in Chapter 6, is a strong example. Steven Lott, the editor of Ecolacy, recently put together a project (on schoolgrounds: Patterns, Plants and Playgrounds: Environmental Activities for School Grounds  (1999). In it, he coordinates specific BC Ministry of Education Learning Outcomes from each  core subject with meaningful learning activities outdoors. Also, a graduate program of Education at Portland State University ( focuses on connections between education, culture and ecology: "We strive to understand the relationships among culture, curriculum and.practice and the longterm implications for ecological sustainability. University classes, such as Doug Aberley's geography class at UBC, are participating in bioregional community mapping, which involves discussing language and culture as well as scientific information (Sawatzky, 1998). Orr has put many-pieces of the puzzle together; there are more to add. One piece to add is the contribution feminist and critical theory brings to Orr's and others ideas of environmental education. The feminist and critical educators concern to address the personal and the local, 101  Orr's desire to include natural and local environments in education, and Bowers' insistence on examining cultural assumptions and root metaphors can be seen as intersecting pedagogical goals. All of them view individuals in the context of relationships. Norton (1996; 1997) and Ferguson (1998) do not speak specifically to bringing the natural/physical (urban or rural) environment into the classroom or vice versa; neither does Freire ([1970] 1993; 1975). However, by proposing that the classroom address the particular issues and contexts of the learners, they are essentially opening the door to place in the classroom. Darlene Clover, Shirley Follen and Budd Hall have seen this link and have brought some of the threads of place, power, and education together in their book The Nature of Transformation: Environmental, Adult and Popular Education  (1998). They propose many activities to link the natural world and social and personal  issues which can be implemented in any sort of classroom or learning group, such as the ESL classroom. ESL classes are often sites where issues of place are near, the surface, as most ESL learners are in a position of displacement. The goal here is twofold: to ground and validate people in who they are and their places of origin and care, and to encourage that care to overflow and be applied to where they are in the present. . Sharing experiences of place is a means of authenticating and making manifest our dependence on and care for the natural world. It also allows learners to look more directly at the relationships that Lopez describes between the interior mind and the exterior world. I cannot predict the experiences of others, but if they are willing to share their stories with me and I with them, a window for understanding, sharing, and communication is opened. It bridges the gaps between experiences, allows story into conversations and into the classroom. Place is authentic and personal: thus, it is a potentially equalizing pedagogical tool. The classroom, optimally a site of learning, respect, sharing and empowerment, is an important arena for this kind of exploration. Aside from the individual and community benefits of sharing stories, education which teaches care for and commitment to the natural world, is particularly crucial in the face of the myriad of environmental crises our planet faces. Environmentalists in North America cannot sit on higher moral ground and tell those in other places what placeful living is in their local situations. We all make choices based on knowledge, need, values and past experience. Therefore, knowledge and experience of place needs to be 102  included in education so that our choices can be influenced by care for and knowledge of place. Place, is an expansive concept: particular or specific care for what is loved can grow into general care. For both these reasons — empowering the self and making a difference in the quality of life in this world — place needs to be addressed in education. Before excitement at the possibilities boils over into assurances that the world will be saved through a few environmental lessons and sessions of story sharing, let us temper the discussion by looking • back at the reality of an overpopulated, busy, complex and constantly expanding world. It is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the complexity of issues and the enormous grey areas that stretch between the black and white of right and wrong. According to Berry (1987), education will never be enough: "No amount of education can overcome the innate limits of human intelligence and responsibility. We are not smart enough or conscious enough or alert enough to work responsibly on a gigantic scale" (22). Global problems frequently appear so complex my finite mind is overwhelmed. The best we can do, then, is to concentrate on living well locally. This means being knowledgeable about the places in which we live and the relationships between them and other places. No national or international solutions can be separated from living peacefully in specific localities. Garret Hardin (1985), a biologist, echoes this viewpoint in his argument that global problems are in fact aggregations of national or local problems: the only settings where they can be solved are localities where people know and care about the environment they share. Ockenden (1998-99) agrees: economic and social sustainability starts with healthy local communities. From there, attention can be turned to the global. Knowledge will start us on our way, but it must be held lightly. As Berry warns, we need to keep our human limitations in mind: . If we want to know and cannot help knowing, then let us leam as fully and accurately as we decently can. But let us at the same time abandon our superstitious beliefs about knowledge: that it is ever sufficient; that it can of itself solve problems; that it is intrinsically good; that it can be used objectively or disinterestedly. (1983, 66) Knowledge and experience — even that of place — is never the whole story. Knowledge is never neutral, but is always complex. So, in fact, is place.  103  Chapter 6: ESL & APASE  I think of it as living as if the earth mattered. And to do this requires knowing about and understanding your part of the earth or your home. Jane McRae, May 1999, 48 - 53.  The previous chapter approaches issues of pedagogy from a general perspective on education. Since adult ESL is the field in which I situate my practice and is a lens through which I am examining place and its cognates, I will now narrow the focus from general education to ESL education. Adult ESL merits its own investigation as an area of teaching with unique issues of accessibility, instruction, politics, multiculturalism, and language. Throughout this thesis, I have used examples from ESL and my . experiences as an ESL teacher. A brief overview of current trends in adult.ESL theory will situate these examples within the contexts in which they arose, explicate current movements in the field, and illustrate opportunities for fruitful connections between ESL theory and place. To this end, this chapter will conclude the thesis with the presentation of a case study of a series of workshops entitled the Community Mapping Project,  under the umbrella of Creating a Sense of Place (CASOP), a program aimed to  explore the concepts around place with new Canadians in ESL settings. The first half of this thesis is dedicated to understanding and defining place, and has gone into depth on four discourses which have put placefulness into practice. The second half narrows the focus to education. It seems fitting, therefore, to conclude this thesis with an example of a place-centred curriculum which succeeds in bringing the concepts of the constellation of place together with current philosophies of education.  Overview of Adult ESL Theory  .  •  The field of adult ESL is a complex network of theories pertaining to a variety of issues, especially pedagogy, acquisition, program planning, and assessment. Some theorists follow Malcolm Knowles' (1970) well-known hypothesis that andragogy — the teaching of adults — is distinct from 104  pedagogy, or the teaching of children. This is a question of some debate. In practice, however, many educators do not differentiate dramatically between how they would teach adults or children, although techniques may be applied in different types of activities to different groups. Teachers may also be aware that characteristics such as age have some effect on how students learn (Scarcella, 1990). Books and discipline-specific journals (for example, see TESOL Quarterly, TESL Canada Journal, TESL Talk, World Englishes) offer new ideas, debate existing theories and present new research on an on-going basis. To simplify such a dynamic body of research will of necessity leave something out. Nevertheless, I believe it is fair to say that the most predominant ESL trends currently focus on learner-centred, participatory classrooms (for example, see Benesch, 1991; Smoke, 1998). These trends affect all aspects of teaching (activities, assessment, planning, objectives, etc.) and are manifested in a wide variety of ways. As an entry point into ESL theory, we will look at how teachers envision the language learning process itself.  Theories of Language Acquisition  How one teaches flows out of one's beliefs regarding how language is learned. There have been several influential theories of language acquisition over the last forty years, from the behavourist drills of B.F. Skinner to the currently predominant coupling of language and content proposed by Stephen Krashen (1982) and Bernard Mohan (1986). Krashen distinguishes two ways adults develop competence in a second language. The first is language acquisition, a subconscious process of acquiring language and using it for meaningful communication in the target language; the second is language learning, or conscious knowledge about a language, its rules, awareness of them, and ability to talk about them (Krashen, 1982). According to Krashen, acquisition is more central than learning to ESL pedagogy because it occurs more naturally and freely than the memorization or internalization of grammatical rules. It is crucial, therefore, that learners are exposed to meaningful language in a variety of contexts. Krashen's "input hypothesis" holds that "we acquire language that contains structure a bit beyond our current level of competence" (1982, 21): the learners' success is dependent on sufficient exposure to English in interesting, relevant, comprehensible yet challenging situations (Scarcella, 1990; Ashworth, 105  1992). It is normal for learners to experience a silent period; when students have acquired enough, they will talk (Krashen, 1982; Scarcella, 1990). They will also be more likely to learn and participate when their anxiety is low. This theory of acquisition is in accordance with the whole-language approach used in many ESL classrooms. "Whole-language" means that students are presented with relevant and comprehensible authentic language not specifically written for ESL, rather than working their way from small bits of language to longer chunks of discourse designed for ESL (Mlynarczyk, 1998). The theory behind whole-language recognizes that listening, speaking, reading and writing are not totally separate modes of communication, but are interdependent (Ashworth, 1992). ESL educators should also teach these skills as interdependent instead of separate, in drills, as Skinner and others suggested. Whole-language is also a reaction against what literacy educators call 'bottom-up' language learning (Wrigley & Guth, 1994), otherwise known as phonics: sounding words out, learning letters and sounds separately, and then viewing them in words and sentences. Instead, whole-language teaches reading by recognition. Neither i  extreme appears to be the most helpful for all students. In recognition of this, many teachers now use a mixture of phonics and whole-language approaches. Bernard Mohan (1986) proposes that language and content teaching also go hand in hand. He hypothesizes that if ESL students are in classrooms which only emphasize language development, they could be left seriously behind in knowledge and skills in content areas (Mohan, 1986; Ashworth, 1992). Nor should classes concentrate only on content and leave out language development. One solution is to create discipline-based ESL classes, and/or interdisciplinary collaborations where an ESL course is paired with a mainstream academic course (for example, see Kasper, 1998). Not all ESL teachers feel discipline-specific courses are necessary, particularly for adult classes which are not academically or discipline-oriented, or when student needs are unrelated to one specific discipline, or are related to many. In any case, many of today's adult ESL teachers employ a participatory approach where communication tends to be viewed as more important than content (Lewis, 1996). This is not to say that grammar, reading, and writing skills are not important, but are approached through whole-language and communicative techniques. In the classrooms in which I assisted as a Teacher's Assistant (T.A.), class 106  time was usually equally split between learning rules (of grammar, composition, vocabulary skills, etc.) as a framework, and applying those rules in a generally active and engaging manner (games, simulations, role-plays, drama, writing, etc.).  