From looking at site stats, I see that significant numbers of people have read my recent ‘Carbon Trading – and What Should Be on the Negotiating Table at Copenhagen‘ post. The climate talks are over now, and appear to have achieved little more than add to a global atmosphere of discouragement, and so it’s left to us, the average guy on the street, to do what they should have done – that being to deeply consider what the world we want to develop should look like and to then consider how we can get from where we are now to that destination.
One of the key points I raised in the aforesaid article is the need to educate, educate, educate. The kind of education I’m referring to is not your contemporary, institutionalised, factory-type schooling that churns out faithful drones of consumption – but rather more practical-based education that enables individuals to take on the very real social, ecologic, resource challenges we now face.
The clip below, I think, is a good way to get one thinking about the topic in an outside-the-box fashion:
The, rather profound, words quoted are from Ivan Illich, whose 1971 book Deschooling Society (available to read online) was a radical interruption to mainstream concepts on education. He wrote it after coming "to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school."
It’s obvious that if our educational facilities were serving the needs of society well, then it would have already resulted in our now inhabiting a culture that manages its resources and restrains its lifestyle to keep within sustainable boundaries. To a large degree, the blame for our failing to achieve this state can be laid squarely at the feet of our educational institutions – those that are tasked with preparing the next generation for productive labour.
Because of its relevance/significance, I’ll paste below a quote I’ve used before:
Education is totality of the methods and techniques adapted by the civilized society to bring about positive changes. – Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne
I would be very interested in your thoughts on this topic. As Einstein said, "We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." The last few centuries of ecological and cultural plundering has been handed down to us, and fostered, generation after generation, by an educational system that has departmentalised the sum of human knowledge so much that as individuals it becomes very difficult to see the big picture. Our lives thus become merely a search for little, specialist niches to occupy in the established consumer culture. Breaking out of these ingrained mental constraints will, I believe, only occur if we cease spending our formative years studying how to participate in maintaining the status quo.