By thinking about this moment as an opportunity for a Great Reset, and implement a long-awaited systemic and infrastructure change in areas like inclusion, sustainability and innovation, an ecosystem approach is presented to environmental, political, economic and educational problems of today”s world.
Given the new global focus on building “back” better from COVID-19, this proposal aim to build better “forward” and use this opportunity to ensure that projects meet all sustainability goals, in view of the “general phenomenon”, instead of dealing with reduced academic formats or segmented public policies.
“Development” proposals, “technological solutions”, generally ignore social, cultural and environmental impacts, linking nature (natural capital) to the financial domain, always requiring more resources, without changing the irrational system of production, transport and consumption that plagues the world.
Challenges are conceptual, more civic and political than technical: international treaties binding transnational corporations to account for environmental violations, States enshrining in their laws the duties of corporations to respect the environment throughout their operations worldwide.
Changing the paradigms of development, growth, power, wealth, work and freedom embedded into the political, technological, economic and educational institutions; requires the development of institutional capacity, judicial neutrality, informational transparency, social spaces for civic engagement and enlightened political participation.
Regeneration of natural and built environments, and social and cultural regeneration, are complementary aspects, they depend on each other, changes must be simultaneous in time and space, in order to guarantee their reciprocal support (motivations and enabling environments and contexts are interdependent).
Rather than accept a problem as given, design thinking encompasses processes such as context analysis, problem finding and framing, ideation and solutions generating, creative thinking, sketching and drawing, modelling and prototyping, testing and evaluating, in view of path-breaking solutions.
This includes public policies, communication, advocacy, research and teaching programmes and engages all society: conservation units, the media, faith leaders, advocates, experts, decision makers, activists, political leaders, organisations, groups and communities.
Creation of choices, generation of capacities, development of motivations depend on the configurations formed by four dimensions of being-in-the-world (intimate, interactive, social and biophysical), as they combine to induce the events (deficits/assets), cope with consequences (desired/undesired) and contribute for changes (potential outputs).
The process of change encompasses a synchronized work with the four dimensions of being-in-the-world, considered altogether in view of an integrated approach; the equilibrium or disruption between the different dimensions are linked to opposite models of culture (ecosystemic or non-ecosystemic).
In the socio-cultural learning niches, sharing individual stories about a system can help people develop new perspectives on the system they share; a small core of agents emerges within the system as the incumbent for innovation and emergent structures stimulate further niches development.
The individual and collective projects of life are unveiled by heuristic-hermeneutic experiences; intermediary objects (curious things, images depicting everyday life), are presented to the participants to generate awareness, interpretation and understanding beyond established stereotypes .
Contributions are analysed from a thematic (“what”), an epistemic (“how”) and a pragmatic (“whom, when, where”) point of view, encompassing the contents in the different dimensions (“thematic”), the structure of thought embedded into subject-object relationships (“epistemic”) and the actions and strategies embedded in the outputs (pragmatic).
In this sense, communication, advocacy, public policies, research and teaching would:
1) define the problems in the core of the “boiling pot” in view of a holistic, ecosystemic framework, instead of reducing them to the bubbles of the surface (effects, fragmented, taken for granted issues);
2) combine all dimensions of being in the world (intimate, interactive, social and biophysical) in the diagnosis and prognosis of the events, assessing their deficits and assets, as donors and recipients;
3) promote the singularity of (identity, proper characteristics) and the reciprocity (mutual support) between all dimensions, in view of their complementarity and dynamic equilibrium;
4) prepare the transition to an ecosystemic model of culture, a condition for consistency, effectiveness and endurance, to face the problems of difficult solution in the world.
PILON, A. F., Education Towards a Responsible Society: An Ecosystemic Approach for Advocacy, Public Policies, Research and Teaching Programmes, 2nd HEIRRI Conference, Vienna, 2018 [on line]:
PILON, A. F., Reframing Relationships Between Humans and the Earth: An Ecosystem Approach [ppt presentation], 2019:

Names and Titles of Speakers

André F. Pilon, Prof. Dr., University of São Paulo