Revisiting Our Evaluation Metric

Here’s the little metric again, that is intended to catalyze higher-order learning that can help drive the paradigm shift you want to achieve. Don’t look at your previous responses to it yet though. Write new ones first — without doing any research, just like before. In this case, however, it’s ok if you want to look back at some of the pages of information, ideas, and Knowledge you’ve just worked through. When you’re done, then take out your written responses from the first time you did the exercise, and compare them to your new responses. Think about the differences and similarities, and then write out your thoughts in response to the new (third) prompt that appears after the two you’ve already seen.

  1. As best you understand it now, after all the work you’ve done, how would you define a sustainable system (for example, for transportation, energy, or food)? What do you think a sustainable system should look like? What features would make it sustainable?
  2. Read the passage below, and then write out what it means to you (what you get out of it).

“We have reduced our knowledge of the world and the possibility of understanding and relating environment to a wholly mechanical process. We have become dependent, ultimately, on this one quarter of human experience, which is to reduce all human experience to a cause-and-effect situation. As Indians look out at the environment and as Indians experience a living universe, relationships become the dominating theme of life and the dominating motif for whatever technological or quasi-scientific approach Indian people have to the land. Indians do not simply learn survival skills or different ways to shape human utensils out of other natural things. In shaping those things, people have the responsibility to help complete their life cycles as part of the universe in the same way they are helping people. Human beings are not above nature or above the rest of the world. Every species needs to give to every other species in order to make up a universe” (Deloria 1999: 225-226).

After you compare your first set of responses to both prompts to the responses you just wrote to them,  respond to this 4-part prompt:

  1. How has the way you see sustainability changed? What seems most important to you about the way it’s changed?
  2. What jumps out at you from Deloria’s statement now, that perhaps you didn’t notice before? Or, what do you see differently about it or in it?
  3. How has your perception of the world’s environmental crisis and possible solutions to mitigate it changed?
  4. The first time you saw this exercise, I asked you to trust the process because it asks about sustainability even though the paper itself is about mitigating natural hazards. So let me ask you now: How do some “green” efforts — to produce energy, or cars, that reduce CO2 emissions for example — create natural hazards or exacerbate existing risks? How do some efforts to mitigate natural hazards create other or new system fragilities? What kind(s) of pardigmtic issues are at the heart of these situations?

Now go to Part 4, the last part of this exercise, Indigenous Mitigation of Natural Hazards.