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Open AccessArticle

From the Anthropocene to Mutual Thriving: An Agenda for Higher Education in the Ecozoic

1
Department of Natural Resources Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada
2
Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
3
Gund Institute for Environment, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
4
Food Systems Graduate Program, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
5
Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3312; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123312
Received: 1 May 2019 / Revised: 2 June 2019 / Accepted: 13 June 2019 / Published: 15 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Research Agenda for Ecological Economics)
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PDF [289 KB, uploaded 15 June 2019]
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Abstract

Higher education in the global North, and exported elsewhere, is complicit in driving the planet’s socio-ecological crises by teaching how to most effectively marginalize and plunder Earth and human communities. As students and activists within the academic system, we take a firm stand to arrest this cycle, and to redirect education toward teaching how to create conditions for all life to thrive. In this paper, we articulate a research and education agenda for co-constructing knowledge and wisdom, and propose shifts in the ‘ologies from the current, destructive modes to intended regenerative counterparts. We offer to shift from an ontology of separation to that of interconnectedness; from an epistemology of domination to that of egalitarian relationship; and from an axiology of development to that of plural values for world- and meaning-making. Such paradigm shifts reflect the foundational aspirations of the consilient transdiscipline of ecological economics. We analyze several introductory university textbooks in economics, law, and natural sciences, to demonstrate how destructive ‘ologies are taught in North American universities, and how such teaching implicitly undermines critical inquiry and effective challenge. Our strategy for change is to provide a new theoretical framework for education: the regenerative ‘ologies of the Ecozoic’, based on biophysicality, embedded relationality, pluralism, and the sustainable well-being of all members in the community of life. View Full-Text
Keywords: Higher education; Ecozoic; justice; sustainability; pluriverse; interdependence; relationality; ecological economics; research agenda; textbooks Higher education; Ecozoic; justice; sustainability; pluriverse; interdependence; relationality; ecological economics; research agenda; textbooks
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Vargas Roncancio, I.; Temper, L.; Sterlin, J.; Smolyar, N.L.; Sellers, S.; Moore, M.; Melgar-Melgar, R.; Larson, J.; Horner, C.; Erickson, J.D.; Egler, M.; Brown, P.G.; Boulot, E.; Beigi, T.; Babcock, M. From the Anthropocene to Mutual Thriving: An Agenda for Higher Education in the Ecozoic. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3312.

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