Seeking Sustainable Science (2013)

Katherine Pitman

Management: Staff reflection with PedroBendum is becoming known as a place in which people from across society can ground their understanding of community-based environmental management, seeking a greater sustainability that can be shared by all through the development of a ‘science for social change.’

Staff from APC and ESSC were host to Jesuit Social Service’s CEO Julie Edwards and architect Clinton Murray and his colleagues, who visited Bendum in January. This meeting was part of the on-going relationship of support and networking between ESSC and Jesuit Social Services.

The time in Bendum was spent discussing the emerging centers in the Asia-Pacific region where groups have sought space to achieve a more integrated learning sense of the sacred.

Bendum: Mountain range

Beautiful landscapes spark reflection and remind us of the need for simplicity.

Speaking from my own experience, there is something which sparks within the individual when confronted with new, beautiful and different landscapes. The forest is a place where there is time to be quite and reflect; we leave the city to be able to breathe and take stock of our lives. By embracing experiences where there is time to connect with landscape and environment, we are also reminded of our place as part of the environment rather than existing external to it, and something about the value of a simpler lifestyle is reminded to us.

There is a move in a society to respond to these lessons and experiences. Sustainable Science seeks to examine not only the scientific properties of an ecologically-sound human presence on the land, but also seeks to develop the ethical principles, policies and procedures which will allow the realization of such a vision.

Reflecting on these discussions, Pedro Walpole shared his thoughts:

“ESSC is increasingly organizing more structured learning for its partners and doing this in an exploratory form with the community of Bendum. The concept that has emerged is based on the need to develop an integrated learning center organized for groups across Mindanao, and some focused engagements from Asia and Europe.”

Management: Staff reflection with Pedro

Bendum is a place of convergence – of people, experiences, and ideas

“The intention is to create a place that can be used as a convergence point – for people, ideas, and experiences – that allows space for personal learning and reflection. The integrated knowledge systems focus on several ideas: culture, ecology, science, and spirituality. Such a center provides a sense of unity while allowing the expression of diversity in experience. Furthermore, it hopes to provide a venue where interest can be combined, values recognized, and needs and responsibilities shared.”

It is a space for a commitment to the youth that reflects their will to respond and engage with their communities and environment, and to integrate this with the different programs. Youth can better understand their roles as effective managers of the rich resources found in their ancestral domain, and through this seek a lifestyle which provides for future generations.

Similarly, the integration of youth and visitor’s learnings allows for both groups to gain a fresh and renewed approach to sustainable science; engaging concerns from a basis of gratitude and through a process of reflecting on experience.

As a central part of life in Bendum, APC has sought to incorporate Pulangiyen understanding of environment into its curriculum and approach to teaching. We continue to adapt and progress as we accompany the people of Bendum, and as the new sector of ‘youth’–that is, young adults leaving school who are not starting families–emerges, this partnership with ESSC responds to the need for the integration of sustainable science in learning, both formal and informal. In doing so, we aim to equip youth with the skills needed to become responsible leaders in the future.

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