Design for Sustainability Online Course Worldview


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Program Description

We need to learn to question our basic assumptions and learn to ask deeper questions that help us to transcend and include multiple perspectives if we hope to steer humanity towards an uncertain future with wisdom, foresight, and precaution.

The Worldview dimension invites you to become more conscious of how your own worldview and value system affect your perceived needs and the way you might propose and design solutions in any given situation.

This dimension can be taken as a stand-alone programme or as the starting point for our 10-month online Design For Sustainability course. The cost of this dimension is £350 GBP. The course, which includes an orientation period, lasts for eight weeks. We suggest you dedicate a minimum of 10 hours a week to the course, in order to receive maximum benefit from it.

By identifying a series of valid perspectives, worldviews and value systems and putting them into context with each other, rather than seeing them as mutually exclusive or contradictory, we are taking the important first step to being able to facilitate the complex multi-stakeholder dialogues upon which the local, regional and global transition to sustainability and regenerative cultures will depend.

Our cultural conditioning often predisposes us to separate out scientific, artistic, spiritual or philosophical perspectives of the world into different categories and we allot different value to each of them.

In this dimension, you will have an opportunity to explore many different perspectives and learn to build up a richer, more holistic worldview that transcends and includes many points of view.

Informed by this holistic worldview, we hope to make wiser design decisions based on valuing diverse perspectives as potentially relevant yet different expressions of our shared participatory intimacy, as part of a constantly transforming whole that we are part of, participants in, and affect with our thoughts and actions.

People can choose to call this whole or all, the Cosmos, Universe, Life, the One, Nature, consciousness, the Divine, the Beloved, or God, as it is named in many languages and beliefs. Our aim is not to value one perspective or paradigm above another, but to build up a richer kaleidoscope of perspectives that can inform wiser actions and ways of participating appropriately in this wholeness.

The Worldview dimension curriculum content was written by Daniel Christian Wahl with contributions by Hildur and Ross Jackson and Will Keepin.

This dimension of the Design for Sustainability course is based on five modules with four subchapters each.

Module 1 Holistic Worldviews

We start by exploring different ways of knowing and participating in the world that have shaped the evolution of Western culture, taking a closer look at the role of ‘organising ideas’ and different modes of consciousness in our experience of reality.

Module 1 explores the following questions:

  • What is the dominant cultural narrative that has shaped the worldview that is informing the behaviour of modern globalised culture?
  • What are key obstacles to holistic thinking and how has a holistic approach to science – Goethean Science, the new physics, and complexity theory – contributed to the gradual transformation of the reductionist and mechanistic worldview?
  • How can we become active participants in a global transition towards a more compassionate and biophilic understanding of our interdependence with all Life expressed through design for whole systems health and wellbeing for all?

Module 2 Reconnecting with Nature

The healing of many of the ailments afflicting nature and culture in this time of converging crises requires us to first and foremost solve our ‘crisis of perception’ (Fritjof Capra) and recognise our interconnection with planetary life support systems. We need to reconnect with nature as an expression of our wider ecological self in order to find a deeper source of meaning, insight, and strength.

Module 2 asks:

  • In what way can Deep Ecology, Ecopsychology, Gaia Theory and reconnecting with the Universe Story of 14 billion years of cosmic evolution help us to become re-enchanted with the world again?
  • What is the role of indigenous wisdom traditions and their technologies of the sacred, for example council, pilgrimage and vision fasts, in our reconnecting with nature?
  • How can we learn to design for interbeing in ways that create a sense of place informed by integral ecology and a new kind of cosmopolitan bioregionalism?

Module 3 Transformation of Consciousness

Regenerative development at the scale of communities or regions will always need to go hand-in-hand with the personal development of the individuals and collectives involved in facilitating this change. Effectively communicating sustainability and facilitating the multi-stakeholder dialogues that are necessary for transformative innovation is greatly aided by a more integral understanding of the different worldviews and value systems we might encounter in our work.

Module 3 addresses to the following questions:

  • How can frameworks like Spiral Dynamics, the Four Quadrants of Integral Theory and other developmental models of consciousness and value systems help us to facilitate constructive integration of multiple perspectives in diverse groups?
  • What are the commonalities and differences between spirituality and religion, as well as, between different religions and spiritual paths? How can we respect and value these diverse ways of meaning-making as contributions from different traditions?
  • How can each and every one of us integrate personal development of heart, mind, body and spirit into our daily life practice in ways that support our self, our communities and the world, on our paths as evolutionary activists?

Module 4 Personal and Planetary Health

The healing of self, community, and world is a central focus of effective change agents around the world. Designing for sustainability and co-creating diverse regenerative cultures is fundamentally about salutogenic (health-generating) design for human and planetary health. We have to take care of our self and our community in order to effectively take care of healthy ecosystem functions and the biosphere, and vice versa.

In module 4 we offer tentative answers to the following questions:

  • How do healthy lifestyles, greater equality, community cohesion and a sense of belonging and place contribute to a more holistic understanding of health?
  • What is the scale-linking connection between human, ecosystem and planetary health, and what are the major constraints to this pattern that connects?
  • How does understanding personal, community and bioregional resilience as interconnected aspects of systemic health inform our actions and designs?

Module 5 Engaged Spirituality

Our worldviews and value systems influence our behaviours and judgements, and these result in our designs and the systems and processes we set up. The world we have created around us then in turn influences how we see the world. Together we are bringing forth a world through our intentions, actions and inaction. This module explores how we can become effective cultural creatives, facilitating transformative change and leveraging the power of local and global networks of change through collaboration.

This module invites you to consider the following questions:

  • How can Will Keepin’s guidelines for engaged spirituality inform a more effective practice for cultural creatives and facilitators of transformation and change?
  • What processes exist to come together in community and envision the futures we want to co-create together? What are the steps in such visioning processes?
  • Are there any common themes between existing visions of sustainable societies and regenerative cultures and how might they inform our individual and collective work in the transition into the re-localised planetary era?

What you will receive

  • downloadable course book with latest research and additional resources (also available as an online e-book)
  • a student handbook with all the important information concerning the course
  • a Student Guide: description of each dimension’s learning outcomes, objectives and timeline, plus a set of activities for each module of the learning journey
  • access to the virtual campus, where you join our classrooms, forums, design teams, have direct communication with tutors, access sample materials, all learning materials and activities for certification, and social media related to the course
  • orientation to the virtual campus, e-learning tools and the Moodle platform
  • full technical and academic support to navigate the virtual course and achieve all the learning outcomes
  • a Certificate of Completion from Gaia Education
  • the ability to earn credits to continue to our flagship certificated programme in Sustainability and Design
  • the ability and practical skills to take active steps in the strategic area of Design for Sustainability
  • paving the way of joining the Gaia Education Learning Journey

Your Investment

The cost of this unique and exciting course is £350 GBP. It may be the best investment you ever make for yourself. The duration of this dimension is eight weeks, encompassing approximately 80 hours of study time. Register up to one month before the start date to get a 20% early bird discount!

Upon completion you will be equipped with the understanding and skills to become a confident change maker in worldview issues of sustainability. It will also qualify you to go on to study in our fully certificated programme, Design for Sustainability, and join a Design Studio after completing the four dimensions of the course.

Last updated November 2018

About the School

Gaia Education was created by a group of educators called "GEESE"- Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth- who have been meeting over a series of workshops in order to formulate their tra ... Read More

Gaia Education was created by a group of educators called "GEESE"- Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth- who have been meeting over a series of workshops in order to formulate their transdisciplinary approach to education for sustainability. Read less
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