Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Social Learning and Promoting Sustainability

I'm sharing information I have come across on ECOLOG - an online ecology listserve.

Dear colleagues,
The policies being used to address ecological issues around the concept ofsustainability increasingly demonstrate how their impact goes beyond theenvironment to influence things such as public health, jobs, workingconditions, and incomes. This means a more multi-stakeholder approach isrequired to the negotiation and implementation of environmental policieswithin and across sectors, and at local, regional, national andinternational levels. Inevitably, the reality is that whatever aims arefinally chosen, implementing the solutions to reach them will involve a longprocess of difficult dealings with a great variety of individuals, groups,and institutions who can make them fail or succeed.

The Learning for Sustainability site - http://learningforsustainability.net- has been substantially revised and updated over the past few months as aguide to on-line resources for government agency staff, NGOs and othercommunity leaders working to support social learning and collective actionaround the environment and sustainability. A central section of this sitelinks the reader to a range of guides, tools and checklists that can bedrawn upon for guidance in this area to address issues such as participationand engagement. Other pages here highlight the lessons that have emergedfrom researchers and practitioners in different sectors. These includelessons from the HIV/AIDS sector, public health, and protected naturalareas. They are shown on their different pages to highlight the fact thateach sector is looking at similar human dimensions practice change lessons,and that the more we can learn across sectors the better. A new page in thissection now covers tools, tips and techniques for facilitators and othersocial engagement specialists.

Other pages provide links to best and emerging practice in social learningareas including networking, dialogue, adaptive management, and knowledgemanagement. Evaluation is given its own section which covers key topics suchas participation, empowerment, logic models and scale. A research methodsand approaches section has links to action research resources, material ondoing integrated and interdisciplinary research, a listing of on-linejournals in these areas, and it hosts the IntSci (Integrated Science forsustainability) discussion network. New pages link to resources onunderpinning social research methods including systems thinking and actionresearch. One page lists on-line resources for both post-graduate researchstudents and their supervisors. Topics include thinking about thesupervisory team, as well as tips for structuring and writing a thesis ordissertation.The The Learning for Sustainability site -http://learningforsustainability.net - also manages additional pages onfinding volunteering and job opportunities in the environment andsustainability sectors. These are directly accessible from the main siteindexing system. As with the rest of the site these sections bring links tolot of on-line resources together in one easy to access site, each link isannotated to provide a guide to its contents.Please feel free to pass this posting on to colleagues and friends who maybe interested in this content.

Dr. Will Allen

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