This post is a summary of a workshop presented on the topic of Justice and Sustainability as part of a full day Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) 2013 Sustainability Conference by Kerry Rush, Senior Education Officer, ResourceLink and Rick Dalmau, Building Officer, Building Services. During this workshop the new BCE Justice Education Policy was unpacked and its practical application for schools and offices explored. What was different about the workshop was the way in which the content of the document and a sense of the sacredness of place were explored by participants actively engaging with an ASSISI – A Strategic Systems-based Integrated Sustainability Initiative approach advocated by Catholic Earth Care.
How is taking this approach different to the delivery of most workshops?
This type of approach involves developing a participatory culture – one which encourages and skills groups of people to engage in processes that host and gather the collective intelligence of a group, organisation and its stakeholder in creating sustainable solutions and bring about change. Today the participatory culture of the world is being enhanced and somewhat driven by the internet and technology, however, it is also a reflection on a world that is becoming increasingly complex and fragmented and many believing there is a genuine need for the gathering of collective intelligence to arrive at sustainable solutions to world problems.
To foster participatory culture, intentionally half of the Justice and Sustainability workshop was genuinely participatory. Those present were shown ASSISI processes and given opportunity to dialogue, connect and tune into the assumptions and beliefs of others through active, empathetic listening and generative conversations.
One creative and effective learning opportunity on sustainability was the ‘hands on core activity’, which was based on the idea in this video:
This involved participants creating imagined earth core samples with aligning narratives from past ages through to today and a possible future. This group activity combined with an exploration of local vegetation; in particular, the silky oak tree, which engaged participants holistically. All were given time to be present in the here and now at Riverglenn by the Brisbane River, to reflect on the beauty of the silky oak tree within the splendor of God’s creation, and explore the aesthetic beauty of the silky oak’s rays revealed in the built environment. These approaches meant participants in the short one-hour space of the workshop had time to wonder, learn, converse, question and be taken to new places of understanding about Sustainability.
For more information and details click here for the workshop PowerPoint.