Storytelling and Storymaking: A New Paradigm for Sustainability Management Joshua Lasky University of the District of Columbia (UDC) Paul Morgan West Chester.
Post on 28-Dec-2015
Storytelling and Storymaking:A New Paradigm for Sustainability ManagementJoshua Lasky University of the District of Columbia (UDC)Paul Morgan West Chester University of PA (WCU)
The Power of NarrativeOur genius lies in our capacity to make meaning through the creation of narratives that give point to our labors, exalt our history, elucidate the present, and give direction to our future. Neil Postman, The End of Education
A story about Josh Lasky and his . . .
West Chester University: Green Campus Pioneer (sort of)WCUs Green Campus Committee was charged by President Adler in November 1992 to function as a task force and spend one year studying the feasibility of West Chester University becoming a green campus.
But . . . . . .
By Fall 1999, the only remnant was the Campus Beautification Committee, which was selecting furniture for Main Hall.
West Chester University Mission Statement2000-2001
This did not appear in the 2001-2002 catalogs
As part of this commitment to the future, the University is becoming a green campus designed to demonstrate that a community can, through inquiry and education, act in a manner consistent with the goal of a sustainable earth.
Plan for Excellence 2007 Update
Encourage environmental awareness through training, curricula, and co-curricular programming, assess and reduce the ecological impact of the University, and promote research and service that foster regional and global sustainability.
Environmental Sustainability Across WCULinking Pedagogy, Operations, Research, and Service January 28-29, 2008
Curriculum IntegrationWorkshop for WCU Faculty
2 Days, 2 Local/Organic Meals15 Participants3 Colleges, 13 DepartmentsAnthropology & Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Elementary Education, English, Geography & Planning, Geology & Astronomy, Library, Philosophy, Professional & Secondary Education, Psychology (History, Foreign Languages) $50 Stipend!
Dr. Debra Rowe
Visited WCU:February 23-25 2009
President Greg Weisensteins Inaugural AddressRegardless of our students' choice of major, upon graduation from West Chester University, they should be clearly identifiable as champions of the environment. (September 25, 2009)
Are you ready to start earning a certificate in Education for Sustainability? Learn how to help others understand the challenge of sustainability and become activeparticipants in solutions. Youll be prepared to create real change in your profession, community, and daily life with courses that emphasize outdoor, experiential, and project-based learning.Visit www.wcupa.edu or contact Dr. Paul Morgan at 610-436-6945 email@example.com
Sustainability Coordinator (Half-Time) Reports directly to the President
Peter BardaglioFebruary 9-10, 2012
WCU Strategic Planning ProcessWCU Strategic Planning Committee Sustainability one of 5 Themes
Reflections & Lessons
Think big, but dont fail; it poisons the water for yearsLearn how the bureaucracy worksFocus on critical leverage points (e.g. The Strategic Plan)Make effective use of outside expertsTop-level support helps, but start where you areAct like you belong at the table, not like a marginalized, glorified student environmental clubReach out go beyond the usual suspects
But . . . I often get the feeling that all of this is happening in a bubble
Occasionally we glimpse a bigger story outside the institutional bubble with its familiar paradigm of change management: goal-setting, action-planning, implementation, assessment, evaluation, etc.
Once upon a time . . . there was a planet
6th Mass Extinction
6th Mass Extinction
Footprints and Consumption
Crisis of Professional NarrativeThis story of the planet has brought me to a crisis point in my story as a sustainability professional. For sustainability in higher education, these are good times, but the reality is that there is an enormous gap separating the severity of the planetary crisis and even my best responses to it.
Grappling with the Crisis of NarrativeHow can we operate in the old story where we have our current jobs and a habitual way of life while simultaneously telling and making a new story in which we open up the possibility of a viable future?
Heres how Ive been grappling with the gap . . .
What does the gap mean?It means sustainability is not exclusively, or even primarily, an engineering problem
Sustainability is a metaphysical problem that calls for intervention at the level of personal, institutional, and cultural stories
Its all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. --Thomas Berry
Telling and enacting a new story begins with a clear recognition that all narratives are imperfect, and potentially dangerous. Yet we cannot live without them so we should tell and enact our stories wisely.
Now for the first time in human history, a particular worldview is becoming conscious of its own impending fall (all previous civilizations collapsed probably without ever understanding why) and has the opportunity to consciously re-forge its worldview to confront the threat. --Jon Kohl (from www.jonkohl.com)
A Unique Historical Moment
We can deploy graphs and data or . . . .
A story about a civilizational train . . .
A Hard TruthAlmost everything being done in the name of sustainable development addresses and attempts to reduce unsustainability. But reducing unsustainability, although critical, does not and will not create sustainability --John R. Ehrenfeld, Sustainability by Design
Deliberate worldview change is
2) Not widely desired
3) Fraught with paradoxes
Cant we just green the old story? Can we really meet the challenge of sustainability if we do not change the story of what higher education is for?
