Summary of Ecoliterate

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Ecoliterate book summary


8 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

7 Style


Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence), Lisa Bennett and Zenobia Barlow explain the tenets of “ecoliteracy.” They advocate engaging with your community and with environmental causes to thwart ever-increasing threats to clean air, water and land. People need a positive, aware relationship with the natural world to ensure humanity’s individual and collective survival. Population growth from 1.6 billion people in 1900 to more than seven billion in 2012 puts new demands on water supplies, makes it harder to feed people and exhausts the soil. The authors ask if the Earth has “a breaking point,” and then provide educators and concerned citizens with a wealth of teaching ideas, exercises and tools to build knowledge and inspire activism. getAbstract recommends the authors’ lovely, intelligent exploration of ecological issues to anyone interested in education, ethics, the environment and humanity’s relationship to the planet.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to teach and practice the core principles of “ecoliteracy”; and
  • How to draw environmental lessons from the use or sourcing of coal, oil, water and food.

About the Authors

Daniel Goleman also wrote Emotional Intelligence, Ecological Intelligence, Social Intelligence, and Leadership. Zenobia Barlow is executive director of the Center for Ecoliteracy, where Lisa Bennett is communications director. The Center’s mission is “advancing education for sustainable living in primary and secondary schools.”



In 2009, Johan Rockström, director of Sweden’s Stockholm Environment Institute, assembled a team of more than two-dozen scientists who “identified nine life-support systems essential for human survival.” The team articulated “a safe zone” within which humans can flourish. ...

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