Influence of Critical and Feminist Pedagogy in ESL  Overall, it seems that the teaching of skills (reading, grammar, composition) is still viewed as important in ESL. What has increased is teachers' level of awareness of the personalities, cultural backgrounds, feelings, and needs of the learners.. This is in part due to the influence feminist and critical pedagogy has had on teaching in general, as discussed in Chapter 5, and in ESL pedagogy in particular. There is considerable overlap between current critical and feminist pedagogy and ESL theory. Themes and techniques made prevalent by educators like Freire, such as participatory learning, learner-centred classrooms, and issues of empowerment, have become mainstays in both ESL and mainstream classrooms (for example, see Norton Peirce, 1995; Benesch, 1991; Lewis, 1996; Smoke, 1998; TESOL). In general, the research shows an increased awareness on the part of educators that teaching is a reflective, politically charged activity, an assertion often associated with feminist and critical theory. To illustrate this focus, several authors in a collection on adult ESL in 1998 (Smoke) mention the importance of Freire and educating for empowerment, as well as putting feminist principles to use in the classroom (Vandrick, Manton, Ferguson, Norton, Mlynarczyk, Smoke, Doane, Severino, Auerbach et al., Moriarty). Both Stephanie Vandrick (1998) and Sarah Benesch (1998) state that there is not a large body of specifically feminist ESL theory and practice, possibly because ESL has traditionally had a strong pragmatic focus. Nevertheless, many educators subscribe to ideals such as empowerment without using the title of feminist or critical pedagogy. These theories surrounding effective ESL teaching are valid for other disciplines, but are being discussed within the framework of ESL for the purposes of this thesis. They are perhaps particularly important when employed in a classroom of uniquely vulnerable learners of ESL. Describing ESL students as "vulnerable" is not meant to portray them as helpless victims or as people to be pitied or coddled. Rather, it is a reminder that many students enter ESL classrooms weighted down with 107  experiences of ridicule, lost job opportunities, and misunderstandings with teachers, doctors, bus drivers, and neighbours because of their language ability. Some students may be wary to talk to strangers or share too much of their personal lives with new people, due to difficult experiences in their home and/or host country. In my own experience as a teacher in Quebec, my students experienced a low level of vulnerability, as they did not have to leave their familiar surroundings and support networks in order to participate in the immersion ESL class. They did have to get used to being lost in a conversation, stumbling for words, and being frustrated at not being able to express themselves. These are not always easy experiences for capable, independent adults. More extreme examples of vulnerability are common in ESL, particularly when students have had to uproot. Pia Moriarty (1998) relates her teaching experiences with amnesty classes in California, where illegal immigrants were asked to come forward to apply for legalized status, with no guarantee of acceptance. "Amnesty" English classes were funded by the government, and became places where some students in class were successful applicants, some were unsuccessful applicants, and others were technically still underground. What Moriarty (and I) had previously assumed to be innocuous topics of conversation (family information; address; relationships, etc.) triggered fear and wariness in these students. They were hesitant to reveal too much information about their families and origins for fear they would jeopardize either their own application or the status of other family members. Over time, Moriarty was able to prove that her classroom was a safe place. Further, Moriarty (1998) used her new understanding of the social contexts of the learners to shape the curriculum by using relevant words and the actual government forms as a basis for classroom activities, as well as helping them with cultural knowledge to assist them in the immigration process. This is a clear example of bringing the curriculum to meet the students, rather than asking the students to conform to the curriculum.  The Importance of Context Awareness  This determination to understand the contexts in which the learners live and the roles which they fulfill is a key belief in language teaching. The more I know about a student, the more I am able to be sensitive to what could help — and hinder — him or her in learning. ESL educator Brian Morgan ,  108  comments, "A community based, ESL pedagogy doesn't mean neglecting language. It means organizing and assessing second language education around experiences that are immediate to the students" (1996, 11). Specific roles that learners embrace in their lives outside the classroom can inform and shape curriculum. What better way to ensure learner interest and fit? We saw this in Ferguson's (1998) work (Chapter 5) in the importance she places on building on students' prior knowledge and experiences of learning. Judy Manton (1998) shares how she taught for years without ever doing a serious needs analysis until the distress of a Cambodian student over miscommunication with her children's teachers came to her attention. In response, Manton met with parents on a weekly basis and eventually developed a curriculum based on school materials (letters, forms, report cards), problem-solving situations involving parent-child or parent-teacher experiences, and preparations for parent-teacher conferences. Manton's curriculum became uniquely tailored to her students' needs. This is a similar approach to Moriarty's (1998) work with amnesty applicants. Both of these educators exemplify what Elsa Auerbach and Loren McGrail (1991) describe as an emergent curriculum, negotiated between the learners and the teacher. The teacher may have a conceptualization of what content and/or language is important and have an overview of the process in mind, but the learners are directly involved in deciding how to bring that process to life and what needs the curriculum should serve. In my own experience, I began teaching from a detailed weekly plan largely laid out ahead of time according to the experience of fellow teachers and the wishes of the department head. Looking back, I can see several instances where I know I could have listened more carefully to the class and let some of the direction go more than I did. As a new teacher, I was not comfortable giving up the reins ~ I was afraid of what might happen. I realize now that a negotiated curriculum does not necessarily mean chaos in the classroom, or that learners will choose the path of least resistance and decide not to learn. Why is a focus on the learners so effective? To begin with, it facilitates the development of relevant curriculum and motivated learners. Engaging adult learners in curricula and classrooms which are responsive to their needs and which address issues they feel are important is an effective means to draw in learners, particularly those who may find it difficult or intimidating to be in a classroom. 109  Further, it gives the learners a sense of responsibility in the classroom. Implementing or addressing their opinions and needs in the classroom acknowledges the contributors as valid sources of knowledge. They now speak from a position of authority. This begins a shift in the power balance in the classroom from the teacher as expert to the learners as fellow experts. As Ferguson (1998) claims, everyone in a class has something to offer. Accessing this wealth of information can greatly enrich the learning that takes place. Some teachers introduce activities in their ESL classrooms which deliberately expose and shift the existing power structures and enlighten those involved of their presence. What J. Milton Clark (1998) did in his classroom exemplifies how activities like this can unfold. Clark (1998) noticed that he continuously used standard English texts in his classroom of ESL and non-ESL students, and that the ESL students were generally rather quiet. In an attempt to increase inclusiveness, collaboration and equity in the classroom, he chose magazine texts in several different languages, of which there were native speakers in the class. The students then worked in groups to discuss how one text gave an image of the culture it represented. Clark (1998) noted that the ESL students tended to become the leaders in their groups, since they had become the ones with the relevant knowledge. They gained stature in the class, as non-ESL students appeared to realize the ESL students were not unintelligent and were happy to participate, now that they were comfortable and in a position of knowledge. Real collaboration occurred, since those who could not read the text had to rely on those who could. The teacher also diminished in power, as the foreign texts were also inaccessible to him. Everyone appeared to leam from each other, and experienced a shift in power and privilege to a certain extent. Talking about the shift as it proceeded and discussing where power structures originate could turn a reading activity into a powerful process of empowerment and enlightenment. To a certain extent, Clark relinquished his status as teacher in this activity. The knowledge did not come from him, but from the students. Adult ESL pedagogy makes a point of remembering that adult learners are not empty vessels to be filled, but are full of relevant information, knowledge, and experiences. The concern with context also extends to a belief that teachers should encourage students to deal with the social issues around them (Auerbach and McGrail, 199.1; Morgan, 1996; Schenke, 1996; Manton, 1998; Moriarty, 1998). Adult ESL learners certainly often face major issues, many of them 110  around racism, classism, sexism, and many other subtle ways of being told they are different. Still, Manton (1998) cautions teachers to make a point of not assuming all immigrants are laden down with problems. Again, learning about and from each other is an important part of working together as a learning community.  