This page is about LITERACY:

Literacy, Map Literacy, Earth Literacy, Earth Literacy Learning, as a requirement for

Earth-literate Leadership

(policy-makers who might need to study this).

"Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that sounds abstract - sustainable development -
and turn it into reality for all the world's people.
Making the abstract real and developing the capacities of individuals and societies to work for a sustainable future is,
essentially, an educational enterprise. "

Kofi Annan

pls. see also UP-DATE May 2006

but please study also the terms below: Literacy, Map Literacy, Earth Literacy, Earth Literacy Learning and Leadership , ... and read on...

Earth Literacy & Map Alphabetisation !

Below, we have collected introductions to the terms, ideas and visions behind "Literacy" and "Earth Literacy". In a nutshell, it is about us and the earth along and across scales, image schemas (metaphors) and sign systems and how we can come to grips and share aspects of the world beyond our limited narrow scope of meso-scale environments. One of the persons behind the Earth Charter, Ronald Engel, outlines the need for a "Global Covenant", a common model or matrix, to show our shared frames of references at all scales - including people, texts, images and symbols. This is the larger picture that we have in mind with "deepworlds", and which we call an embodied Global Covenant.

But how do we get there ? How, when we have no shared maps and models?, How, when we only have a babylonic confusion over terms, when the sciences are fighting over turfs and terms with the traditional sectarianistic ways and means? How do we get there? when our Children are confronted with a variety of strange "World Maps", when science and politics do not have shared maps of the world, when modern digital cartography now even brings the old, obsolete Map Projections into every home and onto the desktops of our kids?

The dilemma of where to start around environmental education and ethics, - whether with educating the policy makers, scientists and teachers, or starting with the next generation - seems already obsolete as well, as ubiquituous, distorted world-maps make us even more confused about figures, facts, and positions about Planet Earth and the levels, sectors, scales, proportions, and consequences involved.

Greenpeace, setting out to save the Oceans, is now using the map shown below (Fig.1). Even the advocate of the "Seas" uses maps where Oceans are ill-represented and sizes and shapes are extremely distorted. Simply compare the relative size of oceans and landmasses in the figures below and see that with modern internet world-maps we see 500 year old projections, not recommended by any professional or teaching organisation are finding their way back into the eyes and minds of young and old people. MORE

Or when you compare the "New Map of the Pentagon" (Fig.3), which received some publicity in the United States and the World Map of the New Decade for Sustainability Education of the United Nations (Fig.4), ... are we looking at the same Africa and North America, the same Greenland and India?

Quite confusing, don't you agree? Especially when you consider yourself a pupil trying to understand and still deep-questioning the world and the place of oneself and others, or trying to understand the challenges and impacts of change in certain regions!

For the 60the Anniversary of UNESCO last year we have collected some more examples. Please follow the links around deep & flatworlds, but before have a look at the links and definitions we selected around Alphabetisation and Literacy below:

-as seen in the UN - UNESCO Literacy Decade 2003-2012 - about the conventional "Word" Literacy

Map and Model Literacy
- as a Campaign for Map Alphabetisation
- an introduction to map making and map use

- please view the Position paper on MAP ALPHABETISATION AND EARTH LITERACY from the 60. Anniversary of UNESCO Nov 16th, 2005 with Recommendations and DISCUSSIONS of wrong, distorted, ideological, misused, outdated, discarded, true and fidel and equal area maps

- UPDATED !! looking also at the hot issue of the new world of MODERN DIGITAL "world mapping" (some new announcements from 2006)!!.

Earth Literacy
- as discussed around Rio and the EARTH SUMMITs which we discuss in deepworlds.org later.

before maybe see earth literacy by whom, why..? or see links in the text Earth Literate Leaders: http://in-betweener.org/flatworlds/maps/earth-literate-leaders.html
some more links and references will added a.s.a.p..

Earth Literacy Learning
- how to learn with & about maps in schools and public

and finally, what all this really is about:
Earth literate Leadership

pls see http://in-betweener.org/flatworlds/maps/earth-literate-leaders.html and this paper Educating Earth-Literate Leaders _PDF (Jucker/Martin 2003).

We are presently working on a grid to show the "levels" of Literacy, how much are concerned with and trying to come to "grips" with what is literacy in the broadest sense, and beyond certain words, jargon, and "box thinking" of single disciplines.

This page is about LITERACY in a broader sense, much broader than just reading your text. We also need to read notn jsut the text in manuals, maps, courses, but link it with the context, the legend, the situation, metqaphor, model. It is not just that words are used but words with other sign forms make up a greater whole which needs to be understood and shared with opthers for meaningful joint actions.

