One area I did not explore in my book, but may be an area for music educators to explore in the future is the potential relationship between Chinese philosophy and teaching music for eco-literacy. A year after publishing my book, Victor Fung published his book, "A Way of Music Education: Classic Chinese Wisdoms." I began reading it, and there are certainly ecological and environmental themes in the book. In my book, I was influenced by some Buddhist thought, especially in my chapter on Spiritual Praxis, but that is admittedly Buddhism as it has made its way to the U.S., and not in a traditional, Eastern way (I was first introduced to Buddhism through karate-do, and the "do" in that term also means "way"). Fung explicates three, historically earliest Chinese philosophies that pre-dated Buddhism in China, using ancient sources, many of which are not available in English: Confuscianism, Daoism, and the Yijing. This fact alone makes A Way of Music Education a valuable addition to any English speaking music educators bookshelf. I have read, but haven't yet had the opportunity to come to fully understand all of the ecological wisdom in the book, but I look forward to re-reading it to come to understand it better.
A few weeks ago, Chinese scholars met to discuss the benefits of Chinese philosophy, and noted that "Eastern wisdom could counter anthropocentric beliefs, which hold that man is the most significant entity, that have somewhat led to tragic consequences." The philosophy on soil I present in my book is anti-anthropocentric. I also argue that centering our philosophies on human beings has had tragic ecological consequences. I drew on Western thinkers in the deep ecology movement to portray an ecocentric philosophy for music education. I learned that many of those philosophers, such as Arne Naess, were influenced by Eastern philosophy, but I do not know the extent. Ecocentric philosophies center of the ecosystem, rather than on "man." In this way, ecocentric philosophies have also been anti-androcentric (centering on gendered maleness), and many of the ecocentrists I utilize (including Vandana Shiva and Karen J. Warren) are also well-known ecofeminists.
When music educators re-center their practice on an ecocentric (rather than anthropocentric and/or androcentric) philosophy, space is opened to consider Nature's musics, whether birdsongs and whale music, or the soundscapes in a cave, or on windy plains. Composer Pauline Oliveros (who famously recorded in caverns) lived by this mantra: "Listen to everything all the time and remind yourself when you are not listening." And her website, https://www.deeplistening.org/, still provides resources music educators benefit from using. Her deep listening program seems ecocentric to me, and by centering our practice on ecosystems, we can cultivate a new generation of ecologically conscious citizens. We only have to re-awaken our senses: and who is better situated to re-open students' ears than music educators?!?