Lessons From the Web of Life
This free PDF book “Empowering Our Youth – Lessons From The Web Of Life” and this website advocate a human worldview that includes a deep consciousness for an interdependent and connected Nature. With this “Living Earth” worldview, we are empowering humans to partner with Nature rather than unsuccessfully trying to manipulate and control Nature. Without interdependence and connectivity in Nature, all life on Earth, including we humans, would cease to exist because the energy necessary to sustain life could not flow Everything must be connected. Everything, including humans, is interdependent. Nothing is self-sufficient.
The words and ideas in this website and the PDF book are directed to all stewards of Nature, elementary, high school, and university students, and all environmental educators including classroom teachers, park rangers, docents, and nature guides. In turn, it is hoped that you, the reader, will promote the idea that Nature’s processes of interconnection and interdependence are vital to the welfare and harmony of both Nature and humanity on this Earth.
The strategy of the material in this book and website is to demonstrate the vital importance of identifying, understanding, and protecting the interconnections that provide energy flow in Nature. Equipped with this consciousness and knowledge, you are in a position to help current and future human generations respect and preserve the Earth’s interdependent environment that is essential for all life to exist. You, the reader, become the messenger.
This book and this website are designed to help you become an effective and knowledgeable messenger to both current adult generations and to future human generations — our young people. The material offers a series of teaching resources that include teaching strategies, case studies, activity sets, and lesson sets that focus on the theme that “Nothing In Nature Exists In Isolation”. The methodology for presenting this material to human beings of all ages is to set aside the formal presentation of facts in favor of individual exploration and discovery. Instead of being a purveyor of facts, you, the messenger acts as a mentor and facilitator.
Through seminar-style discussion groups accompanied by hands-on place-based education in the outdoors, this material will help the “student” in any age group to build a healthy consciousness for Nature by engaging, exploring, and discovering Nature’s interconnected world.
For the past 15 years, much of the material in the book and this website have been used as teaching aids in the “Journey” program in the primary and secondary levels of instruction as well as in high school courses, university curricula, and public presentations. The themes include the following:
* Identify and describe unsustainable human population growth on a planet with limited resources.
* Using modern systems science to more fully describe our planet as an interdependent living system.
* Evangelize the deep dependency of humans on Nature’s energy flow within Her ecosystem
* Examine current scientific facts as the basis for creating an environmental ethic that will guide humans toward sustainable harmony with Nature.
* Focus on conservation practices that identify and preserve the pathways of energy flow in Nature. By identifying and conserving energy flow networks, mankind does not get involved in trying to predict what an unpredictable Nature will do. Instead, Nature makes the decisions that best serve Her and Her creatures.
* Emphasize the fact that the environmental education of our youth produces a powerful legacy of effective conservation practices in Nature.
The PDF book is organized into the following sections:
- Introductory material that describes the book’s purpose.
- Teaching concepts – suggested methods for effectively presenting the material provided in this book to different audiences.
- Case studies for seminars – basic study/research material that describes 28 different ecological subjects to be used for conducting inquiry-based (Socratic) seminars.
- Suggested activity sets to be used for hands-on, place-based outdoor activities in Nature.
- Suggested lesson sets created by professional biology/ecology teachers.
- Epilogue – Summary of the ideas presented in this book.
Your feedback to me about this free ebook and this website is an extremely important part of my work. Whether you have found this useful or not, I ask that you provide your critique by offering your comments in the comment section at the bottom of this page. It is through your comments that I build the foundation for future editions of this book. I have found that comments from students are a very important part of any critique and I strongly encourage students to offer their opinions and suggestions.
My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.