1. Introduction
A 'thin place': the 19th century municiple graveyard, Great Yarmouth 
A educational mission
A mission is a special quest, one that involves more effort than, say, a trip to the nearest supermarket. Mission comes from a Latin word that means “to send.” It was first used by Jesuit missionaries who sent members of their order overseas to establish schools and churches. Foreign travel is still associated with the word. When diplomats and humanitarian workers travel abroad, we often refer to those trips as missions.  If you were to drive all around the country searching antique fairs for porcelain cats, you could say you were on a mission.  Similarly, if you were searching for somewhere to contemplate your place in creation you could say your mental needs had sent you on a mission to find places for imaginative meditation.  This is the basis of self education to build a personal body of knowledge.  Places that act as a perceptual focus for this kind of educational mission are sometimes referred to as thin spots. They have greater spiritual and transformative powers than others; the veils between material and spiritual realms are subtle and porous. James Joyce summarised this process as: "Any object, intensely regarded, may be a gate of access to the incorruptible eon of the gods”. What matters is quality attention to a limited space that provides a portal to release the imagination.  In this context, the most ordinary objects of contemplation become thin places for stimulating creativity.
Imagination in place
The arts of imagination in place, by virtue of their grasp of the power of word, story, and image to reinforce, enliven, and direct environmental concern, can contribute significantly to the understanding of environmental problems: the multiple forms of ecodegradation that afflict planet Earth today. All branches of what have become known as the the environmental humanities; ethics, history, religious studies, anthropology, humanistic geography and ecocriticism, take the viewpoint that environmental phenomena must be comprehended, and that today’s burgeoning array of environmental concerns must be addressed imaginatively, qualitatively as well as quantitatively.
The concept of ‘Imagination in place’ is presented here in a topic outliner and mind map where the top level of interaction includes ten windows. The first opens up a point of view that a new educational framework is required that places world development alongside conservation management. This dual arrangement of ideas about nature is necessary to encourage the search for shared values in confrontations where self interest, on one side or another, is seen as a supreme virtue. Cultural ecology is presented as a workable body of knowledge with which to embrace human relatedness to the rest of nature (organicism) alongside scientific authority.
The next nine windows provide views of the targets of multi purpose conservation management in relation to the values attached to them by human observers.  These views of the relationships between people and nature encompass the actual targets (ecosystems, landscapes and historical monuments and icons of people/nature interactions) and the values attached to them by people, through art, wayfaring, folk ideas about the cosmos, places for deep-thought, and philosophical views of nature. All involve attachments of imagination to landscape and bear upon the long-term achievement of a people-nature equilibrium. The latter is presented as a cultural climax reached  by the renewal and sustenance of a long lost intimacy between people and other living things.
The windows reveal various routes to a life-revering ethic within a realm of ideas that bind us to Henri David Thoreau's 'maimed and imperfect nature' as if we are a part of it. The problem is  that when the forces of industrialism were applied to design a more perfect, ideal, nature, this link was severed. The American, Ralph Waldo Emerson, for one, was a vociferous advocate of  humankind bettering itself by casting adrift from 'the despotism of the senses'. This entailed obtaining privileges for the welfare of people without any obligations to wildlife. However, it is becoming increasinly clear, year by year, that to fulfill humankind's global project for long-term economic prosperity requires firming up the spiritual in what Emerson described as the exercise of 'spiritual lordship of this planet and its creatures.'
The practical aim is to encourage people, when they make contact with nature as developers, residents or tourists, to search for a local set of empirical facts with ethical meaning. Hopefully this activity will produce moral truths that can be placed alongside the scientific criteria for evaluating the relative utility of different places for conservation management. This is the new 'balance of nature, where economic activity has a lighter ecological touch.
Education should therefore deal with the value of affluence compared with the value of nature. Development happens when we humans utilise Earth's natural resources by linking the capacities of the human brain with the institutions of human society.  The resulting technological and social innovations are driven by energy, the cheaper the better.  Hence the overwhelming historic importance of fossil fuels in kick-starting the industrial revolution.  Developing nations see this clearly.  If their energy becomes too expensive, their development will stall.  So they will not agree to 'save the planet' just because the developed nations tell them too.  This is the dilemma underlying the control of climate change, which, it is generally agreed, is the result of increased carbon dioxide resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.  The topics to be addressed to bring nature and humanity into a resilient steady state are individualism, unlimited progress, competition, consumerism and the unregulated global market. Imagination in place is required to promote economic development and delight in our own cleverness.  Imagination is also required to value nature as for example a delight in the beauty of bird song or a sunlset reflected from a bed of dried reeds..
Denis Bellamy; 2016
This mind map has crystallised from several decades of cross-curricular inputs from teachers and students who have contributed to developing the Welsh Schools in Communities Agenda 21 network, now based in the Welsh National Museum and Galleries at Cardiff, and on line at www.resilience-uk.wikispaces.com.