As Literacy is understood: The sad "status-quo":

We have found this "more official" definition on Literacy on the web:
"OUR DEFINITION OF LITERACY focuses on "reading for a purpose". It emphasizes using printed and written information to function in society and to achieve one's goals and potential. This is somewhat different from a school-based definition of literacy, which focuses on learning to read and reading to learn."
Adult Literacy UNITED STATES (issue was brought to the fore last week, when Mark Schneider, Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, released the results of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). His report is online at: http://nces.ed.gov/whatsnew/commissioner/remarks2005/12_15_2005.asp.

"The 20th century decline has continued and even accelerated. In this first National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) study since 1992 adult literacy remained flat or dropped at every education level, from school dropouts through college graduates. It was rated according to four categories: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate and Proficient." for more see: UNESCO Decade

Working on MAP, MODEL and ENVIRONMENTAL, EDUCATIONAL, ... EARTH related issues,
we proposed to understand "literacy" broader:

"Literacy is about how we read - understand - share the meaning of words,
and signs, images, analogies, maps, models, even what we experience in Nature,
even across scales, times, and cultures, the Earth".


Literacy in "charge" media
Conventional - Traditional Literacy UN - UNESCO

Decade 2003-2004

WORDS - stories/analogies

just verbal analogies, see only the UNESCO Decade site with a Greenland larger than Australia. and in contrast to the UNESCO MEDIA services site.

Map and Model "Literacy" General Model Theory - Stachowiak UNESCO 1972, see folio 7, later also 6 and others.

see also Dennis Wood maps as "Supersigns" and the "campaign for map-alphabetisation"

Maps and Models as Supersigns, see also ICSU-CODATA slides:

and a text at the moment only in German from the TUAC (the unifying aspectcs of culture" seminar. see issue of truth-fidelity-trust-match is covered here som some degree.

Earth Literacy discussion and proposals since the Earth Summit 1992,

see Earth Literate Leaders for Johannisburg Rio +10

The EARTH ? - the Whole? and how we can think, impart, and teach issues like wholeness and holism in a modern beyond dualisms like exoteric/esoteric sense !


Please see the original discussion text and a little outline for the

UNESCO Decade of Sustainabiltiy Education Worldwide

... and was initiated by looking at the opening event of the DESD in Germany - UNESCO Decade of Sustainabiltiy Education Worldwide in early 2005 at DIDACTA in Stuttgart at how Children learn about the world in their classes and textbooks.

Please see this text first:

"Time for Renewal" - Time to fight Map-"Analphabetism"
High Time to re-visit our World-Views, World-Maps, World-Models & Earth Literacy -
and how we map, model, and communicate -

on the occasion of the 50 years UNESCO celebrations in Paris and the World Summit on Information Systems (WSIS) inTunis

pls. see the ORIGINAL ANNIVERSARY ARTICLE the recommendations for map making, some texts about modern digital cartography and its impacts, and colelctions about Earth Literate Leadership and Governance.

At Didacta 2005* we realised that still world-maps view considered in-approriate, very distorted and replaced by compromising projections are still in use everwhere, also in teacher guides and materials to produce educational material.

Later we realised that with modern digital cartography we have missed the chance to overcome old world maps, world map projections and word views, but still the old maps are recreated and made available EVERYWHERE in form of FRAPPR and GOOGLE MAPs. We had to learn that with modern world of DIGITAL "world mapping" some old projections which wee through being replaced by compromise worldmap projections are celebrating their "revival".

But the problem seems to be very much "top down". The International Organisations in charge are still using these old maps we considered obsolete 30 years ago and so a lot of Interantional Programmes, like DESD, MDG, ... are on unstable, distorted projections, leading to misrepresenataiton and false assumptions, wrong ideas about relations between areas - region - cultures - impacts - ... in short: proportions and consequences.

Febr. 2nd 2006: There is presently a discussion of the use of inappropriate maps as a sign of ignorance, demagogy, apathy, scharlatanery, ... I need to add here later the words for Nachlässigkeit, Dummheit, Fahrlässigkeit, Gleichgültigkeit,...

This page was prepared at hoc - giving a glimpse on deepworld.org and its section on COMMONS and LITERACY as we need commons, common frames of references - to "gauge the human prospectus" (Noel Brown Rio 1992 and 1994) and jointly define or find our ways and means. .... we might end up with questions around media policy and the arts and governance. or get lost in the "turns" without pragmatic spin. s.a. KOUVOLA-SIS.

(*Didacta is Germany's / Europe's largest and annual Education Fair.)

Heiner Benking