This article explores, in four main sections, the idea of designing and applying human-environment paradigms. First, Caring Ecology criteria for human-environment paradigms are proposed that combine the principles of caring in Partnership Studies, with compatible ecological conceptions of humans’ dependent and integrated relationship within Earth systems. Next, these criteria are used to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of five environmental paradigms which sets the stage for the following section critiquing the current “Anthropocene” paradigm and proposing a counter-paradigm: the “Apprenticene.” Paradigms suggest roles and actions and “Apprenticene Practices” are proposed, calling for humans to see our dependence on Earth systems, heal our story as we accept past failures, and learn by apprenticing ourselves to the Earth system. Finally, these Apprenticene Practices are illustrated in an example of a creative practice called Earth Systems Journey that engages youth with an integrated experience of their human-natural environment. The paper concludes with reflections on how Partnership Studies and ecological principles can work together to support a thriving future for humans and the rest of nature.


Partnership Studies; domination; Cultural Transformation Theory; Caring Ecology; dualism; holism; integration; environmental paradigms; environmental education; hierarchies of actualization; Anthropocene; Apprenticene; Earth Systems Journey; environmental history

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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