This blog post requires you to go a little deeper and think critically.
You might find it hard to read or even boring. That might be a problem for you. You might also begin to understand that problems are merely opportunities for us to grow, learn and develop a greater sense of awareness.
Problems are necessary. Here’s one for you to chew on.
The “problem posing reality” is a term that I first heard while taking an English class several years ago. It was an essay written by Paulo Friere, titled “The Banking Concepts on Education.”
Essentially, the essay is a call to a new way of understanding education and its processes. It denounces traditional “banking” where the students are looked at as empty “banks” and the teachers are “bankers” who merely pour, or deposit knowledge, into those banks. In Friere’s opinion, this kind of teaching dehumanizes people as it strips away their individuality.
His method of teaching involved utilizing a concept known as “dialogics.” The basic idea behind dialogics is that nothing exists in a vacuum. Every word that is spoken is in response to what has already been said, and in anticipation of what is still yet to be said. This creates a “problem posing reality” because of the fluidity factor. Since nothing is ever stagnant, today’s solution may create a problem that will need to be solved by tomorrow’s new way of thinking.
It’s deep stuff I know, but stay with me if you want a full understanding of how sustainability works. You might also enjoy reading the book. This kind of thinking was very popular during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. In fact, it was passed around to those in opposition to the movement as a sort of underground way of showing solidarity, and also speaking out against the horrible things the government was doing at that time. So what does this all mean and what does it have to do with sustainability, landscaping and/or gardening???
I live my life teaching others about horticulture and landscape construction. I’ve built a career doing this through television shows like Yard Crashers, on The DIY Network and HGTV. In the early days, DIY was actually about teaching folks and empowering do-it-yourselfers. Of course, things have changed, and now Yard Crashers is more of what I call a non-fictional-makeover-show with a pretty cool residential landscape.
So back to this “problem posing reality” issue. I’m of the opinion that today’s evolving society is still very much interested in living sustainably, while also enjoying an eco-friendly lifestyle. The issue is we largely do not fully understand how to go about this. TV shows like Naked and Afraid, Alaska The Last Frontier and Ice Road Truckers all seek to show the challenges of everyday living situations for certain folk living “way over there.”
Yet, all of these shows have managed to work themselves into the fabric of mainstream culture because of our human connectedness, and the deep seated desire for us all to live harmoniously on this planet. We all want to feel good about our impact on the planet, so we do our own part to effect change in our own small way.
Doomsday preppers are fashionably recognized, along with off the grid communities. There’s also a growing population of alternative gardening and farming techniques; all because we maintain dialogue with concepts from the past and recognize the value of understanding different ways of doing things. Even if you’re like me, and you tune in to these shows primarily because the cast is half naked and you’re merely interested in seeing how it all goes down due to intrigue, you and I both will stay tuned. Hopefully, we’ll also learn a little too!
Understanding anything about nature is pretty cool if you ask me. My own interests range from aquaponics, hydroponics and aeroponics, to people living in tiny houses only possessing what they need. I am also intrigued with permaculture and the sustainable solutions they put forth. Sustainable landscape design that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing, is something I love because I’m sold on the fact that it actually makes a difference. A lot of our problems can be solved if we just take the time to understand how we got here and where we are going… which brings us full circle again to Friere’s writing, as this was one of his foundational principles.
In short, we will solve problems. We will create new ones when we solve existing ones. We will also solve those, and so the cycle continues. Sounds like sustainable problem solving might be another thing I am in to as well. Who knew, right? If you just chuckled, you know me well. Thanks for reading, caring and sharing.
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