Welcome to another interview in the “22 Lessons in Ethics and Technology” series! In this episode, I speak with Dr. Pavel Cenkl, about the need for intellectual diversity and multidimensional approaches to technological solutions to the major problems of our time. Professor Cenkl discusses how the major problems we face require that we bring together people trained in a wide variety of approaches. Focusing on environmental issues–climate change, ecological destruction, and the possible proliferation of future pandemics–we consider how ethical approaches to technology depend on thinking across boundaries of ideas and including voices across a variety of institutions, cultures, and experiences.
Dr. Pavel Cenkl is the Head of Schumacher College and Director of Learning and Land at Dartington Trust. He has worked for more than two decades in higher education in America and has always been drawn to colleges and universities whose curriculum fully integrates learning with practice and thinking with embodiment.
Having taught and served as Dean for nearly 15 years at Vermont’s Sterling College, Pavel brings a depth of experience to Schumacher College’s unique approach to experiential learning. While pursuing research in ecologically-minded curriculum design and teaching courses in environmental philosophy, Dr. Cenkl is also a passionate endurance and adventure runner. Over the past five years through a project called Climate Run, he has covered hundreds of miles in the Arctic and subarctic on foot in order to bring attention to the connections between our bodies and the more-than-human world in the face of a rapidly changing climate.
Dr. Cenkl holds a Ph.D. in English and is the author of many articles, chapters, and two books: Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest: Region, Heritage, and Environment in the Rural Northeast (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010); and This Vast Book of Nature: Writing the Landscape of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, 1784-1911 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006). He is currently working on a book titled Resilience in the North: Adventure, Endurance, and the Limits of the Human, which threads together personal narrative and observation with environmental philosophy and reflections on what it means to be human.