WEEC 2007 – 7. A meeting is not an end in itself, but a means towards an end. You can check whether a meeting has met its objectives by looking afterwards at the communication residue. So what mental imprints are - after one week - left behind from 6 days in Durban, South Africa? For me there are four touch points between WEEC 2007 and myself: the sustainability experience, the learning experience, the experience of the EE brand or content and the African experience. This - in my case - is the communication residue:
Sustainability experience: I did not really have an opportunity to experience sustainable development: the event talked more about sustainability than it showed participants in the organization, its eco-performance and exhibitions.
Learning experience: I am left with the impression that mainstream EE experts seem to feel most comfortable with a lecturing style and are apparently not familiar with new modalities of professional dialogue, deep listening and other forms of learning.
EE brand or content experience: the conference left me with the idea that mainstream EE seems to be focused on formal education, methodology and pedagogy and not so much on deep change in individuals and organizations or impact on society.
African experience: singing, dancing, contagious humor and many more aspects of African culture, undoubtedly have an exciting and powerful magic I learned. In spite of all the rhetoric however I am left with the question how much that magic in real life - especially in a society in transition – is linked with the logic of the all pervasive importance of and the need for good education.
For me this exercise provided useful learning for the organization of meetings I am involved in. Maybe it also inspires the organizers of Tblisi + 30 (planned for this autumn) and the next WEEC (planned for 2009) to make a next generation effort in providing leadership for learning in and about EE and ESD.