From Biosphere to Noosphere: Vladimir Vernadsky and a discussion on sustainability consciousness


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The idea of humans handling nature makes the philosophy practical by turning attention of educational philosophers to the question of sustainable relationships with ourselves, other human beings, and our planet. These crucial questions guide ecological discourses from several philosophical traditions, with the Western tradition leading the way. Russian philosopher of science, Vladimir Vernadsky not only coined the ground-breaking concept of Biosphere, a living and evolving organism of the planet Earth, but also Noosphere, the final stage of the Earth’s biospheric evolution. He thus opened a new era in the history of science and geophysical philosophy. His theories gave birth to a field of biogeochemistry and laid a foundation for the first educational policy concerning sustainability during the foundation of the League of Nations (later, the UN).
The questions of human relationships with ourselves, other humans, and the nature are inspired by a widespread perception of humanitarian and environmental conflicts, which for millennia have been re-shaping the face of the planet Earth. The field of sustainability education has been evolving to address these questions in the curricula to evoke the sense of “ecological relationships” in the hearts of the young. This paper describes main features of Vernadskian Bio- and Nooshpherology that guide an application of the unique sustainability curricula in Hong Kong. The study of over 900 narratives of Hong Kong students enrolled in the General Studies programs in tertiary institutions revealed that “eschatological imagination” or “feasible utopia” has been a major component of human sustainability consciousness, an ability to relate to self, others, and the nature in order to build a sustainable reality on the planet Earth. Copyright © 2017 PESA.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


Savelyeva, T. (2017, December). From Biosphere to Noosphere: Vladimir Vernadsky and a discussion on sustainability consciousness. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Philosophy Education Society of Australia (PESA). Birth, Death and Rebirth: Does philosophy of education need a new Subject? Crowne Plaza, Newcastle, Australia


  • Biosphere
  • Noosphere
  • Sustainability education
  • Eschatological imagination
  • Sustainability consciousness
  • Curricular studies
  • Hong Kong


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