Organisatie - 11 september 2014

Eco-literacy

A person who can’t read or write is called ‘illiterate’. Some­one who can’t get the hang of a computer is ‘computer illiterate’ and anyone who can’t manage their money is ‘money illiterate’.

When Louise Fresco made her opening speech, I had just started a lecture on Permaculture, a fundamental principle of which is that you should be aware of the landscape, environment and world in which you live and work. We refer to that as the extent to which you are ‘eco-literate’. If you are entirely preoccupied with your own world and have little awareness of your immediate surroundings, you are ‘eco-illiterate’. 

I hear and read that in her opening speech, Fresco argued that the gulf between science and society should be bridged. ‘Yes!’ I think out loud. In my experience, science has become too detached from farmers, from consumers, from nature and from animals. Fresco is clearly an eco-literate. Just read the speech she gave at the opening of the art exhibition ‘Wit op de Berg’, in July 2013. Now there’s the vast majority of Wageningen UR to convince. Despite all our efforts in the area of sustainability, much of Wageningen UR has become eco-illiterate. We know everything about money and we churn out endless publications on digital media, yet we have too little contact with society. Likewise, according to Fresco, society is missing from the Golden Triangle. Bravo! I’d really like to see civil-society organizations such as those represent-ing consumer interests, animal welfare and nature included as the fourth cornerstone so that we could use the term ‘Platinum Square’. 

H’m, that multicoloured battery-run lamp given to every visitor after the opening speech. Was that supposed to help bring about genuine enlightenment? Alas, I can only see it as well-meant junk. That money could better have been spent on eco-literacy training for Wageningen UR researchers and lecturers!




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