Talking ecoLogical

40 Cards for building conversations towards sustainability

‘Truly brilliant’ – Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur, author

$59.95 inc. GST

Product Code: 4940

Creating a sustainable future requires us to reconsider our values and to challenge the status quo. But creating a sustainable future is also about making life better than it ever was!

Teachers and educators: bring Talking ecoLogical into the classroom. Stimulate big picture thinking about how we want our homes, cities, economies, energy systems and communities to operate in the future.

Boards, CEOs and managers: use the cards to inspire fresh thinking and plan change that is responsive to challenges we face now and in the future.

Architects and town planners: brainstorm new ideas for best design, integrated systems and progressive community development.

Churches and spiritual groups: use Talking ecoLogical to reflect on our relationships with nature, the sacred, values and human potential.

Talking ecoLogical is a set of 40 cards that can be used by anyone to create lively, thoughtful, provocative and progressive conversations about environmental sustainability. Developed with a dual focus on sustainability and social justice, the cards are designed to spark rich discussions about identity, shaping the future, our relationships with the environment and with each other.

Use this dynamic and flexible resource for teaching, goal-setting and planning, personal reflection, evaluation and assessment, creative writing and research—and rejuvenating stale conversations about the ‘problems’ of sustainability.

The Talking ecoLogical cards are divided into four suits—Elements of IdentityImagining the Future, The Challenge and Processes of Change. Each card features:

  • a topic heading (such as Transport, Prosperity, Human Scale)
  • an referenced statement providing simple, easily understood information
  • a question
  • an uplifting quote from a leader, artist or scholar.

It’s time to move beyond single issue thinking and start the move to a place where we are driven by the urgency of our challenges AND the beauty of our dreams!


Related Blog articles:

Minimising our footprint (Talking Ecologically)

Published by Innovative Resources, 2014
ISBN:  978 1 920945 70 1
40 full-colour cards, 160mm x 140mm
Clear polypropylene box, 54-page online booklet
Author: Ian McBurney
Designer: Mat Jones

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Stories and Reviews

‘Got mine in the mail today. FABULOUS!!!’ – Cecile Shanahan


What kind of discussions do people have when they use the Talking ecoLogical cards? Here’s a mash-up of  one conversation Ian McBurney, the author of Talking ecoLogical, overheard at one of his recent workshops. What conversations will you have?

‘I am offended at this Food card from the ‘Imagining the Future’ suit!’


‘Because farmers have been doing amazing things to improve soil quality for years!’

‘But they’ve been adding too much fertilizer and chemicals and feeding cows pellets and caging chickens and removing vegetation.’

‘That is a very simplistic and stereotypical judgment to make. Farmers care a great deal about their land and are always thinking about the next generation.’

‘But couldn’t you say the same about businesses in the city? They are wrecking the planet for different reasons even though they have people who care running them. Farmers might care, but they are doing damage.’

‘Some are doing damage. Many are doing wonderful things. And the examples you just used are not black and white. There are a lot of grey areas. Define ‘free range’ for example? And cows are mostly grass fed in Australia. I think businesses in the city and farmers are facing the same issues. In many ways it’s the big systems we’ve set up that are the problem. Fossil fuels, global companies, politics and media slogans make it feel too hard for farmers and businesses to run a good business without ignoring the environment. I just get sick of people going off at farmers when they have no idea how hard they are trying.’

‘So wouldn’t getting back to local help if the big companies are the problem? I’ve heard about Food Hubs in America that set up to supply their local area first and to keep the profits local. If local people were more connected to local food and local place wouldn’t that in turn help farmers care even more for their land? They would know the people buying their food and visa versa.’

‘I guess so. I haven’t heard about food hubs…’

‘Are you still offended at the food card?’

‘Yes. But I guess given our chat it’s done its job.’


‘Recently I ran four 75-minute workshops over 4 days that I called ‘Community: a Cosmos of Conversations’. At one of the workshops I did a serendipity activity asking each person to randomly choose 3 Talking ecoLogical cards and then to talk about one of these that had most relevance to their environmental concerns, the concerns in their community and what they were doing with these concerns.

It worked a treat. Everyone has an interest in the environment. And the cards were praised for the way they opened up the conversations. And as you know, when the cards work it is hard to shut people up!’

Russell Deal, trainer and facilitator (Bendigo, Australia)