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Thursday, March 26 • 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Workshop: Eco-Literacy: Greening Public Imagination

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This workshop is based on the belief that the crisis in the environment is a crisis of education. It introduces strategies to cultivate eco literacy in the public, starting with young learners, teachers and school communities, to better address challenges in today’s society. It introduces life-long learning strategies that network systems thinking with art, science, design, and environmental practices, supporting critique of human progress and instilling a new ecology of stewardship.

This workshop takes place on Thursday, March 26 from 2:30 – 4:30 at Arizona State University. It will be led by two architects and professors of architecture and environmental design with practice and experience working with diverse public groups and teachers and schools. More information about their workshops and recognitions can be found at www.NEXT.cc, which provides 24/7 eLearning Eco-Literacy support to all fifty states and over one hundred fifty countries.

Participants will leave empowered to facilitate change in their schools and school communities, supported by an open discovery network of learning resources to share with teachers, administrators and changemakers.

Eco Literacy, a term coined by David Orr, author of Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment and Human Prospect, has been added to social and emotional intelligence as a third and necessary intelligence (Coleman, 2009). Social and emotional intelligence extend empathy and ability to see from another’s perspective. Ecological intelligence applies this capacity to an understanding of natural systems and larger Meta cognitive skills of empathy for all life. Inculcating and inspiring wonder of the natural and built world and a developing a sense of place and purpose is the path toward eco literacy. This workshop will share strategies for greening imagination through environmental awareness, engagement and advocacy concentrating on young imaginations. Introducing the OXFAM concept of the environmental ceiling and conditions that are exceeding it and social foundations that are not being met, participants will access organizations working to raise awareness, build knowledge and create change in the synthesis of water, energy and food systems. Development of environmental stewardship, or respect for and caretaking of places--natural systems in relation to human constructed ideas--requires individuals who have “a basic comprehension of ecology, human ecology and the concepts of sustainability” (Orr, 2006). This workshop shares an accessible systems thinking approach that topically connects virtual field trips, museum interactive and global art, science, and design practices with trans-disciplinary activities, rethinking relationships between the built and natural worlds. Participants will locate their watershed, map their closest river, and evaluate their daily water use in relation to water use in other parts of the world. Water equivalencies of everyday things will change thinking about how to conserve, consume and choose to use water and for what purposes. Issues of food surplus will be set against food deserts and access to food, and shared with strategies for localization. Carbon footprints will be examined to rethink wellbeing and progress. Comparisons of material extraction, production, manufacturing, transportation and life cycle will be featured that expand normal consumerism to include embodied energy, maintenance and longevity as factors of choice. Participants will find that imagination and creativity are essential energies for rethinking relationships starting at an early age, using new ways of learning, sharing data and making. Eco Literacy, a necessary form of intelligence and a necessity of 21st century local-to-global learning as part of the public imagination, is essential to creating a culture of care and affectingly changing perceptions, awareness, understanding and citizen actions.


  • Introduce and define eco literacy as a 21st century necessity
  • Address the importance of making the environment a priority across school curricula, school campuses and school communities
  • Introduce ways culture, technology and society shape design responses in greening indoor and outdoor learning environments
  • Encourage interaction between people and the natural and built


Registration for the workshop is $25 and supports continued evolution and maintenance of the eLearning network. Please send confirmation of attendance to Mark Keane at Keane@uwm.edu.

Payments can be made to www.NEXT.cc, Inc. PayPal. Alternate payment arrangements will be accepted at the workshop.


Linda Keane

Linda Keane, AIA, is an environmental designer, architect and academic, passionately active in greening public imagination. She combines architectural practice with animation, publications and workshops collaborating with diverse practices on envisioning projects that transform sustainable... Read More →

Mark Keane

Mark Keane, president of the educational non-profit, NEXT.cc, is an artist, architect, and professor of architecture. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he serves as the head of the Frank Lloyd Wright Initiative. A Retrospective of Animated Architecture, Films... Read More →

Thursday March 26, 2015 3:00pm - 5:00pm MST
Stauffer B111 950 S. Forest Mall Tempe, AZ 85281

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