Cultural Sensitivity  Cultural differences may at times make this growing process difficult. As Patricia Duff and Yuko Uchida point out, "the rise of communicative language teaching in the 1980s and the concurrent globalization (and commodification) of education and business have placed a great premium on successful intercultural communication" (1997, 455). Unfortunately, one usually does not realize a cultural clash is near until it has already happened. There are cultural differences amongst teachers and students in most ESL classes, except perhaps in situations where bilingual teachers teach students from the same background. Cultural blunders can be humourous, but they can also wound deeply. There is no way to avoid cultural tensions completely, but the best approach is to be as aware of cultural differences and expectations as possible. Robin Scarcella (1990 ) goes as far as to suggest becoming familiar with 1  the history, politics, socio-economics, and language history of the cultures represented in one's classroom. Understandably, this can be a daunting and perhaps impossible task in some situations. Marilyn Lewis (1996) recommends learning greetings or a few key words in students' languages as a powerful gesture of respect and validation. It also allows students to learn about the backgrounds of 2  their classmates and possibly other community members. Sharing power and privilege in the classroom through making it clear that multiple sources of knowledge are desirable can also help to lessen the impact of cultural tension by showing that the teacher is willing to be out of the centre, and perhaps even to admit ignorance.  Scarcella's book, Teaching Language Minority Students in the Multicultural Classroom (1990), is a resource which outlines many of the common beliefs, practices, and expectations of several language/country groups. Although these considerations must be taken as generalizations, it could be very helpful as an overview when more in-depth research is impractical. The role of the first language is a controversial issue in ESL. Whether a teacher enforces English only or allows the first language to be used as a bridge to the second, it is key to validate the students' native languages (Lewis, 1996). 1  2  Ill  Admitting ignorance is in actuality one of the most commonly cited examples of cross-cultural miscommunication. For some students, a teacher admitting he or she does not know an answer is a shameful act of someone who does not deserve respect. In fact, for many students, the whole participatory approach to language learning is unexpected, new, and sometimes overwhelming. If students expect a silent classroom with chairs in rows and a teacher in control at the front, it can be unsettling to arrive in a classroom with chairs grouped in circles, several activities going on at once, and a teacher seemingly not able to control the "chaos." Similarly, being asked to articulate difficult or embarrassing situations in their lives (standing up to the landlord, being laughed at in the grocery store, or seeing oneself as having no power in the household) is not always an easy or desirable thing to do. These obstacles are becoming more and more common as participatory, learner-centred pedagogy becomes more prevalent. Lewis has written a book dedicated to this type of difficulty: Using Student-Centred Methods with Teacher-Centred ESL Students  (1996). She describes how many students are bewildered and  uncomfortable with the communicative activities that make up the majority of.second language classes. They can feel that they are not learning anything, are not sure what is expected of them in such an unstructured classroom, and may not feel that the teacher is doing his or her job. Lewis (1996) feels that instead of bulldozing the students into doing the activities or giving up the learner-centred approach entirely, approaches educators sometimes take, it is helpful to start gently and to let the learners ease into the new style. Starting where the learner is comfortable applies in pedagogy and planning as well as in content. Teachers can use simple strategies such as explaining or posting the layout of the day and clarifying the purpose of activities as they unfold. Often, a simple explanation of the theory or purpose behind a teacher's plan is more than enough to satisfy a student who is feeling that an activity is a waste of time.(Lewis, 1996).  Relevance to Place  There are many other issues of interest within ESL theory which I have not advanced here. The preceding discussion is meant as a summary of the spirit of the field, rather than the details. 112  Interestingly, although the physical places where students live and their relationships with places are not commonly mentioned in general ESL literature, all of the points made here about ESL are easily applicable to place. The interest in finding out where learners are in terms of their knowledge and experiences and the issues they face in their communities is fertile ground for sharing stories and issues of place. Every learner has a story or stories of place; multiple sources of knowledge and experience fill every classroom. Some ESL learners may not be ready to share personal details or experiences, due to life circumstances. There may also be some cases where other objectives are simply more urgent to attend to: a class may focus on preparing for parent-teacher conferences or immigration interviews, honing math skills for a university entrance exam, and other skill-specific courses. On the whole, however, I believe issues of place are applicable in almost any class in some way. Place-centred education focuses on experience, looks at the broader picture, and searches out how environment issues influence one's life. Even if a student is silent, he or she is observing and learning about his or her new place and culture within the language lessons. Discussions of community issues (including environmental) can actually be an activity which will help anchor students in their understanding of themselves, their communities, and what they can offer. On a practical level, students will leam immediately relevant skills and content, such as use the new vocabulary concerning pertinent issues, and be able to practice their speaking and listening skills in community and classroom discussions, watching the news, and other everyday activities. Encouraging learners tofindtheir voices and to leam how to cope with various community and personal situations is applicable to learning about their right to vote, to give an opinion on how resources are used in the community, to speak out at a rezoning hearing, and other important issues. There exists something of a gap between environmental philosophy, ESL pedagogy, and feminist theory, except in the writings of ecoferninism. Ecofeminist thought, as seen in Chapter 4, delves deeply into the relationships between nature and humanity. However, virtually none of the ESL literature I read addresses the natural and built surroundings in which people live. Each of these bodies of thought has so much to offer. Bringing the goals of ESL and place education together, we could create anti-racist, culturally aware, empowering, place-centred curriculum. 113  Case Study  Having spent time in the theory of place and ESL, I was reflecting on ways to bring this kind of curriculum to life when I was introduced to the work of Jane McCrae and Winnie Tarn at the Association for the Promotion and Advancement of Science Education  (APASE). Throughout my thesis research, I  looked for examples of curricula and practitioners who include place in their content. In many instances, these fall under the label of environmental education, a more common categorization than place-centred or placeful education. As we saw in the preceding chapter, although environmental education programs may sometimes be more focused on empirical science and less on story and history, there is great overlap between what I would define as place-centred education and the more common classification of environmental education. By "place-centred," I mean programs which specifically grapple with the concept of and connection to places, using place terminology. There are few of these, and even fewer which are involved with adult ESL learners. APASE is a strong example of a local group which targets school audiences and adult new Canadians through environmental workshops. One of their programs, the Community Mapping Project, is the subject of a case study for this thesis. It is a program which balances two agendas: to teach about community and environmental issues and the language involved, and to encourage participants to be active in their community. The Community Mapping Project is exemplary in the way it weaves together a sensitivity to learners' needs and contexts, recognition of their experience and expertise, and presentation of ecologically relevant information, all through the perhaps surprising blend of community building and science.  Who is APASE?  APASE is a registered charity and non-profit society which has been advocating science literacy in an environmental context for the past sixteen years (APASE, 1998a). Their mandate is to promote and advance science education as a way of inspiring curiosity and lifelong learning, as well as highlighting the interdependence of all scientific disciplines. Most of their programs are aimed to involve elementary aged children and their mentors through school programs, community science events and workshops; they also provide resources to teachers. Over the past couple of years, the Association has begun to 1,14  focus on looking at science as a way to investigate community, and eventually to build sustainable communities. Jane McRae, director of APASE, calls this "community-based science" (April 1999, 104). All APASE projects involve opportunities for community involvement and aim to enhance public awareness of science education (APASE, 1998a). A sampling of APASE's programming includes: ESL environmental education programs for adults; year-round workshops and community events for elementary school children, their teachers, parents and professional role models (ex. ScienceWorks; Sailing Science);  teacher workshops concerning implementation of hands-on/discovery-based classroom  activities and principles; and educational resources such as Forensic Files, Unmixed Messages, and Environmental Toolbox (APASE, 1998a).  