The environmental inquiry method: trialing a new approach to teaching about ecosystems

Alexander Tinti | June 11, 2022

On June 8th, we had the pleasure of organizing a workshop with the local environmental women’s group AGRICOP. Their goal: transforming a hectare of their land into a showpiece for regenerative agriculture.

We are constantly exploring new ways to get people excited about the countless upsides of regenerative agriculture. Rather than simply giving a lecture on the mechanics, we simply focussed on asking a few, important questions to which we then figured out the answers together: what is the ecosystem? Why is the ecosystem so important to us? We continued to quiz them until they themselves came up with answers: functioning ecosystems provide us with clean air, clean water, fertile soils, and many more basic things without which no one could imagine living.

With each question, we went further into details: how does the ecosystem provide us with clean air? What happens when we interrupt the process? How can we repair it? What are the answers to these questions if we consider clean water, fertile earth, the value of biodiversity, or climate stability?

It was wonderful to witness how, in an instructed Q&A game, the group itself ultimately was providing all the right answers – all we had to do was to ask. And at the end of the Q&A we showed them how we in the Refugio are addressing the solutions they themselves came up with. Maybe this inquiry-based method of teaching about ecosystems and regenerative agriculture can inspire others to sharpen people’s understanding of the natural cycles which sustain our life on earth.