Economic Utility, Consumership, and Technophilia?
Critical ChoiceWill we envision and make a new story or simply fulfill the story of the future we have been conditioned to accept as desirable and . . . inevitable?from www.mentaloptima.com
The story of the future?
Where do we go from here?A Creative Storytelling Leap
How do we mind the gap?
Less Unsustainability Sustainability
What story will they tell?What is the story people will tell in 2212 about how we managed to get off track, cross the chasm, and begin telling and making a new story?
Daniel Quinn If there are still people here in 200 years, they wont be thinking the way we do. I can make that prediction with confidence, because if people go on thinking the way we do, then theyll go on living the way we doand there wont be any people here in 200 years.
The New Renaissance The extraordinary thing thats going to happen in the next two or three decades is that a great second renaissance is going to occur. Nothing less than that is going to save us. - Daniel Quinn
What is the story of how this happened?
Sustainabilitythe possibility that human and other life will flourish on the planet forever--John R. Ehrenfeld
Education for SustainabilityStarter Principles for Enacting a New StoryPrinciple #1: Buying time is OK if we know what were buying time forPrinciple #2: Increase the creative tension emphasize the difficulty. More doom and gloom please!Principle #3: Encourage couragePrinciple #4: Learn how to imagine and see around cornersPrinciple #5: Short-circuit the game of school: the game only makes sense if were committed to the current storyPrinciple #6: Provide glimpses of a new story, outside the bubble, off the tracks, and outside the MatrixPrinciple #7: Always keep it realPrinciple #8: We learn what we live require experiences, not courses
Education for SustainabilitySome More PrinciplesPrinciple #9: Loosen the cultural grip with cosmology, big picture perspectives, and metaphysical-spiritual questionsPrinciple #10: Focus less on curriculum and more on culture and mindscapePrinciple #11: Unplug. The revolution will not be televisedPrinciple #12: Think in epoch-changing terms (the New Renaissance). This is the Great Work, and these are transitional times; we wont see the end of it. It must awaken in us a sense of incredible opportunity, privilege, and responsibilityPrinciple #14: Focus less on school and more on culturePrinciple #15: Resist temptations to be a winner in the old story and learn how to engage opponents in telling and making a new story
Education for SustainabilitySome PrinciplesPrinciple #16: Provide powerful, memorable, transformative experiencesPrinciple #17: Loves got a lot to do with it. Help others fall in love with the world.Principle #18: Cultivate creativity, imagination, and real skillPrinciple #19: Heal the split between what we think and what we doPrinciple #20: Educate for real transformation individual and cultural
Telling Our Stories
Keep it positive . . .
Be bold and visionary
Telling Your Story1. Whats the story you have actually been enacting?2. Whats the story you want, hope, need to enact?Are they the same?3. How can you retell the story of your work in a way that celebrates successes while acknowledging the enormity of the sustainability challenge?4. What can you do that makes it more likely that surprising, non-linear change will happen?
InspirationWhat historical lessons can we take inspiration from?
What will inspire us to see our work in epoch-making proportions?
Mastering Behavior ChangeHow can we take back the art of storytelling and put it to use in the sustainability movement?
(Master storytellers are behavior change engineers. Right now, the masters are people who have managed to successfully get us to buy stuff we dont need, get us to eat things that are slowly killing us, and otherwise waste our time/health/money.)
Storytelling and Storymaking:A New Paradigm for Sustainability ManagementJoshua Lasky firstname.lastname@example.orgPaul Morgan email@example.com
Success in the old story tends to decrease creative tension
Buying time for what?
Educate for Transformation
Cultivate a Big Picture PerspectiveThe only real hope of people today is probably a renewal of our certainty that we are rooted in the earth and, at the same time, the cosmos.-Vaclav HavelThe Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994)
We Learn What We Livefrom www.mentaloptima.com
Narrative of TechnologyIt offers speed, efficiency, and convenience for all who subscribe to it. It is a powerful story that has turned means into ends. Its vision of the future is a techno-utopia, but it is a false narrative.
The Narrative of Economic UtilityIt is a passionless god, cold and severe. But it makes a promise, and not a trivial one. Addressing the young, it offers a covenant of sorts with them: If you will pay attention in school, and do your homework, and score well on tests, and behave yourself, you will be rewarded with a well-paying job when you are done. Its driving idea is that the purpose of schooling is to prepare children for competent entry into the economic life of a community. It follows from this that any school activity not designed to further this end is seen as a frill or an ornament which is to say, a waste of valuable time.
Narrative of ConsumershipYou are what you buy. Clearly a false and distracting narrative, but like other narratives, it has incredible power. Why? Because the greatest storytelling tools in our culture are fueled by and are devoted to the narrative of consumership.