Social Ecological System Approach For Improving Ecological Literacy of Youth - TR01-KA205-067388


Human activities over the past fifty years have altered ecosystems faster & more extensively than at any other time in history. Issues related to climate change, energy, micro-toxins, food security, water management, biodiversity loss are highly complicated & complex.A future prosperous, healthy & safe Turkey/EU/World rests upon better understanding of how to manage, cope with above problems & adapt to change.The 7th Environment Action Programme (2014-2020) mentioned “to protect, conserve & enhance the Union’s natural capital” is one of the 3 key objectives.To manage this objective, there is need for ‘ecologically literate population’ that has skills to understand, analyze, think critically about ecosystems; address existing & future environmental issues & behave environmentally.For raising socio-cultural awareness of modern environmental challenges, “ecoliteracy” is gaining prominence within pedagogical, ecological, & political discourses as an effective approach as ecologists are developing various methods for enhancing ecoliteracy. Global Education Monitoring Report (2016) finds education systems need to step up in this area.In Paris Agreement, 76 countries placed education at the first level action against the climate change(2015). However today, we live in a ‘systemic world’ characterized by multiple causation, interactions, complex feedback loops & inevitable uncertainty & unpredictability.Current forms of teaching & learning seem inadequate in addressing the above problems. Understanding the basic principles of ecology is a must but not enough; it is required to understand the social–ecological systems (SES), as linking humans & other components of the environment. SES lens is also crucial for very practical reasons.Integrated studies of coupled human & natural systems reveal new & complex patterns & processes that were simply not evident when studied by social or natural scientists separately.The basic idea of SES is to be explicit in linking together the ‘human system’ & the ‘natural system’ in a two-way feedback relationship; because in any conservation effort, there are interactions & ‘feedback’ between ecological & social subsystems.

Along this line, objective of this project is to integrate SES approach to enhance ecoliteracy & its practical applications.Project will adopt a“big-picture” developing an alternative model for ecoliteracy including the study of the interactions, including feedbacks, among 4 components; socio-cultural template including human behavior & human outcomes, bio-physical template (ecosystem structure & function), ecosystem services (climate regulation, water purification, etc.) & external drivers (people, institutions, etc.).Such a model has not been found yet according to the literature review.

Project outcomes will guide youth to gain ecoliteracy skills to overcome the gap between the perception of ecology & the real-world problems thru SES approach.SES_ECO project aims to promote ecoliteracy of youth ages between 17-26; leaders & members of youth clubs, scout leaders & scouts, members of environmental clubs in high schools/universities & young members of environmental NGOs thru outdoor training experiences.The project will introduce innovative methods of ecoliteracy strengthened by SES approach; provide qualified workforce that have been internalized nature with a larger view needed for green jobs. It will help to show how cross-cultural research can be effective in revealing new insights to environmental protection./p>

Environment is such a field that; all nations should act together as decided in 1972 Stockholm Conference. United Nations have started to mobilize efforts for Sustainable Development by 2030 devoted to “protect, restore & promote sustainable use of natural resources”.Furthermore, Europe 2020 is EU strategy to promote smart, sustainable & inclusive growth, current priorities set are to invest more in the low carbon economy, in ecosystem services & eco-innovation. Lack of qualitative human force has become a significant problem for long time in Turkey, which puts barrier to compete internationally. Efforts to educate qualitative human force and eliminate such a lack have increased recently in EU & in world. Realization of these priorities can only be achieved by investment in environmental education & ecoliteracy.

The project will be drawn from the SES literature & integrate ecoliteracy into conceptual models describing hierarchical ecology, feedbacks & resilience.Target groups will learn systems composed of individuals interacting with each other & with their biophysical environment as embedded in the larger system of an environmental education program, which in turn interacts with natural resources management practices, environmental policies & other elements of a local social-ecological system.

This project has to be carried out transnationally as the outputs must be mixture of different countries & cultures in order to obtain successful results.