Thoby Miller: Talking Eco-Praxis

Glyndwr UniversityThoby Miller posterThis is an exploration of the power of conversation, combined with the use of critical thinking; seen as a means to generate an active awareness of sustainability and resilience as a lived and living experience.

Conversation is defined as a sophisticated and complex activity with a potential that is often not fully appreciated. At its best, it is reciprocal exchange based on mutual interpretation, involving all the human actors in a process of questioning and discernment. It is open-ended and can encompass a series of creative responses to a given topic.

The questioning space created can be used as a way of encouraging patterns of critical thinking that are ideally suited to addressing the issues of sustainability and resilience, which can help to formulate specific activities that communities can use to pursue these goals. Conversation can thus be used as a means of identifying strategies for community development along paths that are both sustainable and resilient and is a powerful tool to foster engagement in carrying out these tasks.

The combination of conversation and critical thinking is imagined as part of an ongoing process of discovery which has the ability to constantly re-invent itself in line with changing circumstances.  The notion of praxis is used as an interactive blend of action and practice that contains within it an ability to help change and shape the world around us. It begins with a practical question for which prior knowledge is incomplete. In this respect, critical conversations can be a way of considering appropriate means of addressing a problem within a specific setting, providing incremental additions to the understanding, based on a commitment to human well-being within sustainable environments.

References:
Capra, F [1996] Web of Life. Doubleday.
Capra, F  [2002] Hidden Connections. Doubleday.
Smith, M.K. [1999, 2011] Conversation  www.infed.org
Taylor, P [1993] The Texts of Paulo Freire. Open University Press.