develops a similarly rich body of knowledge about the cultural commons. For scholars
and others in education, recognizing this need is essential and fosters appreciation of the
value of civic responsibility and the need to develop strategies that will help fortify and
extend these activities. Eco-justice educational reformers maintain that teaching about the
cultural commons provides the conceptual basis for recognizing sustainable practices that
are viable and for highlighting the ways that such practices resist further destruction of
the natural commons.
Theoretical Framework
Double Bind Thinking
The theoretical framework includes the central notion based on Gregory
Bateson’s insight about the nature of “double-bind” thinking. This idea helped illuminate
the ways Western assumptions equate higher levels of consumption with social progress–
which undermines the ecological systems all life depends upon. The double bind in a
consumer-dependent society that goes largely unrecognized is the contradictory notion
that the unabashed consumption of the world’s resources brings about happiness; yet,
happiness in life depends on having clean air, water, available resources, and meaningful
community participation. Foremost in our thinking is the need to find local lifestyle
alternatives that avoid the further degradation of the earth that undermines the ability of
all living things to survive and thrive.
The Western use of the word, “progress” also assumes that mass consumerism
produces employment, and employment drives the economy. However, the continuous
efforts to achieve greater efficiency and profits through further automation is actually
reducing the need for workers. This is yet another double bind that current approaches in
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