One specific series of workshops, the Community Mapping Project, is part of a larger set of programs geared towards new Canadians, Creating a Sense of Place (CASOP). The Community Mapping Project is the program I emphasize in this study since it focuses on the concept of place and was created for use with adult ESL learners. Some of CASOP's other workshops examine specific environmental issues (waste reduction, energy conservation, etc.); community mapping is a focus derived from bioregionalism with which I wished to become more familiar in its approach to place. This is a program which McRae developed and brought to APASE at a time when the Association was looking to diversify their audiences. The goal of.the Community Mapping Project is to build community through knowledge and awareness of the politics, history, ecology and biology of the communities where the learners live, which fits well with APASE's mandate, hi describing CASOP, McRae says, "Probably the primary goal would be to develop that sense of place in the community the students are living in" (April 1999, 643 - 644, 1084 - 1085). McRae feels that one price we have paid for globalization is the loss of small communities which focus on the good and needs of its members. The current movement towards community and concern for the environment is a shift back to a focus on local concerns, while under the realization that they are connected to more global issues. With its focus on place, the program uses various lenses, particularly ecological ones, to look at the local. The material for this chapter comes primarily from two main sources: a set of interviews with McRae and Tam, the former being the author and the latter a facilitator of the CASOP program; and 115  McRae's Master's project, in which she examines the community mapping workshop components of CASOP. Following suit, I also focus on the community mapping aspect in my discussion. This chapter is meant to introduce the goals and content of this program and to present them as an example of the vision of two practitioners of the concept of place as an effective tool in teaching about the self, community, and living well in a place. By describing this program in detail, I wish to encourage those who are thinking about place and environmental/community issues by giving an example of bringing ideas of place to fruition in practice. Curricula tend to reflect the values and personalities of their creators. CASOP is no different. Let me introduce the two players I interviewed. McRae brings a background of biology, business, adult education, curriculum studies and a lifelong interest in environmental education to the project. She is the acting executive director and financial manager at APASE, and the original author of CASOP. When I first met her under the auspices of fieldwork for another course in 1997, she was no longer facilitating the workshops herself, but co-ordinating other facilitators to do so. At the time of that first meeting, McRae was working on her own Master's project, which involved observation and analysis of the community mapping program under the umbrella of CASOP, including interviews with participating teachers. One of the facilitators involved is Winnie Tam, program manager at APASE. Tarn brings a sociology background to the Association, along with experience teaching in the public school system (including ESL), an interest in environmental education, and a history of experience in developing and facilitating programs. I met with both of them for one interview session of an hour and a half, having given each of them a set of questions beforehand, and then followed up with an additional individual telephone interview. In each conversation, we discussed APASE, CASOP, the community mapping workshops, and personal understandings of the concept of place and its role in education and life.  What is the Community Mapping Project?  So what does the Community Mapping Project actually involve? McRae and Tam laughingly admit that they often needed to give supplementary explanations to teachers when introducing the program, as the title uses somewhat unfamiliar vocabulary. Both McRae and Tam focus on the use of  mapping as a tool to build community among the students by assisting them in getting to know their social and geographical communities. Since the program focuses on conversations around the ideal community and the reality of the communities in which they live, students are encouraged to grow in their awareness of and participation in their respective communities. These themes provide opportunities for learners to share stories of place and stories of the contexts they find themselves in and what they feel is expected of them and what they expect of the community. In this way the program provides an impetus for participants to become more active in their community, as they learn about their surroundings and about their rights and responsibilities as community members. As McRae describes it, It's not that we go into the classroom and do a lecture style approach. It's very handson, very engaging and so on. But the objective is to deliver the information so that they can then incorporate those more environmentally friendly habits into their lives ... The content was not as important as the idea of having students go out and take a closer look at their communities and to become engaged for a period of time in learning more about the communities, which would then down the road lead to them developing a sense of belonging. We were looking for entry points so that people would start looking at their communities: whatever interest drew them in. The idea was that through that process, they start to develop a sense of belonging to that community, and that is not something that just disappears after the workshop is over. (April, 1999, 186 - 194)  An official description of the program describes CASOP as a series of innovative workshops and resources designed to help new Canadians leam about environmental citizenship in Canada (APASE, 1998a). Viewed as a whole, CASOP invites teachers to choose a focus on community action, which involves workshops on environmental issues such as hazardous household products, air quality, and water and energy conservation; or on mapping, the Community Mapping Project. In practice, the community mapping option usually involves one or two of the environmental issue workshops described under community action. In a letter to teachers about the community mapping, facilitators call this curriculum option Creating a Sense of Place Mapping Workshops. The environmental issues workshops are aimed towards beginner to advanced adult ESL classes, while the mapping project is designed for high intermediate to advanced classes. Ideally, the project would be the most effective when involving participants who actually live in the same community as their school, so that students would be learning about their home community. However, this is not always feasible in a sprawling city like Vancouver. The Community Mapping Project consists of three to four two hour sessions. Facilitators come into a host classroom, and the regular teacher can choose to observe or be actively involved in the 117  activities. The stated objectives of the mapping workshops are as follows: 1. to enhance student vocabulary and language skills 2. to encourage discussion between students about their current perceptions of Vancouver and a critical dialogue about social and environmental issues in the local community being studied. 3. to help newcomers develop a sense of place and responsibility for the communities they are moving into 4. to energize teachers and provide them with a creative means for familiarizing their students with Vancouver and area (McRae, 1998, 23) To begin this process, the first session introduces the agenda and workshop objective, which is: "Through participation in APASE's structured mapping activities, ESL students will develop a sense of place and belonging in their neighbourhoods while identifying important environmental features of healthy communities" (APASE, 1998b, 1). Facilitators also take the time to review vocabulary, which is provided to the teacher ahead of time, and introduce mapping and the use of symbols. To open up discussion of their surroundings, a major activity of this session is brainstorming an array of healthy community indicators (HCIs). All suggestions are noted on a flip-chart and are posted during each session, so that discussion.of what makes an ideal community can continue throughout the sessions and student input can be consistently included. Students are also asked to draw an ideal community on this first day, which allows some issues to come to the surface which language barriers may have held back, and is also something concrete to which the facilitators and teachers can refer. These activities open up doors to sharing experiences of the places students left behind as well as the places where they now live, and to reflect on the differences between wanting and needing something in a community. Once approximately twenty HCIs have been generated, students are asked to prioritize their top three, and are assigned in pairs to locate the HCI in their community, fill out field maps provided by the facilitators, and describe in a short text why it is important. From this point, the content varies from group to group, depending on the issues which arise in the first session, where the school is located, weather, time available, and so on. The facilitators attempt to make the program as flexible as possible in order to accommodate a wide variety of needs and logistic details. In general, however, the second session involves the transfer of the students' field map information onto the large stationary map in the classroom, which they then discuss. Another possible  118  activity is the showing and discussion of certain videos, one portraying through animation urban growth and subsequent issues of technology, town planning and alternative ways of life, and another on the adaptation of wildlife to the city. Finally, if possible, the class goes on a walkabout together, led by an active community worker or member, followed by a debate focusing on an issue or concern arising from the walkabout. In one instance, students launched themselves into a lively debate on gentrification: whether their community had the right to displace poor people in the name of "cleaning up the street" and bringing in more upscale business. There were divergent opinions among the participants over the issue of gentrification of a particular neighbourhood, an issue around which McRae had her own strong opinion. McRae describes the experience; With one class, we talked about gentrification. This was^a pressing issue for the area we were in. It brought to the surface opposing ideals of community and place. Since part of our goal as facilitators is to address issues of concern to the students, we explored the question. There we were, on a tour led by one of the business associations, telling us how they are trying to bring better businesses and higher income to the area to build a diverse community. Many of the students fell within that category, but totally supported the idea of segregated neighbourhoods: no mixing. It is not appropriate, to have the criminal element next to their families. These are safety concerns and they are valid. Some students were adamant: "We wouldn't move in here. We're not going to live next door to the element that's here now. We think neighbourhoods should be totally exclusive. In fact, there should be walls around them and police guarding them so that element doesn't come in. " We went back to the classroom, had a debate, and forgot all about language constraints. We had people sit down and really think about what the issues were, why they had a certain opinion and what their concerns were around it. Everybody' learned. They made lists of reasons to keep the discussion moving, as opposed to shouting at each other and saying the same thing over and over. There were people who felt very strongly one way, but by the end of it they began to understand where the other people were coming from, myself included. We didn't necessarily agree, but there was greater understanding achieved as a result.  Although the issue arose amidst strong sentiment and adamant refusal to see another side to the issue, tackling it through a walkabout and debate allows the students to discuss, concretize, and articulate what they felt and why, resulting in admitted comprehension of another point of view. The third session usually incorporates one of APASE's community action workshops on waste reduction or air quality if it fits into the concerns and themes discussed by the group. Alternatively, more time can be spent on mapping or continuing discussion of issues raised by the videos, debate, or speakers. In instances where the level of English is low, this extra time may be necessary. In the fourth and final session, students share what they learned from the community members they interviewed, a homework assignment from the second session. This assignment asks them to talk to people in their  119  community about their perspective on a particular community health and/or environmental issue, or about the history of the community. Guest speakers are often invited in this session around an issue that has revealed itself as important to the class. For example, a representative from the mayor's office came to one class to speak about the city's idea of HCIs. Interestingly, the speaker faced a lively challenge from the now more environmentally aware and articulate students when a difference in community planning priorities arose. Apparently, the class was not satisfied with money spent on flower boxes and benches. They wanted better roads and transportation, and had learned that communicating their wishes/ideas to the mayor was one of their rights as a community member. The workshop closes with a homemade version of Trivial Pursuit, with questions and answers drawn from material covered during the mapping activities. This is also a chance to refer a final time to the questions and comments derived from the brainstorming and mapping activities of the first day in order to tie up as many ends as possible.  