B. Hill SOCIAL ECOLOGY University of Western Sydney - Foundation Chair of Social Ecology
B. Hill is the
Foundation Chair of Social Ecology at UWS-Hawkesbury. He has over
250 publications, gives presentations and workshops on agriculture,
social and personal change, mens issues and ecological living
throughout the world, and with his partner tends his garden in the Blue
are so many things that are different about the undergraduate,
postgraduate coursework and research programs in Social Ecology at the
University of Western Sydney, it is difficult to know where to
start. First I should say who I am and why I want to tell you
from England, I spent 27 years at McGill University in
Montreal where in 1974 I set up Ecological Agriculture Projects
which was the world's most comprehensive resource centre on
ecologically sustainable agriculture. In 1993 I came to Australia
to spend a sabbatic year in agriculture at UWS-Hawkesbury teaching
ecological approaches to agriculture, including organic farming,
Permaculture, biodynamics, holistic resource management etc. I
also did some teaching in the Social Ecology programs, which just blew
challenge everything that is stuffy about university! Most
of the students are mature aged and off campus, and most are daring to
go to University, rather than this being the next step in a boring life!
WHAT IS SOCIAL
Ecology is a learning community that is collectively designing
and feeling its way into the future. Most of the learning is
experiential and involving projects concerned with working with
change - change within one's place of work, local community
or environment, and in one's ways of being and doing in the
world; and most often in all of these. Most of the research
involves working with others in processes of change - often using an
approach called participatory action research or collaborative
inquiry, and usually integrating feminist perspectives.
and students alike most commonly talk about social ecology as an
experience of finding home. For me the most amazing things
about the programs are the people and their achievements. Talk of
breakthroughs, transformations, paradigm shifts and life changing
experiences are common.
people bring their experiences, challenges and fundamental
questions into the programs, the whole experience is one of being
really alive and vital. This is particularly evident at the one week
Residentials, which the students doing the coursework programs attend
each semester. Putting these on is more like organising a major
theatrical event than the more usual series of lectures that one
expects in a University.
continue my story of who I am - in 1996 I was appointed as the
Foundation Chair in Social Ecology, or what is more usually referred to
as the Prof! - not exactly a job made in heaven
- largely because of this government's ongoing undermining of
tertiary education in Australia - but pretty close.
are not yet clear what social ecology is about perhaps the
following definition will help, although I should add that every social
ecologist will have a different definition depending on their
particular passions and current projects.
provides a holistic framework that emphasises the interrelationships
between the personal, social, environmental and spiritual domains for
understanding our past and present, and for collaborating with others
in visioning and implementing an improved future.
ecology asks us to clarify our values and act in accordance with them,
while taking into account what is needed for the healthy functioning of
our local community, the people of the world and future generations,
and the natural environment and its inhabitants. It involves an
integration of concerns for the areas elaborated below.
your own values, beliefs, assumptions, hopes, visions, goals,
roles, responsibilities, and ongoing process of development.
society with it's evolving structures and processes, (cultural,
political, economic, spiritual, philosophical, technological, including
the built environment, informational etc.).
the rehabilitation and maintenance of the local, regional and global natural environment, and particularly its biodiversity, as a
supportive home for present and future generations of humans and all of
the other species with which we share this planet.
the greater, largely unknown, whole that extends beyond the borders of
our understanding, including all that is mysterious, sacred and too
enormous or profound to be simplistically defined (and dismissed).
Social Ecology programs available include an undergraduate Major, a
one-year Graduate Certificate and a two-year coursework Masters of
Arts. We also offer research degrees at the Masters and Doctorate
ecology graduates are particularly well prepared for work that
requires: ability to work with people effectively; communication
skills for informing people and changing behaviours;
collaboration and taking leadership in change processes;
conducting analytical studies of complex situations; and planning
and implementing improved futures. Our programs provide participants
with resources and opportunities to prepare them to take leadership or
other significant roles in whichever area they choose in the ongoing
process of social change.
tend to be more: autonomous (vs arrogant), yet able to
collaborate across difference; visionary; creative,
imaginative, in-touch with their intuition; able to be aware of
and effectively express and use their feelings; reflective and
responsible; aware of the bigger picture and long-term
applications; able to use a diversity of means of
communication; culturally and contextually sensitive;
empowered to act; integrative of head, heart, body, spirit and
soul (and sense of humour); in touch with values and their
implications for plans and actions; and likely to pay attention
to diverse outcomes (feedback).
competencies include: values clarification and their role in
change processes; historical and holistic analyses of complex
situations; facilitation and leadership re equitable positive
co-evolutionary change; design and establishment of structures
and processes that can support improvement; collaboration and
support within contexts of difference; ability to learn and
research (particularly participatory action research);
rehabilitation and maintenance of personal, social and ecological
systems; and effective relational communication.
sounds like the sort of program that you have been looking for, or if
you know someone who might fit right into such a program, then don't
hesitate to contact us. Get more information and details of the
programs by contacting our program administrator Lizzy Pemble by mail
(School of Education, UWS Kingswood Campus, Locked Bag 1797 Penrith
South DC, NSW, 1797) or at (02) 4736-0334 or e.pemble AT
We are riding a new wave of industrial revolution into the RENEWABLE ENERGY AGE. Renewable Energies bring only advantages and no burden to the world.
The ECO SUSTAINABLE PLANET and ECO SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY sections often overlap - as crops become fuel and microorganisms make electricity - the line is blurred and indeed that is the desired 'interconnectedness' effect.
All these exciting new green technologies could become marketable at any time. To clarify exactly what is available now, you'll find WAPSEC is in the business of WATER & POWER SECURITY. WAPSEC supplies 'wholistec' solutions with leading-edge technology from Germany and Australia.
ECO SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY Ecology and Technology working together in synergy. SUSTAINABLE is 24 x 7. ECO SUSTAINABLE is when there's no waste. The waste product of one process is fuel for the next.
THE AGE of ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY - inspiration leads to innovation, and solutions provide engineers and architects methodologies to green the world. Man learns to live with the planet.