The Goal -
Building environmental ethic, collective intelligence and transformative leadership for sustainability. Encourage youth hands-on learning experiences for environmental awareness.
As a think tank based in a cultural and biological diversity hotspot, Southeast Asia, we not only attempt to communicate research on the inter-linkages between health, biodiversity and sustainability but also encourage experiencing the healing and transformative influence of nature in practice as an education tool.
We implement research, education, awareness and capacity-building activities based on the realization that health and biodiversity are social values often shaped through markedly different lenses determined by life experiences, cultural values, educational standard and professional silos. We thrive in attempting to merge these worldviews, break these compartments and to foster a shared understanding of the interconnectedness of life. We believe that connecting with nature is connecting with ourselves deeply and intimately. For that to happen, we provide an innovative platform to insure this reconnection is happening as early as possible.
The Solution -
We organize workshops and field activities that combine scientific communication with experiential learning in awe-inspiring places.
Through place-based education pedagogy, implementing nature-based activities, and communicating science, we attempt to highlight the holistic dimension of health, the therapeutic role of nature and the many ways we depend and influence nature. These activities include an ongoing forum “biodiversity and health”, an emerging “young citizen-researchers” program, the organization of character-driven and place-based educational experiences, environmental literacy curriculum development with faculties of education, as well as a series of ecosystem-based research and development projects throughout the southeast Asian region.
Through these activities and this methodology, we attempt to overcome the inherent compartmentalization of knowledge in order to bridge worldviews and foster collective intelligence, awe and respect for the variability of life forms and cultural heritages that abound in Southeast Asia. We see this effort as an essential educational and capacity-building endeavour towards sustainability. We work with governmental institutions (parks, universities) as well as schools and educational organizations to offer unique experiences at the interface between nature, people and sustainability.
Although we adapt our communication strategy to our widely different audiences, we use the same understanding of health, nature and sustainability, based on the realization that we all belong to the same tree of life.
The Results -
The extent of our success can be grasped through a number of metrics, including published material, forum and workshops, field educational ventures:
- Between 2013 and 2017, we had about 20+ international publications as well as produced several documentaries and short videos.
- In 2016-2017 we organized 1 international conference “Biodiversity and Health in South East Asia” as well as 3 forums health and biodiversity. We also led three panel discussions at international conferences on the theme of Planetary Health.
- In 2016-2017, we designed, organized and implemented 5 environmental health and sustainability field courses in North-Eastern Thailand as well as have been involved in designing “environmental literacy” curriculum in Khon Kaen University faculty of Education (Northeastern Thailand).
Insider Tip -
To contribute to the growth of a global environmental ethic, there is a need to inspire. To inspire, there is a need to express passion and intimate knowledge about nature learnt through experience. In turn, this knowledge needs to be communicated through hands-on activities in fun and creative ways. At a glance, here are the ingredients of our success:
- Pragmatism and experiential learning
- Images are worth thousand words
- Powerful metaphors
- Boldness and creativity
- Passionate educators
- True teaching/learning reciprocal interactions “teaching is learning”
- We have all our special way of connecting, respecting this is important