What is Community Mapping?  Community mapping is a new enough term to necessitate an aside of explanation. It is grounded in education for social and ecological responsibilities and bioregionalism (McRae, 1998). Doug Aberley, a geography professor at UBC, is at the forefront of developing bioregional or community mapping. In his book, Boundaries of Home (1993), Aberley points out how maps, as created images, reveal the aspects of a place that are important to the map-maker. Mitchell Thomashow (1995) is another educator who uses map-making as an opportunity for self-understanding and awareness of one's identity. Many members of EEPSA (teachers and environmental educators) also use community mapping. As McRae illustrates, "There are many ways of seeing a community, and mapping is a means of experiencing and expressing its features in a way that deeply engages the map-maker" (1998, 9). The use of mapping as a tool of discovery caught Jane's imagination when working with new Canadians. Aberley describes the power of maps: Whether in our minds, or printed on paper, maps are powerful talismans that add form to our individual and social reality. They are models of the world - icons if you wish ~ for what our senses 'see' through the filters of environment, culture, and experience. (1993,1) The process of map-making forces the map-maker to prioritize. By examining the reasons behind the -  120  prioritization, a map-making experience can easily become a tool for introspection and/or discussion of values and the filters that shape them. The most commonly owned maps today are produced by organizations which prioritize political jurisdictions, such as national or world maps. Others are mainly drawn to guide pedestrians, cyclists and motorists from one point to another. Sometimes these include topography, and often not. One company, Mapeasy®, deviates somewhat from this model with their Mapeasy® Guidemaps, mainly meant for tourists, which colourfully delineate the shape and names of buildings and enterprises of popular areas in principal cities. Although not quite community mapping, these maps make way for the notion that more than a street name and block number are important to map-readers. Personal and/or community involvement is key to the use of mapping as a means to build community or to reinhabit our places. This is indicative of why Aberley views community mapping as a bioregional tool. Reinhabitation, as bioregionalists would say, or growing into a more developed sense of place, involves several steps: perception that we are living in a time of ecological crisis, understanding of the forces which subjugate land and life, evolution of a vision of a 'new' culture, and organization of the diverse talents of community members "to both resist the intrinsic evil of the status quo, and concurrently to build the parallel reality of culture tied to finite and complex ecosystems" (Aberley, 1993, 4). Mapping can be useful in all four steps: as the history of the place to be mapped is researched, political and ecological (watershed, bioregion, topographical) boundaries are explored, and community membership is revealed. Aberley encourages hesitant map-makers by emphasizing that there is no good or bad community mapping: "Leave the need for perfection to the scientists; what you are being encouraged to do is honestly describe what you already know about where you live in a manner that adds momentum to positive forces of change" (1993, 5). Here Aberley's bias to view articulation of ties and priorities in one's community as a movement towards positive change is visible: more awareness, more action, and so on. The process of an individual learning about and articulating his or her place of residence or care as a map is beneficial both to the individual and to his or her community, the sharing of a local opinion on what is valued in the community. The map is important, but is only a symbol of the whole process. 121  Of course, there are different kinds of mapping projects. As an individual, I may draw a simple map of the present state of my neighbourhood. Classes or grassroots organizations may embark on a more major project of discovering the ecological boundaries of their natural community. Aberley (1993) suggests this would involve researching physiographic regions; climate and microclimate information; biomes, biogeoclimatic zones and ecoregions; vegetation, soil, geology and wildlife patterns, historic aboriginal territories; special (spiritual) and other current and past uses of the land; and so on. Maps can be any shape or size. Some look relatively similar to city maps; others vary in structure. One Aberley (1993) includes in his book is in the shape of an otter. In the mapping workshops, McRae decided to work with neighbourhood maps because of their immediate relevance for newcomers. She obtained planning maps from the city which included buildings as blank squares, and had the students conduct the field work, interviews and reflection necessary to fill out the maps. No map is a complete picture of reality; it is an icon or skeleton (Aberley, 1993). The difference is that when I make a map, it mirrors my future, my priorities, and my ambitions. When others make the map, it is their values which are imposed. Mapping is, therefore, truly an effective tool to investigate awareness and understanding of a place, to nourish a sense of place, and to illuminate the link between the concepts of place and community. McRae and Tarn were enthusiastic to share with me their experiences of community-building using mapping as a tool. The mapping begins in the first session when students are requested to draw their idea of an ideal community. Although there were moments where a student's picture of an ideal community depicted HCIs which McRae and Tarn may have found contrary to their personal convictions, the activity opened doors to portrayal and discussion of the communities around the schools. In our talks together, McRae focused on the ecological learning that went on throughout the 3  sessions. Tarn talked more about the political and historical ramifications of the concept of place. By  McRae: ... one student flipped out their wallet that was just this cascading folder of credit cards, and just drew all the stores that were from the credit cards, and that would be the ideal community. I think that some of it was tongue in cheek and I think I mentioned to you there were many other considerations going on with that particular pilot. Bad timing and so on. But I think for some of the students, that was their reality. It was a real learning experience for myself and the facilitators ... lt was in a suburb, and the main concerns with that group were the fact that... everything, they had to be driven to. So we talked about urban sprawl ...I think that was something they hadn't thought of before. (April 1999, 610-626; 633-635) 3  122  looking at the geography, history and politics of a place, students were introduced to the political system and its influence on present, future and past decisions. At times, it took a session or more for students to become accustomed to new teachers and a different set of activities, but classes soon became animated. For example, during a night class workshop, one teacher commented to McRae that the learners were much more engaged than usual at that time of night. McRae related how she and the students went on a walkabout around the neighbourhood near the school and narrated at different stops about the history of ' buildings, the area, previous use and controversies, and so on. It so happened that passers-by would hear what they were talking about and became involved in the conversation: The response of the students was like magic. These were night students ... their energy just wasn't there ... And when we went out and did this tour of the property, and we had these people jumping in and gave the whole sort of local flavour of some of these buildings; it just came alive for them. We saw sparks go off. (McRae, May 1999, 765 - 775)  Both McRae and Tam mentioned the personal learning they experienced through discussions of place and community with students. The breadth of experience and personal stories that was part of each session made for rich learning communities, which included the facilitators. Tam shared how the anticipation of diversity of opinions concerning ideal communities was at times a worry for her. Instead of this being a problem, Tam explained how she enjoys both the diversity and similarity in people who are new to Canada: When I facilitated this program, I often went in thinking, "Oh my goodness, there's going to be all these different perspectives and how am I going to tie that together and then how do I rectify my own perspectives with what I'm going to hear... What am I going to do if I have a class.of people who hate trees and think why bother having them or think grass is stupid. Or whatever. " And I often found that yes, there were a lot of differences, but most people really had in common with me in terms of what they thought an ideal community might consist of. It was an interesting realization that as different as people's stories are, people have some really basic commonalities. Regardless of whether you are a new Canadian or are a person who has lived in Canada for a long time, there are some fundamental similarities between people. We often look at differences, especially for people who are new to Canada. They can't speak English very well and, therefore, that makes them different... No. People are similar in ways and unique in ways that make them lovely. And interesting. (May 1999)  Focus on the Learner  In their development and facilitation of the community mapping workshops, McRae .and Tam bring to life the general nature of current ESL literature: respect of where the learner is situated. The 123  Community Mapping Project includes ample opportunities for learners to share their past and current experiences of place, community, home and culture. The facilitators take pains to create a supportive atmosphere and are ready to adapt the curriculum to the needs and desires of the learners. This flexibility is built into the foundation of the curriculum. When students expressed an interest in green spaces as an HCI, the facilitator focused on a trip to a nearby park and derived lessons and discussion from that. When another class was concerned about road and transportation issues in their community, the facilitator brought in a representative from the mayor's office to discuss the city's planning program. This sensitivity is particularly intriguing since McRae, Tam, and other A P A S E facilitators clearly go into the classroom with an agenda to address environmental issues. At the same time, their belief in participatory, democratic learning prompts them to be aware of and react to the learners and to go in the direction the learners lead. Interestingly enough, Tam says that in every workshop, some issue to do with the environment came up. She never had to push the curriculum in an environmental direction. This is a kind of balancing act that allows the teacher to reach his or her objectives and coyer certain content and addresses the interests and contexts of the learners. The Community Mapping Project makes this act accessible with its built-in techniques to respond to both sides. We talked at length about what it was like to perform this balance between affirmation of people as they are, and a desire