36. Teaching Sustainability I
We live in a time now rife with contradictions.
Never before have we had the capability of mass self destruction on one hand; and at the same time stand at the threshold of such extraordinary breakthroughs in the human potential.
Never before have we faced environmental degradation and biological devastation on a global catastrophic scale on the one hand; and at the same time possess the applicable science to correct it, creating new models of living that are truly reciprocal with our home planet Earth.
Never before has the rich biological, ethnic and linguistic diversity of life on our planet been so threatened by the mono-chromatic, mono-cultural tides of “globalization” on one hand; and at the same time been so close to a truly integrating, unifying principle amongst the kaleidoscopic cultural heritages of human life on earth.
Never before have there been so many people, so suddenly – coinciding with the advent of industrialized medicine, agriculture, education, mining, energy production, architecture, technology, transportation… Never before has the human population exceeded its capacity for self sustenance on the one hand; whilst at the same time understanding more about human health, longevity and well-being than ever before.
Never before have we had so much information at our disposal – instantly, but seem to understand so little about so much!
Never before have such large groups of the human population been so isolated from each other by virtue of computer technology – on the one hand, when we can travel the globe and “visit” anyone in just a few seconds at the click of a button, on the other.
Never before have we been able to travel almost anywhere on earth in a matter of not days, but hours, on the one hand; whilst the environmental damage done doing so is almost irreversible.
Never before have we destroyed so much land to provide the food we eat; while the most valuable grocery store is the very soil beneath our feet!
So… teaching sustainability to young people comes with many contradictions. The message of sustainability contradicts our way of life in the “developed” world. Our way of life is simply unsustainable! Young people are inheriting a lesser circumstance than did our grandparents – in respect to our planet’s biological and ecological well-being.
Some say – we need some kind of miracle to turn it around. Others believe global catastrophe is inevitable. Some well intentioned proposals of the green revolution seem incredibly naïve. And still others simply deny the problem altogether – and continue pursuing their almighty ‘bottom line’ at the expense of everything and everyone else.
Accountability and responsibility begin with understanding what the case actually is! It takes some humility and courage to do so. Teaching sustainability is a humbling prospect – because we don’t actually know how serious our situation is.
How do you inspire children about the future and portray the emergency nature of the present it at the same time?
Many of the children out there seem born with the intelligence and capability to handle it!
The planet we live on IS INTELLIGENT! The Earth, our Great Mother and her multiple systems of support has a remarkable capacity for self-regeneration and healing. We just need to pay a lot more attention to her.
Lesson number one in the School of Mother Nature!