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Now that no place on Earth is untouched by human activities, cultural ecology provides an ideational focus for defining, charting and managing humanity's ecological footprints. Past and present cultures are perceived by looking at landscapes and it is from responding visually to landscapes that people evaluate the local environment, either as a place that is known by being used, or as a place that is consumed by being seen. Three questions prompted by the visuality of a landscape as expressions of cultural ecology are: is it attractive?; is it interesting? and is it deficient?. Some of the consequential learning activities that provide the cultural channels to turn a local denizen into a cosmopolitan activist are presented in the following mind map. The various outcomes of new predispositions and practices lead to cultural extensions of the human ecological niche which run deeper in time and place than the visual stimulus that initiated the responses.

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Bronislaw Szerszynski and John Urry writing about 'citizenship' and 'the visual' suggest that cosmopolitan predispositions and practices involve cultivating some or all of the following aptitudes:

  • extensive mobility, in which people have the right to ‘travel’ corporeally, imaginatively and virtually, and for significant numbers also the means to so travel
  • the capacity to consume many places and environments en route;
  • a curiosity about many places, peoples and cultures, and at least a rudimentary ability to locate such places and cultures historically, geographically and anthropologically;
  • a willingness to take risks by virtue of encountering the ‘other’;
  • an ability to ‘map’ one’s own society and its culture in terms of a historical and geographical knowledge, to have some ability to reflect upon and judge aesthetically between different natures, places and societies;
  • the semiotic skill to be able to interpret images of various others, to see what they are meant to represent, and to know when they are ironic; and
  • an openness to other peoples and cultures and a willingness/ability to appreciate some elements of the language or culture of the ‘other’.

These are the aptitudes and skills that have to be developed in a syllabus for cosmopolitanism.

Places that can be dwelt within provide equipmentality for home-making, and compartmentality for making global comparisons of life styles. Therefore, cultural ecology provides an educational framework for ideational mind mapping, and also for the production of geographical information systems to generate ideas and transmit ideas and achievements for living within ecological limits via the Internet.



There is an educational model based on the cultural ecology of Wales