What is Ecological Literacy?
Dr. Smith's children's book series is based on defeating Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). Exposure to nature through reading and writing about nature connects children to nature that surrounds them, even in urban areas. For example, Steve the Urban Rabbit is about the author's own backyard rabbit. We all have nature around us but we often do not see it or engage in it through our urban eyes. The eco-literacy in these children's books is intended to open our eyes to nature. The books are intended for the budding naturalist, too, because the language used in the books introduces scientific terms in a reading-friendly way.

 Ecological literacy, or eco-literacy, is a term first used by American educator David W. Orr and physicist Fritjof Capra in the 1990s, in order to introduce into educational practice the value and well-being of the Earth and its ecosystems. Eco-literacy is thinking about the connected, interdependent systems of the world both in nature and with humans. Human interactions have consequences and change the ecology of life. Eco-literacy provides knowledge about interactions and strategies for dealing with the issues in an integrated way, understanding that one system affects another. The goal is to provide sustainability through understanding the interdependence of ecosystems. Shaping a sustainable society depends on understanding and acting in an ecologically friendly manner.

Core aspects of ecological literacy are: 
1. principles of living systems;
2. design inspired by nature;
3. systems thinking;

4. ecological paradigm and the transition to sustainability;
5. collaboration, community building, and citizenship.


Michael K. Stone and Center for Ecoliteracy, Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability
(Watershed Media, 2009)

Michael K. Stone and Zenobia Barlow (eds.) (2005)
Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children
for a Sustainable World, Sierra Club Books.  

David W. Orr –

Ecological Literacy (SUNY Press, 1991) - Frijof Capra -

Books – The Web of Life; The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living; Uncommon Wisdom –

Videos – Ecological Literacy Part 1: Ecological Literacy Part 2: Ecological Literacy Part 3:

Daniel Goleman, Ecological Intelligence (Broadway Books, 2009)

Alan R. Berkowitz, Mary E. Ford, and Carol A. Brewer. A framework for integrating ecological literacy, civics literacy, and environmental citizenship in environmental education - in, Johnson, E.A. and M.J. Mappin (eds.), Environmental Education or Advocacy: Perspectives of Ecology and Education in Environmental Education. Cambridge University Press. New York. pp 227-266.

Hoelscher, David W. "Cultivating the Ecological Conscience: Smith, Orr, and Bowers on Ecological Education." M.A. thesis, University of North Texas, 2009.