Originally published as:
SLESS D. 1992. Literacy: an ecological view. National Conference Australian Council for Adult Literacy

A useful metaphor

The current interest in The Environment has made interdependence a concept for our time. No longer do we see the world only in terms of simple cause effect relations, but we now see, and expect to see, that all things are in some sense interdependent and interrelated. Empty the CFC from the air conditioner, and the carbon footprint grows, the temperature rises and we get tsunamis and the extinction of the polar bear. This sense of interrelated events in a complex system has become part of the intellectual framework of our time. I can therefore use this ecological way of understanding as a productive metaphor for understanding literacy within a much larger system.

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