to encourage learners to become more environmentally minded and communally involved.. No one, to Tam and McRae's knowledge, has accused A P A S E of trying to mold students into "good little Canadians." Tam feels that this is because encouraging students to be active or participatory citizens is built into the agenda of language teaching (April 1999). Although community mapping obviously encourages students in their community membership,' both Tam and McRae are aware that this agenda is there, make its presence known, and make sure they temper it with respect for the students. The following is an excerpt from our conversation on this topic:  McRae: It reminds me of one of the teachers telling them actually quite firmly that it was not okay not to have an opinion. And I remember being quite taken aback by that having been said in the classroom ... It caused us to sort of sit back and reflect on, were we doing the same thing implicitly.Tam: Yeah, implicitly ...I think we never overtly state that you should express yourself and you need to.' But I definitely think that we imply that.  124  McRae: We certainly encouraged them to express their opinions. Tarn: But I think that's tempered by the fact that we also have expressed a lot of respect for their cultural and personal comfort zones. We relay that pretty specifically in our workshops ... encouraging them to talk about their own experiences in their home country. I think that's a really good, strong starting point, because it doesn't somehow infer that well, forget everything that you know, forget everything that you are, here's the new template for you. (April 1999, 467 - 488)  Participant Reactions  McRae and Tarn also shared the reactions of the teachers, particularly those of the four interviewed in McRae's Master's project. Overall, the workshops were met with interest since many of the activities are interactive, allow students to get out of the classroom, and aim to connect students more closely with the community around the school. There was some confusion over the more pointed environmental consciousness goals of the program; this did not seem to be clearly communicated to all the teachers, who then expressed some surprise at the focus on green spaces, waste reduction, and air quality. McRae admits that this could have been communicated more clearly. While the themes were provided beforehand to the teachers, the pre-reading package was perhaps too lengthy, resulting in it not being read in its entirety. The locus is there; the terms "community" and "community-building," however, can be interpreted easily enough to point in more social directions than environmental if one is not familiar with environmental or place literature. In general, teachers saw the link between environment and community and appreciated the variety of sub-themes under the community-mapping umbrella and the diversity of lenses used to approach discussions of community. Vocabulary was at times a concern, as environmental and place discussions call for specific and unfamiliar vocabulary (for example: "environment," "transportation," "healthy community indicators," and a wealth of other vocabulary dependent on the situation). A wide range of vocabulary came up, since the workshops touch on such a variety of issues. Similarly, the introduction of new kinds of activities, particularly one as complex as mapping, also involves new vocabulary and an intricacy of directions. One teacher was concerned that the students were confused about what they were to do in terms of the field work, but was pleasantly surprised when quite a few came to the next session with completed field maps, right on task. On several accounts, teachers commented appreciatively on the 125  flexibility of the facilitators in terms of raising or lowering activity levels and vocabulary and going with ebb and flow of the classroom. Tam and McRae confided how this was at times difficult, particularly with a lower intermediate class whose English level was not quite up to the workshop level. Even with this lower intermediate class, Tam and McRae mentioned how impressed they were with the quality of discussion that took place. The focus on community mapping and place does not take away from opportunities for language learning. Enhancing students' vocabulary and language skills is one of the project's goals. The students were given many opportunities to try out vocabulary and speaking skills in a variety of forms: debate, pair work, group discussion, interviews, and questioning guest speakers. The interview assignment is an especially challenging one for students, as it forces them to go into the community and engage in dialogue. (Even if this was done in a language other than English, it had to be presented in English in the classroom.) Mapping and writing short texts encourage students to use their new vocabulary in written contexts as well. I believe the mapping activities, as well as the preceding and post-activities, served to enhance the language learning that is expected in the ESL classroom. In sum, the teachers interviewed were happy with the program, and felt that now they understood its goals more clearly, they could plan to integrate its themes more closely into the overall curriculum if they were to have the facilitators come again. However, the time factor is an aspect of the Community Mapping Project which McRae and some of the teachers she interviewed mentioned was a stumbling block for implementation of the program.. From the teachers' point of view, they must set aside three to four blocks of time for the workshops, a move which is not always an option due to other curricula which must be covered. Teachers appreciated the workshops, and one even felt that more time would be beneficial, but admitted that such large chunks of time are hard to find unless set aside as a separate class from the beginning. From McRae's point of view, time and energy become an issue because so much research is necessary for facilitators to prepare the workshops. Each new community mapping project requires extensive legwork and logistics, as well as continuing research during the progression of the workshops, as issues come to the forefront and students ask questions. McRae could not put a number to the amount of hours that were spent preparing one series of workshops, but it was clearly highly labour126  intensive. When McRae asked teachers whether they would be likely to conduct a similar program themselves, they responded negatively, feeling it would be too much work to do the necessary research and preparation. However, they were happy that someone else had done the legwork for them. In other words, the question of funding is at the heart of the problem. If there were enough money to cover researchers to do the necessary work, the program would be much more viable. This brings me to introduce other participants whose reactions need to be taken into account: the funding agencies. As described earlier, APASE is a non-profit organization which depends on funding from various government ministries, associations, and corporations (for a complete list, please see Sadly, although McRae and Tam still believe in the Community Mapping Project, it is currently on the shelf due to a lack of funding. APASE has been asked to produce programs which have more quantifiable outcomes than the more gradual and philosophical approach of building a sense of place and care demonstrated by the mapping project. As of September, McRae is incorporating some mapping in the elementary classroom and is looking at an in-service program for teachers, where APASE facilitators would go into the classroom and provide assistance. Nevertheless, I find it sad and unfortunate that a program that was deemed effective and interesting by its facilitators and participating teachers and students has been shelved largely because its effects are not easily counted or measured, and because the fruit is of a more long-term nature. Sending students out to clean up a stream or start a school/community recycling depot, measures which are more easily counted in terms of numbers and capacity and are more in line with the outcomes the funders may be looking for, are important. However, people need to be taught why such actions are profitable and important, rather than just doing them because they are in the curriculum. This type of approach begins with the action-plan, which I would view as the last step, instead of working together as a class or larger community to look at the characteristics of the community through various lenses and coming up with a plan after grassroots analysis. Teachers can do preparatory inquiry with their students before taking on projects, but the Community Mapping Project has the inquiry built right into the program. Although the latter approach takes longer, I believe it will be more deeply effective and more applicable because of the engagement with the planning process itself. More is invested on a personal level. The mapping project 127  is an interesting program because it draws on the experiences and the ideals/values of the people who will themselves be affected by and live within the'project. This gives them a high level of motivation to take decision-making seriously and to devote time and energy to a project and to increase care for their community. However, this kind of approach takes time, one factor with which politics and funding often have little patience. A simpler scale version of community mapping may be a viable compromise to deal with the challenge of time, although it is less probing. The rationale of the benefits and possibilities of place-centred curriculum has already been outlined in the previous chapters of this thesis. A focus on place needs to have an impact in a grounded manner, to move from theory to practice. In this sense, the Community Mapping Project is an important example. The breadth and depth of impact aimed at through APASE and through my own work may be idealistic. At times, it seems that one program among many important programs and a few teachers among many will have as much effect as splashing a bottle of water on a stranded whale. Nevertheless, McRae, Tam and I hold to the conviction that the concept of place is important, and continue to search for ways to link environmental concerns, self-awareness, and community-building. For McRae, a sense of place means that she has a connection with and awareness of the natural and built features of where she lives and belongs: It's the kind of feeling of when you fly away somewhere and when you're flying back, you have this feeling of I'm home, I belong here, versus oh, this a city I happen to be living in at this time ... It's being conscious, starting to open your eyes to what is around you. Becoming conscious is the first step before you become interested:... To do this requires knowing about and understanding your part of the earth or your home. So when I understand the connections and learn to appreciate the natural world, I become more conscious of my impact.... I believe that when people become more familiar with and begin to learn and understand more about their community, then that is where attachment grows from. And from attachment, that's where response, a sense of responsibility for protecting that place grows. (April 1999, 807 - 809; 826 - 838)  The responsibility and protection for a place grows out of this consciousness. Tam also used "attachment" and "a connection to" when talking about her sense of place, a concept which for her encompasses emotions, political sensitivities, and geographic locales which move with her as her life unfolds:  128  I find the word relationship is used so loosely: That maybe it's not a matter of relating. I think it's more 'a connection to' when we refer to things like plants. Attachment. That's another good word. Though, when I thought about it, relationship isn't a terrible word because if we view sense of place as understanding that whatever behaviour we exhibit in a