“All education is fundamentally environmental education.”
An eco-literate society, as Lua explained it, is a society that uses principles of organization of ecosystems to serve as a guide when designing intelligent sustainable human communities. An ecologically literate society has a heightened awareness of its impact on the environment and therefore less likely to inadvertently destroy the natural world on which it depends. Lua believed that best hope for re-learning to live sustainably begins with schooling that returns to the basics by actively engaging with the natural world to understand how Nature sustains life.
Ecoliteracy offers an integrated approach to addressing environmental challenges. In essence, it represents a new educational paradigm emerging around the core concepts of complexity, holism, sustainability, and systems thinking — all essential for a proper understanding of the complex interdependence of ecological systems, social systems, and other systems on all levels.
Because of its importance to continued health and well-being of human populations, ecoliteracy must become a critical competency for politicians, business leaders, and professionals in all spheres in the 21st century, Lua argued. And it should be the most important part of education at all levels from primary and secondary schools to colleges, universities, and the continuing education and training of professionals.
"All education is fundamentally environmental education. Students are taught that they are part of, or apart from, the natural world depending on how they are taught, what they are taught, and in what context.”
Ecoliteracy also seeks to build meaningful connections between head, hands, and heart and to emphasize that the need to protect ecosystems is not simply a sentimental longing held by environmentalists, but a biological imperative for human survival.
Ecosystem health is a basic principle for prioritizing thought and action in a sustainable society. Considering the increasing capacity of human industrial systems to destroy habitats, destabilize climate systems, accelerate species extinction, pollute the environment, and unravel delicate ecosystems; the necessity of living within the ecological carrying capacity of the Earth is becoming increasingly clear.
“People need to get out more and pay attention — and getting out of the car and walking more is a really good start. We have been living far beyond our means by recklessly and irresponsibly drawing down ‘natural capital’ and not living modestly and sustainably off of just the ‘interest.’ The illusory gains are no different than a corporation selling off its assets in a fire sale and then boasting that the proceeds are all ‘profit.’ Some would characterize this scenario as an ecological Ponzi scheme of global proportions — one that surely won’t end well.”