Ahh, back again after Workshop 1 of Ashridge.
Got split into wee groups (Ginette, Vera and Daniella) and as part of this, we each wrote a summary of our impressions of week one. Here’s what I wrote:
Post-Workshop One (WS1).Thoughts on the MSc.
As you’d expect from an MSc, the course presents you with a bunch of new information, facts and points of view on a topic. Further, there is a large amount of time devoted to discussing with your fellow classmates what you think of the material and what it means to you.
Right from the outset and the first lecture by Harden Tibbs, you understand the severe gravity of the situation and how human behaviour, on current projections, is going to have dramatic, catastrophic and lasting effects on the earth’s ecosystem due to Climate Change, amongst others. The collapse of the current ecosystem will lead to a severe and rapid reduction in the human population. Not good. Best avoided if possible.
You also learn that every action by an individual/business/government is inextricably linked to the overall ‘earth system’ and therefore every ‘agent’ can have a positive, or negative effect on the whole.
So, what happens on the course is that your position on sustainability hardens. Something must be done or we’re all doomed. As your position clarifies and through the discussion, you begin to question whether your own actions are congruent with your beliefs. Are you acting in the most sustainable way you can? If not, what are you going to do about it? Also, you can see that through Action Research, you not only consider your own actions (‘I’), but also the actions of your friends, family and colleagues (‘us’) as well as the wider world (‘them’). As a result, I can see one wanting to try and have the broadest and greatest amount of impact to encourage people to act in a more sustainable way, so that we, as a species, can avoid the impending disaster.
So, this is interesting, because it ensures that the course is not purely academic. It’s about academia and action. The course is difficult to explain to others what it’s about because, like an ecosystem, it’s a complex and interconnected beast. But I would say that it’s about being given information and learning that questions your own values and behaviours. This in turn, stimulates you to act to change your behaviour and ideally those of others to be more in-keeping with those values. This will increase your interest in a particular area which you will learn more about, which in turn will question your own values and behaviours………..and so on.