place affects that place in some way, that's that whole web of life thing, right? What you do affects the soil around you. In that way there is a reaction. There is a response. There might be room for defining relationship in that, [because you're part of the relationships]. But not in an emotional way. If I feel that the sunset is beautiful, the sunset doesn't feel that way about me. Still, relationship is not the best word for that. Connection or attachment. (May 1999; 322 - 329, 340 - 385)  Tam and I were trying to define what a relationship with a place really means. English typically uses the word to refer to a two-way relationship, intimating reciprocity. This meaning becomes problematic when I am in relationship with a place. As Tam says, the sunset is not enjoying me in the same way that I am enjoying it, although there are some links between human actions and representation of the sunset (example: pollution and air quality affects how we see the colours of the sunset). From Tarn's point of view, attachment or connection are preferable terms for the link between a place and the self. I can be attached (figuratively) to something without it responding in an emotive way to me. These reflections on the concept of place mirror my own in many ways, and illustrate the connections drawn at APASE between self/identity, community and the environment. The Community Mapping Project is one example of a curriculum/practical approach to making this link. Of course, there are many ways in which these links can be represented. The fact that the project is presently shelved is an opportune example: although McRae and Tam are not facilitating this program, they continue to be placecentred educators and tend to seek out ways in which the concept of place can enter the classroom as they bring the built and natural environments around the learners to life through the association of science, community, and education. As Tam says, "I carry place with me wherever I go" (April 1999, 768). Presenting APASE as an example is not meant to imply that this is the only way to go. However, it is meant to imply that this is one interesting and effective way to implement issues of the concept of place in the classroom. Through this case study, I hope it has become clear that current trends in ESL pedagogy, such as participatory learning and empowerment, work effectively with other foci, such as place.  129  Chapter 7: Postscript Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground — you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it's going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move. Anne Lamott, 1994, 28  Thesis writing is like diving into a swirling river on a search mission. The swimmer, or researcher, focuses on reaching a particular goal. She clutches her essential questions as a rope in one hand and leaps into the commotion of thought in search of answers. She comes back to shore with handfuls of ideas, quotes and definitions: some to keep, some to set aside for further inspection, and others to let back into the eddies beside which she stands. After due concentration on what she thought were answers, she realizes she needs to plunge yet again into the' currents in search of more. Over and over the cycle repeats itself, until the answers are declared satisfactory ... for now. In this thesis, I have progressed through definition and reflection stages of this cycle. Clearly, I am of the opinion that the constellation of place-related concepts is an illuminating and important nucleus of ideas and lenses to apply to issues of how we live, and thus also to how and what we teach and leam. The natural and social communities which surround us are a part of who we are, and affect the way we look at the world. Opening our eyes and ears to awareness of them is a logical response to the ageless questions which instigated my first dives: who and where am I? From there, the way opens to discussion of the meaning of home, the possibility of roots, the reality of communities and the desire for mobility. I set out to define and delineate the concept of place, and vocabulary used in connection with it: sense of place and placefulness. Through this process, it became apparent that the experiences of a place and the care and connection which are part of placefulness have a role in the formation of the self, or who I consider myself to be, and how I conduct my life. Therefore, I conclude that the study of place  130  should be encouraged within the educational system, a system which we, as a Western society, have chosen to be a principal place of learning about oneself and the world in which we live. To this end, the examples throughout this work are chosen to illustrate how the concept of place can be integrated into curriculum. The questions which compel us to dig for answers are rarely adequately sounded out without more questions coming into being. The process of forming an idea or an opinion is an ever-evolving one. Throughout the sifting, sorting and defining, rough edges needed to be dealt with, and bits and angles not needed for this project were set aside, while others demanded to. be examined. For example, the focus in Chapter 3 on what it really means to live placefully and in community was not part of the original outline. I had to deal with it after the pile of specimens which referred to those questions grew too large to ignore. Also, up to this point, I have been mainly looking at artifacts from my own experience or from experiences of others which are quite similar to my own. The limitations of how studies and curricula are framed also need to be investigated more thoroughly. Similarly, stories from other places, other worldviews, will have much more to add to my current understanding and portrayal of place. Bringing authors from critical and.feminist theory, such as Freire, Norton, Schenke and Ferguson, to bear on place is part of an introductory exploration of the gaps between disciplines and theorists which all have an interest in education and effective, well-informed curriculum. There is a tension between wanting to be a learner-centred teacher and wanting to teach about one of my passions, concern for the environment. I consciously concentrate on feminist and critical pedagogy as an important tool to help balance my own interests and goals with those of the students. Learner-centred education is a challenge to top-down environmental education, and vice versa. There is much more interdisciplinary work to do to survey and possibly fill in the many gaps between disciplines and between individual stories. This work started off as an erratic journal of entries, a musing over the idea of place. It has grown through two years of conversations on paper and in person until it is in the form of this thesis. I view it as a major piece in the process of my coining to terms with who I am, where I live, where I am, and how I live. Although I lay this piece aside, the process is not an end. Questions I had to lay aside for this work still capture my attention. How is a sense of place affected by issues of power and politics? 131  Is being placeful a freedom that only certain people enjoy? Who and why? The politics of place and the interaction between place experiences and race, class, and global inequalities are areas where my understanding about place become convoluted. Further, how does one's spirituality affect how one views and experiences place? Personally, what does it mean to be a Christian feminist, and how does that position relate to issues of gender, class, and race in the conversations around place? These are questions for future research. For now, it is time to return to the world of the classroom and to continue the journey of sharing stories and learning from my students, becoming more consistently aware of the world around me. In other words, it is time to take responsibility and move into tangible, material action, whilst continuing to reflect on the dynamic nature of place. Working through my questions of roots, identity and place in this medium has been an effort which has been in turns frustrating, healthy, enlightening, and empowering. It is my wish that my work will open doors for others to be similarly moved in their lives and practices by the concept of place. 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London: Routledge, 300 - 323.  142  APPENDIX 1: Community Mapping Teacher Information Package  Community Mapping Teacher Information Package  ? A£ ^"jf  & ^>  APASE  is a non-profit organization  dedicated to inspiring curiosity, innovation and  lifelong learning though science and environmental  education.  200-11 I I Homer Street,Vancouver, BC.V6B 2YI Tel: (604) 687-8712 Fax: (604) 687-8715  ©APASE 1998 143  APASE  Association for the Promotion and Advancement of Science Education Tel: 6 0 4 . 6 8 7 . 8 7 1 2 Fax: 6 0 4 . 6 8 7 . 8 7 I S Suite 200 -  IIII  Email:  info@apase.bcu  Homer St.. Vancouver, BC. V6B 2YI  Community Mapping Workshop Information for Teachers APASE's Community Mapping series as outlined below is intended for an adult ESL student audience. We have targeted LINC three levels and above for our workshops, but activities can readily be adjusted to suit the level of your class.  Workshop Objective: Through participation in APASE's structured mapping activities, ESL students will develop a sense of place and belonging in their neighbourhoods while identifying important environmental features of healthy communities.  First Session - 2 hours 1. Introduction  Facilitators introduce themselves, A P A S E and the project agenda, and administer a short evaluative questionnaire. This workshop will include activities that require the students to be familiar with the vocabulary provided to teachers in the prep package.  2. Warm-up Vocabulary Activity  Review of vocabulary list; ice-breaker for us and students. A sample warm-up activity is to ask students "If you were the Mayor/Prime Minister, name one thing you would change in Vancouver/Canada".  3. Individual Drawing Activity - Draw Your Own Home  Introduction of mapping and the use of symbols. This activity is designed to determine how well the students know their own neighbourhoods. It also introduces students to mapping and the use of symbols and reveals their favourite and least favourite places in their communities. This activity is used in the initial stages of the workshop to provide a foundation from which students begin to consider and discuss their local neighbourhoods.  144  •  Community Happing Teacher Information  Each student is given a sheet of paper and coloured markers. The students are instructed to draw their own home in the centre of the sheet. Using symbols (for example, "P" for park), the students are asked to draw the nearest school, park, bus stop, tree and store. Finally, students are asked to draw their favourite place (e.g., an ice-cream store) and least favourite place (e.g. a dark back alley) close to their home. Upon completion of their map, each student turns to another and orally describes their map explaining why they have chosen certain places as their favourite and least favourite spots. Facilitators may then ask certain students to describe their favourite and least favourite places to the class at large.  4. Group Drawing Activity - Ideal Community  Coloured markers and flip chart paper are distributed to groups of 5-6 students. Students are asked to recall the communities in their home country and the communities they know in Canada and are asked to draw an "ideal community". Facilitators provoke ideas by circulating among the groups and asking students to consider transportation, housing, green spaces, services, etc. Students may be asked (depending on language level) to think like community planners and consider the wishes of many, diverse people as they are designing their community. Students are given considerable time with this activity because many students are hesitant about drawing and making additions to the ideal community, however, it is important to encourage all students to participate. This activity provides the framework for facilitators to question students on the differences between wanting and needing something in a community. Students are later encouraged to explore the immediate local neighbourhood and determine its measure against the most necessary features of their ideal communities.  