The term Earth Literacy expands the traditional meaning of the word “literacy.” It goes beyond the usual academic criteria for critical thinking and good communication skills. To be Earth literate is to understand the basic languages “spoken” by Earth. It is to be knowledgeable about Earth’s expertise as economist, educator, healer, lawgiver and storyteller. Earth Literacy requires more than intellectual understanding. You become aware at the deepest level of your consciousness that Earth’s story is your story.
Since Earth’s story is one chapter in the universe story, to become Earth literate, you must experience yourself the unfolding drama of the universe. Earth Literacy focuses on process and story. Its curriculum is transdisciplinary and experiential.
To participate in an Earth Literacy Internship is to participate in more than an academic experience. Participation leads to a transformation process aimed at healing our isolation from the natural world. It encourages inner and outer changes in a learner’s consciousness, spirituality, values, and role choices. It also provides a hands-on learning experience in practical skills that foster the use of appropriate technologies for ecological sustainability. The Narrow Ridge Internship immerses the learner in a community of people committed to values of simplicity and engagement in the life and issues of their bioregion.
Earth Literacy deepens the learner’s understanding and sense of responsibility for the ways in which every profession and vocation is practiced. It attempts to provide a more meaningful context for the learner’s work in the world, whatever that work might be. It reaffirms a spiritual context for all human vocations. The learner’s chosen profession is perceived, not in terms of its potential for economic “success” and status, but rather, in terms of its potential for fulfillment and purpose. If your work in the human economy is at cross-purposes with Earth’s own economy, you will be in disharmony with yourself. “Success” in such work cannot be fulfilling in any permanent and meaningful way. As our society learns to accommodate the human economy to Earth’s economy, Earth literate professionals and workers will be needed. They will work to heal the split between the human community and Earth’s community, and to provide leadership in all fields of endeavor.