José Miguel Calderon
Tinkuy: The encounter with our Anima Mundi
This presentation rescues the importance of connecting with the anima mundi and the imaginary that inhabits us. The concepts of Tinkuy (encounter) and Pacha (imaginary, cosmos, world) will be presented. The meeting between the Andean and Amazonian world views and expressive arts and the possibilities of this encounter will be explored.
Dr Stephan Harding:
The Importance of a Gaian Understanding
We all know how important it is to understand the Earth as a complex system. But somehow our
understanding does not go far enough to help solve the gravity of our global situation. Our current
understanding of Earth as a system is certainly important and necessary, but it’s not enough to help
us solve the global crisis. We need to go further and deeper into a Gaian understanding of our place
in the whole in which we utilize all our faculties of perception in service to our living planet. In this
brief presentation, Stephan will sketch the outlines of what a Gaian Understanding might be and will
explore its implications for environmental ethics and education.
Before the pandemic hit, the crisis on everyone’s lips concerned the climate and ecological
emergency. When they were last allowed to gather in the streets, thousands of young
people went on strike to protest against the inaction of adults in the face of that unfolding
disaster while schools wondered what an appropriate educational response to this anger
and activism should look like. That crisis hasn’t gone way, but I scarcely need mention the
What should the educational landscape look like post Covid-19? Should there be herculean
attempts to help students ‘catch up’? Or should teachers place more value what their
students have endured and learnt in the meantime? Should schools aspire to return to
normality as quickly as possible, or should there be some recognition that things can never
be the again? More pressingly, what pedagogical resources are available to educators to
help their students process the enormous trauma that the pandemic has caused? What if
schools sought out educational approaches that could designed to help their students to
heal from this experience and to cope with the environmental emergency that lies ahead?
In the face of the climate crisis, young people face a future in which they must weigh
complex considerations and determine which goals ought to be valued and which sacrifices
made. They must interrogate what we mean by justice across countries, species, economies
and even generations. They must work out how to thrive and survive in the face of a
profound existential threats. Here I argue that to do this requires the kind of careful thinking
that philosophy cultivates.
Philosophy is considered a luxury by some, even an irrelevance. But my claim is that we
need philosophy in schools now, more than ever.
Emotions, Anxiety, and Eco-social Education
The pressures related to the ecological crisis evoke many kinds of emotions and feelings. An interdisciplinary expert in “eco-anxiety”, Dr. Panu Pihkala (University of Helsinki) provides a brief introduction into the wide array of “ecological emotions” and the ways in which they could be better encountered in education.
For further information, please see his latest article:
“Eco-anxiety and Environmental Education”, Sustainability 12(23), 10149, https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/23/10149
Taina de Carvalho
In the midst of this cultural-eco-social crisis, it is crucial to raise pupils ’awareness that we are part of the web of life and to rethink our relationship with the world in order to re-imagine our future.
In 2012, I used my expertise from art and art therapy fields and started to develop an art-based eco-social pedagogy, which has been used since in the school system of several Päijät-Häme region schools in Finland, in collaboration with teachers. I pondered how to give the next generation the chance to create a more empathetic humanity which is balanced, responsible and understands the interconnections among all things. Art-based eco-social pedagogy is an empathy-generating
approach that answers the challenges of education and society by increasing pupils ’eco-social skills
and well-being. It is a creative, polyaesthetic, multimodal and multisensory method based on
expressive arts therapy and phenomenology. Arts are used as a bridge by which dialogue is created
between self and life phenomena and as a mean of exploration and form-giving. Participating in this
process allows a new kind of knowledge to emerge from the experience and the innermost of the
participants, which again interacts with the phenomena. The process allows also pausing and
exploring our -being in-this-world-, the way we are in this world and to imagine how we could be in
In practice, the method provides students with a safe and specific framework to come together to
explore life phenomena with the use of arts. The goal is to develop empathy and eco-social qualities
in children, deal with important life topics, help children to grow holistically and in contact with their
environment, find own place in this world and trigger the desire to act in it, in a peaceful manner. In
the process, the sense of belonging and connection between students and the teacher is
strengthened. Participants become visible in the whole of their being and are accepted just as. The
gained understanding and appreciation of the diversity and preciousness of life encourages acting
accordingly. The strength of the method is its holistic nature, which also gives participants an
understanding of aesthetics, develops their imagination, critical thinking, and supports academic
achievements, while preventing exclusion, reducing bullying and detecting pupils ’potential personal
challenges. Such a life-based philosophy of education would be needed in the school curriculum and
in changing culture.