If someone were interested in learning more about fish health or biology, they would pursue fisheries. If someone were more interested in learning more about the oceans, they would pursue oceanography or marine sciences. While these disciplines, fisheries and oceanography, are two different systems, through “systems thinking” they can be connected. However, for Indigenous peoples, separating our world into systems is why many environmental or climate solutions are not effective and continue to fail to address the root of the problem. This is because when everything is separated into systems or boxes, more harm can be done with the solutions that are thought of.Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science
For example in 2018, Seattle passed a ban on plastic straws. This meant that restaurants or any places could no longer provide plastic straws and they had to provide either paper or other recyclable straws. However, with this ban on plastic straws, disabled individuals no longer had access to an essential tool and material they needed. Alice Wong wrote the following testimonial on why plastic straws are essential to disabled individuals in the article “The Rise and Fall of the Plastic Straw”:
A plastic straw is an access tool I use for nutrition as a person with a neuromuscular disability. When sipping a latte at my favorite cafe, I use a plastic straw because I am unable to lift a drink to my mouth and it is safe for hot liquids. Plastic straws are now seen as harmful and outmoded by environmentalists who are in favor of “safer” products (e.g., compostable, biodegradable plastics made of polylactic acid, silicone).
Wong’s testimony reveals the nuances and intersectionalities that are often dismissed within this systems thinking. The systems that came into play in this decision aimed to reduce the impacts of plastic straws, yet due to not linking the system of disability justice, they ended up causing more harm. Therefore, eliminating plastic straws is not an equitable decision given that it further harms a marginalized community. This is why environmental solutions are not as inclusive because we all know who these systems are primarily governed by. They are governed by those who hold on to power and privilege provided within the systems under settler colonialism that the United States operates under. Given this, it is also important to mention that as long as every system is influenced by and operating under settler colonialism, it will never be equitable or just toward Indigenous peoples. This is why many Indigenous peoples do not think within this system’s framework and everything is rather holistic. If we were to try to integrate systems thinking into Indigenous ways of knowing, I will say that we think within one system that encompasses everything. As my father recounted in his interview, it is hard to fully explain how we as Indigenous peoples think, but we know that everything is interconnected with our environments. This is why our worldviews as Indigenous peoples are distinct from Western worldviews.Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science
Holism is a core stance for learning that centers around the interconnectedness of all aspects of life.
Holism is the concept of viewing the world as a complex, interconnected system. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the relationships between all aspects of life.
Relational worldviews are essential to understanding holism and its implications for learning. It is important to recognize that all aspects of life are interconnected and to think holistically when designing learning experiences.
Learner-centered pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning that focuses on the individual needs and interests of the learner creating agency and empowerment.Re-Humanizing Education: Exploring Thematic Design | SLIDE DECK (1)