5. Brainstorm on Healthy Community Indicators Allow at least a half hour for this activity and debrief by generating a blackboard list of the important indicators (HCI) from each group's drawings. Guide with questions such as: • If we want clean air to breathe, what are some ways we can reduce air pollution? • . VVhat are the most important features in communities? The list becomes their Healthy Community Indicators (HCI). Once a list of approximately twenty HCIs have been generated, write each one on a separate scrap piece of paper and place up around the classroom walls. Distribute three sticky dots to each student and ask the students to place them on the three most important elements they think are necessary for a healthy community. Select the top 10-12 (depending on number of students) and assign a pair of students to each HCI. These 10-12 HCIs are the chosen elements of a healthy community that student pairs will locate in their community and place on their field map. Distribute a , field map to each pair and illustrate the boundaries of the community. A field map can be a reduced photocopy from your large neighbourhood map. Make sure the students are clear on what and how they are going to represent the HCI on their maps. For instance, if clean air is the HCI, students could look for areas of high traffic density where pollution is a concern. The purpose of the field activity is to determine if their  145  •  Community Mappwg Teacher Information  community is healthy, according to the indicators they have selected. Does their community have enough of the features they have determined to be important? In addition to locating their HCIs in their community, students are asked to write a 30-50 word description stating what they found and why it's important for a healthy community and how it is linked to a healthy environment.  6. Wrap up  Maps increase understanding of a community by building a visual representation of the area. The mapping homework (map HCIs and write a descriptor) assignment is reviewed and field maps distributed. The agenda for the next session is introduced. We typically complete the above activities (excluding the field work) in our first two-hour session with the students, but they could easily be spread over several class periods. From this point onwards, the format, themes and sequence of our workshop sessions has varied widely, depending on the area being mapped, weather, available class times, and the specific community interests that the students express after theirfirstmapping assignment. A grab bag of our ideas follows and we encourage the reader to personalize the activities to build on the students' concerns and issues. The final section includes a sample outline for four classroom, sessions.  Following Session Activities 1. Mapping:  During the second session, our aspiring community planners are asked to transfer the information from their field maps onto the large map which will be left up in the classroom. We use symbols collected from books and magazines to represent their HCIs. Their descriptions can be pasted around the community boundary on the large map as map 'tags'. If computer access is available, students can format their map tag information for a more professional looking map. To consolidate the information gathered, students discuss in groups: • what individuals can do about problems and shortcomings they discovered in their community • steps they can take to improve the health and livability of their communities, drawing on examples from their home countries.  2. Walkabout: (one hour)  Conduct a walkabout in the neighbourhood led by an active community worker who can talk to the students about issues of concern in the community and how members of the community have organized groups or services to help themselves address local concerns. Examples of people we have worked with include representatives from a local business improvement society, a volunteer police station, a volunteer recruitment agency, a community compost garden and a city planning department.  146  •  Community Happing Teacher Informatioi  3. Contact assignment: (usually given as homework at the end of the second session to encourage an additional excursion into their neighbourhood) Each student must interview three local people (perhaps a youth, working adult a n d retired adult) about their perspective on a particular community health and/or environmental issue. Back in class, students take sides in a class debate once they have had a chance to hear about the different perspectives from within the community. This assignment could also focus on a particular subject, such as history, by having students interview someone who has knowledge of the community's history. Old photos could be obtained from libraries and archives to build a display.  4. Guest Speaker: (15 - 30 minutes)  Students are introduced to the services of Volunteer Vancouver (or a similar organization in your community) and the benefits of volunteering to newcomers (i.e. meet new people, get to practice English, get to DO something about an area of their concern, get practical experience in Canada that can be used on their resumes, etc.) by a representative of that organization. We have profiled similar community organizations like Block Watch, Volunteer Police Stations and environmental organizations through skits performed by APASE facilitators.  5. Videos  Facilitators show a ten minute silent, animated video entided Boomsville. North American style urban growth is portrayed as a voracious monster in this ironic cartoon which traces the growth of a tiny setdement in the wilderness to a sprawling, carclogged metropolis. An amusing approach to a serious problem, it raises questions about technology, town planning, and alternative ways of life. It also provides a wealth of subjects for the students to debate. Wild In The City is another video used in these workshops. This video reinforces the message that cities aren't just for people, they are also home to all kinds of wildlife birds and mammals - who have established homes within our cities in a surprising number of ways and places. This video looks at how some of the animals from birds to coyotes, have adapted to life in Vancouver (despite the traffici the concrete, and the crowds of people). By choosing to live in the city, these creatures offer city residents a welcome relief from urban realities and are a delightful reminder of the marvels of nature.  6. Debate  The students are divided into two groups and asked to consider the importance of keeping old buildings in our communities. A question is posed to the entire class: Is it important to keep heritage buildings in our communities? One group argues why heritage buildings are important. The other side argues that new buildings are more important. Each group selects a student to make a short presentation to the opposing group. Both groups try to make their own argument as compelling and convincing as possible. Finally, the students will vote for which argument they favour. A class discussion follows and brings closure to this activity.  147  •  Community Happing Teacher Information  7. Brainstorm As a class, students are asked to suggest some of the things that they do not like in their community. A facilitator records all answers on the chalkboard at the front of the class. The class is divided into small groups and each group is responsible for brainstorming three solutions to one of the chosen problems. Facilitators circulate amongst the groups and remind them to think of ways that are used to help solve problems in other countries. Sometimes open discussion with the class at large is not very effective because the discussion usually takes place among the students with the best language skills. A brainstorm, however, makes it much more less intimidating for students to speak.  8. Gather photos or slides of buildings or areas within the community and have students try to identify them. Add them to the display or large map (with arrows drawn to photos). This could be used as part of an evaluation strategy. 9. Group Projects:  Have students do a community or school project (i.e. set up a shared compost garden or organize a household hazardous product pick-up and disposal day). If garbage is an issue of concern, they could organize a neighbourhood clean-up day. 10. Comprehension Game:  Design questions and answers from material covered during the mapping activities and have students play a game of trivial pursuit; For example, what methods of public transportation are available in this neighbourhood? Allow at least an hour for the game, and assign a score keeper.  148  •  Community Happing Teacher Information  Sample Outline First Session - 2 hours As outlined above Second Session - 2 hours Warm-Up Activity - 5 minutes Video - Boomtown - 10 minutes Mapping - 20 minutes Walkabout - approx. 1 hour (depending on distance from school) Debate - focusing on an issue or concern arising from the Walkabout, such as value of densification to the neighbourhood - 20 minutes Contact Assignment - homework Third Session - 2 hours We often incorporate APASE's waste reduction or air quality workshop as our third session if it fits into the concerns and themes discussed by the group up to this point These workshops are each two hours in length and oudines are available upon request. Fourth Session - 2 hours Warm-Up Activity - 5 minutes Role Play - Using dialog from the contact assignments, students role play the community member who they interviewed. - 15 minutes Guest Speaker - 15-20 minutes Brainstorm - 25 minutes Trivial Pursuit - 40 minutes Wrap-Up - completion of feedback sheets by students and teachers, discussion of optional group projects to be initiated by teacher  149  «  Community Happing Teacher Information  Vocabulary: Please review these  words with your students before the workshop.  Parks - land for public use; used for recreation or relaxation Green spaces - landscaped or natural land for public use; grass, trees and plants Dangerous^ able to cause harm or injury  .  Safe - not harmful, not dangerous Environment - everything around us; includes everything built and natural; includes people, buildings, plants, animals, air, water Transportation - a means of being moved from one place to another; e.g. bus, car, taxi, bike, seabus Community - a group of people living in the same area; the people in a community may identify with each other and share common interests Air Quality - the condition of the air we breathe Pollution - dirty air, water, or land Garbage - something no longer needed and thrown away Centre - a place for people in the community to gather; e.g. a cultural centre Map- a drawing that shows the natural or built features of a place Healthy - having good health Ideal - our own opinion of what is perfect Sick - in need of repair; in bad health Symbol - a drawing to represent a physical feature; e.g. a cross used as a symbol for a church Water Source - an area of water e.g. river; lake, stream, ocean Block - a rectangular section of a city or town that is bounded by streets on all sides Street - a roadway for cars and trucks Dirty - filthy, soiled Clean -, free of dirt and garbage Building - a physical structure; e.g. an apartment building Store - a place where people can go to buy items Bus - a long motor vehicle that carries many passengers Tree - a tall woody plant with lots of leaves Car - a small motor vehicle that carries a small number of passengers Balance - a position between two extremes; e.g. to balance work with play  150  


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