Roundtable on Ecological Design and the Natural Capital Debate with Joanna Boehnert
Wednesday 1st July 2015 1800-2000

CHE Library, 2nd Floor, The Pearce Institute, 840-860 Govan Rd, Glasgow G51 3UU (near Govan underground station)

Booking essential: pay what you can (suggestion £5 waged). All funds to to our speaker and to support our charitable work.

We welcome Joanna Boehnert to CHE for the latest in our roundtable series. At this event, Joanna will introduce her work with an introductory talk before we open up conversation around the table for contributions, questions and insights. Light refreshments available.

About Joanna Boehnert

Dr. Joanna Boehnert is a designer and researcher with expertise in the visual communication of the environment. She recently finished a year as Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder where she was mapping climate communication and working on issues of the emerging green economy. She is now back in the UK finishing work on a book titled: Design/Ecology/Politics: Within and Beyond Error for Bloomsbury Academic. She completed an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD in 2012 at the University of Brighton titled: The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy: Designing, Learning and Emergent Ecological Perception. She is founding director of EcoLabs ( and tweets at @EcoLabs.

About the Roundtable

Ecological Design and the Natural Capital Debate

Design is a practice strategically placed to be pivotal in the transformation of unsustainable ways of living. John Berger famously said “Seeing comes before words”. Seeing is also a way new ideas emerge and thus design can facilitate change on various scales. Designing new communication tools reminds us that the ways that we think are constructed. Environmental problems can be understood as a result of dysfunctional ways of perceiving, understanding and relating to the natural world. The theory of epistemological error (Bateson 1972) posits that the western premise of radical independence and its rational logic is in conflict with its context. Reductive, instrumental and fragmenting ways of knowing are responsible for the transformation of the life sustaining ecological and social context into isolated elements to be managed with reductive methods. The notion that carving up the natural commons into individual ecosystem services will enable the conservation of natural capital is based on these erroneous epistemological assumptions. Nature cannot be effectively divided and submitted to the logic of the economic system because the ecological and the social orders are the context of the economic order.

Bateson G (1972) Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


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