Heiner Benking, Berlin heiner@benking.de - www.in-betweener.org/flatworlds/ please visit also: www.deepworlds.org/

Background Material for



as part of: "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 -

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

With the citations from Kofi Annan we have set our endeavor here in search for EARTH LITERACY under the broadest possible scope for a gargantuan challange that we need to tackle as Humanity. Can we make the new realms of our aspirperations and actions so concrete that we can explore and study them?, and find ways to communicate and negotiate alternative sectors and perspectives, cultures, positions and levels, find the (made visible through embodyment) patterns and fields that connect and overlap?, and see commons and ways to bring together different modes of thinking and acting, different sign systems, different "worlds". The aim is to go beyond our self-centered, mesocosm, and short-term reasoning, and become more tolerant.

The issue of going beyond dichotomies and polarisations is definitely a challenge too hard to tackle with our modern western logic and reasoning only. With extensional models we can embody issues, leave the tracks of 1-dimenional thinking and see situations from different angles, distance and immerse into "matters" in order to share this "other" perspectives.

The option of doing something just in eduactional institutions, or just in science or policy is one of this dead-end, vicious alternatives which make us halt as we intuitively know that we need to tackle the whole issue, all ages, all sectors and with a long view. Please go here to see some visualisations of the dimensions and scales we are talking here about: (Konrad Lorenz Institute Emergence Lectures).

So looking into Literacy or better Earth Literacy just for kids, teaching them to respect and safe the Planet, or addressing Citizens, teaching them to act responsibly or ethically, or teaching leaders to include all options and reduce suffering, keeping all dimensions, dynamics, and cultures in mind is a task which alone will not be achieved. What is needed is a multi-modal comprehensive effort which includes all stakeholders and doesn't cut-out regions, sectors, subjects, and maybe even enlarge other aspects. See for example below "Blown up continents, cropped, cut-out oceans by individuals who think they care and speak for certain elements of aspects.

But how shall we do this?, where to start, who should lead? - who should set example and be a credible source to learn from? Shouldn't we try to find participative, collaborative ways? But this will need a gobal covenant, something shared, tangible, concrete.

But where to start when having the Global Problematique and World Affairs, the same time the understanding of Youth and their awareness and orientation in mind?

The author was hoping that after introducing the cartographic concept of equivalence or "equal-area" world maps in he early 70ies that it would be only a matter of a generation or so, that awkward projections would be replaces by compromise projections and equal area projections. See in Recommendations that due in most parts of the world.

So where to start in view of so little happening the last 30years and even worse - projections like below are just entering our daily life with digital cartograhy at our fingertips.We have shown in the Earth Literacy - "Time for Renewal" paper that some International and Environmental Organizations still use the Mercator Projection. But why is it, that that active cicil society groups, NGO's, elders an leaders across the political, social, and economic spheres also use these maps when just starting with interactive mapping, web based applications? and so solidifying world views based on outdated ot recommended, historic world mapprojections?

Below you can find some examples of groups currently use maps inappropriate or misleading for their stated purpose, other examples you can find in the main earth literacy article.

Late Note, the Open Space people reacted immediately and in favour of equal-area and fair maps they sayed that they will look into how to exchange their internetet presence a.s.a.p.

Fig 1-3 show how very recent Greenpeace  map using a BETA TEST Google service called FRAPPR to present how people can explore how to "DEFEND THE OCEANS" maps. They use not only severy distorted maps, as most experts would say. This is little better than the Ocean croppings, where "Worldmap Clippings" are just cut-outs where large regions seem to be not existent.

The question is why NGO's like Civil Society pressure groups or nature advocates and activists use such maps when they want to fight for what they neglect? or why respected and outstanding Elders and International Movers use such maps? People who were involved with Earth Day and by all means care about the Planet.

Or why global active paricipatory OPEN-SPACE practitioneers, invite colleges to put heir hand up in their respective region and why doesn't anybody object to be on such a map? Well all seem to be used to such maps - and maybe teachers did not teach map-making and projections.

THE ABOVE SHOWS THAT "MAPS AT OUR FINGERTIPS" - now visible and used at home, give he the issue maps of map-alphabetism and earth literacy is more pressing and urgent than we have thought the last 30 years. The idea that fair and fidel will not be part of the curriculum just

as a matter of time - one or two generations - but that the cheapest or the solution "at hand" is used and crates realities hard to revisist anc change the moment such

But EARTH LITERACY has to do with more than just 3-dimensional maps - it has to do with a multi-dimensional, multi-perspective "realms" which need to be explored and negotiated. This is the primary focus of DEEPWORLDS, IN-BETWEENER, and 9-D.

So let us explore here a littel more on how to immerse into complex issues, and how to tread it on personal and mutual levels:

What is needed are not just "commandments" to treat others fairly and ethically (TOP DOWN) but to understand the bigger picture and contexts of humanity now acting with a much broader radius of action and responsibility. (Hans Jonas) TIME AND SPACE HORIZONS.

pls. see this section as part of recommendations (2)

Ecoliteracy and Earth Literacy are definitely important issues. Interesting meetings have been held at Rio+10 in Johannesburg, or already 1990 in France, see Talloires Declaration, and a UNESCO report from 2002 or the IAU reports on this, or - highly recommended Educating Earth-Literaste Leaders _PDF (Jucker/Martin 2003), but shoudn't we make such terms more real and concrete to we can negotiate and see from different angles? It is okey to seperate deep-ecology meaning to look for the inner side, but arent there so many other sides and views as well, and can the old seperationn of "inner versus outer outer" help us? even when we seperate micro from macro we still need to say if this applies to a certain individual, or a group or culture. pls also visit the Furture of Higher Education with some references to what is meant here, or the Grand Environmental Challenges collected by the US National Academies, NRC; NAS in Washington to make a differenced.

maybe we should see the issues connecting leadershiop and governance, pleas see THE CAPACITY TO GOVERN and theses we developped whern introducing this CLUB OF ROME report.

or other links to show how "en vogue" the topic earth literacy is:


I am collecting here some text on about the tackling og global or Earth issues in the past and howe and why I feel connected and concerned and "rooted" in the the issue.:

Heiner Benking