Ecosystem Services

Natural Capital

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Does the (natural) world exist to provide ‘services’ for human beings?  Should we attempt to justify the importance of bees or trees or rivers or mountains or bacillus acidophilus in terms of an ecosystems services analysis, i.e. what services they provide to us?

Alternatively should we analyse what services we provide to ecosystems?  This question was raised by Shai Zakai recently during a discussion about ecosystem services.  It seems to focus precisely the problem with the ecosystems services approach, which is that it leaves us as the beneficiary of the services, limiting our responsibility to those we can comprehend.

For some useful background on this subject see the Arts and Environment network at CIWEM resource on Natural Capital, and in particular their introductory document From Microbes to Mountains.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Aardwerk: PDC course in 2012

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Netherlands (Special Municipality of Sint Eustatius)
Aardwerk: PDC course in 2012

For the time from the 1st of May to the 21st of May 2012, Aardwerk offers an international PDC course in a remote place, so that participants are able to see their environment in a new way. Instead of offering ready-made solutions, the course enables its participants to face the everyday challenges as well as the long term challenges they are faced with through their own strenghts and the collective intelligence of the group. The courses aim is to provide a new way of thinking: Rather than seeing problems, participants will be able to see opportunities.
Creative teaching methods and lots of practical field work will be part of the course. In the end graduates will receive the internationally recognised PDC certificate, which opens all possibilities for further work concerning permaculture.
There is the offer of several volunteer positions at local organic farm and nature management projects, for participants who would like to stay longer.
Benefits for participants is the development of skills throughout the course, among others the following ones:

  • greater food sovereignty
  • food and drinking water security & quality assurance
  • more efficient use of natural resources
  • energy security
  • more sustainable an resilient community life
  • practical community development & social cohesion
  • teaching traditional culture, knowledge & skills
  • more autonomy and security in essential services, products and materials
  • ways of social organisation that suit your own community’s needs and abilities

Participants will learn that following the patterns of Nature is  more satisfying and rewarding than e.g. switching Nature off and taking on the burdens of providing ecosystem services.
Furthermore the participants will contribute their share for Statia in terms of climate forest, local food security, healthy economic development and cultural enrichment.
The detailed programme, information about the location and the teachers can be found on http://aardwerk.org/school/international-pdc-2012/
Registration will be open from 1 December 2011 till 1 April 2012.

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

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