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AbstractThis paper will argue that a curriculum for sustainability can only arise through practical actions that are focused on ecological principles. To realize this we need to invest time and energy to establish basic operational conditions in our schools which foster such principles; these conditions are what I have called elsewhere an eco-capability (Clarke 2010). They are a framework for understanding and focusing our learning and action concerned with sustainable living. They will be informed by, and evolve through human activity and experience, but connect closely with natural systems and processes all aligned to growing food (Clarke forthcoming). The basic idea is designed around a set of modules that schools use that guide their actions to become sustainable. The modules set the ground which connect learning to energy, water, waste and land. Our experience, arising from the Incredible Edible1 (Clarke 2009) programme has taught us that the basic ideas of sustainable living need not be overcomplicated, indeed, they resonate with the everyday and encourage creative engagement, but they have to provide routes for profound change in organizational and individual behaviour. What is more complex, and remains a testing matter, is how to proceed and engage with a school community in a way that enables teachers to integrate ideas about sustainable living in the curriculum (Capra 2010). We have found that learning and understanding about sustainable living comes from action, from doing things and seeing how sustainable living can be easily undertaken. Our approach is best experienced as a living, emergent, formative, evolutionary form of pedagogy. It has to relate and reflect the reality of where we live, and acknowledge that we are in the main living in far from sustainable communities. Our central dilemma when it comes to mainstream education, concerns how closely to align with existing practice, and how far to push the boundaries to facilitate new thinking. Moving too far, too soon, can frighten people away from taking steps forward, but too much caution will not generate the necessary creative organizational turbulence to initiate any shift of mind or practice. Therefore how to position the sustainable living agenda in such a way as it maintains the vitality and creative impetus without compromising our radical ambition is a central concern for progressive eco-literate design.
Clarke, Paul (2010) Eco-Capability - preparing the ground for sustainable living. TEESnet, London South Bank University.