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Reorienting the way human beings live on the earth and educating children to their highest capacities have much in common, say the thinkers and educators behind this groundbreaking book. Both endeavors must be viewed and pursued in the context of systems: familial, geographic, ecological, political. And our efforts to build sustainable communities cannot succeed unless future generations learn how to partner with natural systems to our mutual benefit. In other words, they must become "ecologically literate."The concept of "ecological literacy" advanced by this book's creators, the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, extends beyond the discipline of environmental education. It aims, as David W. Orr writes in his foreword, "toward a deeper transformation of the substance, process, and scope of education at all levels."The reports and essays gathered in the book reveal the remarkable work being conducted by the Center's extensive network of partners. In one middle school, for example, culinary icon Alice Waters founded a program that not only provides students with healthy meals but teaches them to garden-and thus to study life cycles and energy flows-as part of their curriculum. Other hands-on student projects supported by the Center and described in the book range from stream restoration and watershed exploration to confronting environmental justice issues at the neighborhood level.With contributions from distinguished writers and educators, such as Fritjof Capra, Wendell Berry, and Michael Ableman, Ecological Literacy marries theory and practice based on the best thinking about how the world actually works and how learning occurs. Parents and educators everywhere who are engaged in creative efforts to develop new curricula and improve children's ecological understanding will find this book to be an invaluable resource.
Leonardo da Vinci was a brilliant artist, scientist, engineer, mathematician, architect, inventor, writer, and even musician--the archetypal Renaissance man. But he was also, Fritjof Capra argues, a profoundly modern man. Not only did Leonardo invent the empirical scientific method over a century before Galileo and Francis Bacon, but Capra's decade-long study of Leonardo's fabled notebooks reveal him as a systems thinker centuries before the term was coined. He believed the key to truly understanding the world was in perceiving the connections between phenomena and the larger patterns formed by those relationships. This is precisely the kind of holistic approach the complex problems we face today demand. Capra describes seven defining characteristics of Leonardo da Vinci's genius and includes a list of over forty discoveries Leonardo made that weren't rediscovered until centuries later. Leonardo pioneered entire fields--fluid dynamics, theoretical botany, aerodynamics, embryology. Capra's overview of Leonardo's thought follows the organizational scheme Leonardo himself intended to use if he ever published his notebooks. So in a sense, this is Leonardo's science as he himself would have presented it. Leonardo da Vinci saw the world as a dynamic, integrated whole, so he always applied concepts from one area to illuminate problems in another. For example, his studies of the movement of water informed his ideas about how landscapes are shaped, how sap rises in plants, how air moves over a bird's wing, and how blood flows in the human body. His observations of nature enhanced his art, his drawings were integral to his scientific studies, and he brought art and science together in his extraordinarily beautiful and elegant mechanical and architectural designs. Obviously, we can't all be geniuses on the scale of Leonardo da Vinci. But by exploring the mind of the preeminent Renaissance genius, we can gain profound insights into how best to address the challenges of the 21st century.
Leonardo da Vinci¿s pioneering scientific work was virtually unknown during his lifetime. Leonardo was in many ways the un-acknowledged ¿father of modern science. ¿ Drawing on an examination of over 6,000 pages of Leonardo¿s surviving Notebooks, Capra explains that Leonardo approached scientific knowledge with the eyes of an artist. Through his studies of living and non-living forms, from architecture and human anatomy to the turbulence of water and the growth patterns of grasses, he pioneered the empirical, systematic approach to the observation of nature -- what is now known as the scientific method. ¿A fresh and important portrait of a colossal figure in the world of science and the arts. ¿ Includes 50 beautiful sepia-toned illustrations.
Over the past thirty years, a new systemic conception of life has emerged at the forefront of science. New emphasis has been given to complexity, networks, and patterns of organisation leading to a novel kind of 'systemic' thinking. This volume integrates the ideas, models, and theories underlying the systems view of life into a single coherent framework. Taking a broad sweep through history and across scientific disciplines, the authors examine the appearance of key concepts such as autopoiesis, dissipative structures, social networks, and a systemic understanding of evolution. The implications of the systems view of life for health care, management, and our global ecological and economic crises are also discussed. Written primarily for undergraduates, it is also essential reading for graduate students and researchers interested in understanding the new systemic conception of life and its implications for a broad range of professions - from economics and politics to medicine, psychology and law.
This book aims at improving the image of science by showing that there is an essential harmony between the spirit of Eastern wisdom and Western science. It attempts to suggest that modern physics goes far beyond technology, that the way-- or Tao--of physics can be a path with a heart, a way to spiritual knowledge and self-realization.
Capra discusses the philosophical implications of modern science.
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