Whats in it for us- Blog #3

What does embodiment mean in regards to climate change and ecoliteracy?

The theme from all our course readings that seems to be resonating me the most is that we need to be aware of our environment and we need to appreciate it before we can be eco literate.   I think we also need to be aware of everything the environment can give to us, not just what meets our materialistic needs.

Robin Wall Kimmerer in her story Sitting in a Circle, talks about all the things that we can get from the cattail. She also talks about all the things the Maple trees provide for her community in Maple Nation.  I think we often take for granted and do not consciously think in depth what we can get from the environment other than the common the trees clean the air for us. In order to fully embrace and embody eco literacy, we need to truly see what we would be losing if we continue the way we are.

It is like the once-ler in the Lorax, he starts out thinking its just one tree, and we need the material item that the tree gives us more than we need the abstract things the tree provides.  Then we proceed from there, well its just 2 trees and then 10, then its whole forests, but there are lots more and then we eventually have large scale problems, such as climate change.

David Sobel says that it is difficult for young children to understand the abstract concepts of climate change, and I agree.  The young children though are not to young to understand concepts of what the environment provides us in a tangible way.  Things such as the worms in the ground give the plants good nutrients, trees provide shade and without shade, everything gets to warm and doesn’t cool off. Tree provide homes for animals who through their activities transport pollen and seeds so more plants and trees grow, feeding more animals etc.  When children are outside and can appreciate these basic ideas, they become more empathetic and then advocates.  Embodiment begins with appreciation of what we see, to want to keep that more than the material things.  As teachers we need to find ways beyond the 3R’s to get our students outside and see beyond materialism.


Wall Kimmerer, Robin. (2013). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge & the Teachings of Plants. Minnesota, MN: Milkweed Editions.


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