Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 223–233

Mālama I Ka ‘Āina, Sustainability: learning from Hawai‘i’s displaced place and culture-based science standard



This response to Mitchell and Mueller’s “A philosophical analysis of David Orr’s theory of ecological literacy” comments on their critique of Orr’s use of the phrase “ecological crisis” and what I perceive as their conflicting views of “crisis.” I present my views on ecological crisis informed by standpoint theory and the definition of crisis as turning point. I connect the concept of turning point to tipping point as used in ecology to describe potentially irreversible changes in coupled social-ecological systems. I suggest that sustainable societies may provide models of adaptive learning in which monitoring of ecological phenomena is coupled to human behavior to mitigate threats to sustainability before a crisis/tipping point is reached. Finally, I discuss the Hawai‘i State Department of Education’s removal of its Indigenous science content standard Mālama I Ka ‘Āina, Sustainability and its continued use in community-based projects.


Sustainability Tipping point Standpoint theory Adaptive learning 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curriculum StudiesUniversity of Hawaii at MānoaHonoluluUSA

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