EV 120: Elements of Sustainability
Ecological Leadership







 Ecological Leadership: Mastering the Five Disciplines

Catamount Institute, an environmental field school in Woodland Park, is pioneering the development of a new field called "Ecological Leadership". The premise is that we can learn much more from nature's holistic wisdom than from reductionist models of the world. Through outdoor activities and guided exercises, participants will increase their understanding of their interconnection with the natural world while learning about the five disciplines of personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning and systems thinking. Ecological leadership provides knowledge and metaphors for meeting our immediate goals without compromising the needs of those who will be born seven generations after us.

The ecological leadership program starts with the premise that human systems are just one small part of natural systems. The ecological leader realizes the interconnectedness of these systems and views them as an integrated whole. The ecological leader's holistic perspective shapes how their values, ethics, choices, and behaviors affect each other and their environment. The first step of ecological leadership is to create learning communities that promote ecological literacy. Subsequently, leaders develop long-term alignment of ethics and values in daily life and at work. Through hands-on outdoor activities and discussions, we will learn how to apply principles of ecological leadership in our daily lives with family, friends, students and colleagues.



Students should become more ecologically literate

Students should expand their knowledge of systems

Students should model a personal challenge with a CLD

Students should understand the role of mental models, team learning, shared vision and personal mastery as approaches to leadership

Students should form a learning community and evaluate their learning communities



What is a system?

What is an ecological community, how is it studied and how does it learn?


What is your system?

Who is in your learning community?


How do you model an ecological system?

How do components in an ecological system interrelate?


How do you model the campus system?

How do components in the campus system interrelate?


Where is the leverage point in an ecological system?

Where is the leverage point in campus systems?


How are we connected to ecological systems?


How will our community learn best?