EarthCARE Global Justice Framework – Sarah Amsler

Notes from session – Tuesday 3rd April, 2018 7-9pm

EarthCARE Global Justice framework –

  • emerged out of an international R&D network of eco-social learning initiatives that seek to integrate ecological, cognitive, affective, relational, and economic approaches to justice.
  • intended to push the boundaries of prevailing approaches to global change beyond problematic patterns of simplistic analyses and engagements
  • aims to support the design of deep learning processes

practical doing (together),

building of trust (in one another),

deepening analyses (of self, systems, and social and ecological complexity),

dismantling walls (between peoples, knowledges, and cultures).

  • Moves beyond the search for universal models/problem-solving and towards preparing people to work together with and through the complexities, uncertainties, paradoxes, and complicities that characterize our efforts


Welcome Aim
Sarah is involved with Earthcare project and wanted to bring it here to talk about and see if it is relevant for us and how.
Who’s here & Why
quite a big mix – SSC members, university students & academics, family, educators.
People are specifically interested in alternative education, justice, and alternative ways of being. Others feeling “intellectually bereft” and thought it looked interesting.
– context

Title= Gesturing towards deep learning for another world

        we need to sit with the messiness of trying to move forward, and not always getting it right.

This is an international network, many different people/projects hae all converged, and specifically through an interest in an alternative Higher Education – thinking about what it can look different/be understood differently.  

  • Film Enlivened learning  – project interviewing and learning from alternative HE projects. Contemporary/dominant form is unsustainable. Actually there is a lot happening (a “silent revolution”) of alternatives
  • movements/networks involved with decolonisation, care and indigenous knowledge in reimagining HE.

This session= What/how can learn from this and for Lincoln SSC?

For Sarah- these projects give hope and perspective about what’s going on in the world and they have been sites of her own transformative learning.



Based on/in environmental justice
-not just about information about the world but rethinking what, how and who we are in it- this is relational – This relational/value learning is not in the curriculum or seen as important.


  1. Practical doing things together
  2. Building relationships and trust -(value itself- not a means to get somewhere).
  3. Deepening analysis – (& live with the complexity/messiness of things
  4. Dismantling walls and separations: – includes body work


To ignore these injustices we reproduce problems/status quo. “Solutions” often reproduce the same assumptions. Even if we don’t accept these things (i.e. capitalist/ethnocentric/individualist/positivist bias) we live within them and so we DO have to deal with this deep stuff.

I.e. Problems are not the uni itself but hierarchies and assumptions within them – these could all be present in “alternative” spaces.
need to think beyond critical/radical reform and to really “change the rules of the game” at the root level

5 types of justice  – interconnected in learning.

Earth is alive/dying/in crisis- we are all part of it.

Cognitive- brainwork-ways we think (not just what but how – monoculture of thought in west about the “rational” not about emotional, spiritual, embodied way of knowing – not seen as real knowledge and valuable knowledge)

Affective- how we are affected – not in cognitive way, also emotional how we learn to sit with failure, how to relate, to feel love, to feel radical love, love the other etc.

Relational- transactional? Do we have deep friendship? Deal with difference, trauma – through generation

Economics – and the violence of economic systems,


Video from Shikshantar (in India)- critique of modern schooling -Manish Jain  
4 Cs- compulsion, Competition, consumerism, compartmentalisation –
This is taken really seriously in India -something that needs urgent action.

We “walk by them here” – crisis in UK schools reproduced in “teaching and learning toolkit” (“problems” are addressed through competitive/positivist/individualist/compartmentalist and capitalist framework). Sarah asks: If this is an urgent problem in other places, why are we funding it by the state? Wants to know where and how we can we reconnect with learning/relationships.


Discussion includes questions, comments and stories, and is open as full group.
What is the goal of education?
Facilitate deep reflection? A deep goal for the movement that can sustain beyond smaller concrete issues.

how to make a case of affective forms of knowledge?

– we need a new subjectivity.

How do you practicalise EarthCARE? –
Members concerned that people are so closed off, and so are institutions – so wondering about how this works in practice.
One member shares her experience – son started school seven (for 2 yrs, now homeschooled), he had the ability to see/question schooling and couldn’t deal with the compartmentalisation (i.e. between subjects and between learning and playing time). She wants to know what she can do now to develop create holistic and alternative education in her family (some discussion of Steiner, Montessori & Forest schools, but not ideal or accessible to all).

– Sarah gives example of programs with uni management in US organised around meditation and rethinking policy and separability – “it is in practice but it does involve translation and compromise .. you can’t start from nowhere”.

– As educators we can use this framework in designing a space. Use it to check whether the learning we facilitates allows all of these justices to speak. Thinking that SSC is a great space but doesn’t meet all of these.

– can look different for different contexts and priorities, and there is some question about the relation between these justices and how each are prioritised. The time, space, opportunity impact which are prioritised and this links to power and investment. Sarah shares challenges of different ideas were being practiced at the same time; discussion, action and ceremony/ritual were all understood as the “work” of fixing things – different people understand and value processes differently. – what is “the work?”

A SSC scholar shares an example of working with appreciative inquiry – and reflecting on consciousness to be “facilitator” over “liberator”. They had felt the language (of dream and destiny) couldn’t be used in the context as it could offend or alienate people. A minute to think and actively not jump in to response gave space to speak to other people to have conversations. Now they wished they’d used the words dream and destiny and collectively explored what they meant, the scholar considers whether the example illustrates their conforming and complying to norms and their (then) preference not to show emotion.

In existing institutions
Difficult to practice – roles and relations informed by institutional norms and employment/contract conditions.

Thinking about students’ role and agency in creating more holistic/democratic learning experiences.
Create spaces for dialogue

EarthCARE is pragmatic given the problems we are seeing.

       – our system not working & lack of interdisciplinary knowledge, mental health problems etc.

We need to think about what is the education that we want? We don’t often have that discussion. – What do we dream?

A lot of this is about messiness, at your home, in the institutions, open it up, uncomfortable,

It’s about unlearning, taking the risk/personal responsibility to unlearn – Painful and discomforting –
Forcing people to look into the mirror that they don’t want to look into

EarthCARE presentation– why does it look corporate? Fluidity is incompatible with these diagrams, frameworks etc.
– It is packaged– presented for potential funders, and to legitimise in order to put forward ideas that are radical.

– Reflected that this is the same for SSC website.

Small groups We broke into small groups to quickly talk about how we felt about EarthCARE.
(I spoke with Mahmood and Adiza about our own hopes and fears about the project and our contexts).
Next week Next week is same time on Tuesday and is about emergent learning.
SSC have been asked to contribute chapter to a book. Please send 100-200 words about why you come to SSC.