Would you be willing to share a sentence or two about what is most on your mind about the future of Earth? What questions come up in your family discussions, in class? What items in the news most strike a chord in your heart? What issues hold prominence as you think of the earth we're leaving for future generations?
I'm not asking for a coverage of all the issues--there are so many--just the ones that stand out to you as something you personally hope we can focus our collective energies on and influence in a positive way. Something that's really important to you, personally.
Again--not so much a debate as a "what's on your mind." Just a list, generated by community members, a way of seeing what's on our minds.
That can be our way of recognizing Earth Day, sharing our heart-felt hopes and questions. (If you have time to ask your students, please do, and please share what they say.)
I am hoping to become more "green" in the classroom (using blogs, Wikis, and my new website, etc. instead of paper and ink. That's a start. We also recycle paper in school this year. I also want to see the movie "Earth" this week.
Which will come first? We will deplete the resources of the planet and disappear as a race some time in the next few centuries, or we will create such a large gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" that this will breed a world wide wave of terrorist who use nuclear and biological weapons to destroy the human race in the next century, thus saving the planet from the destruction of humans.
I don't know if any of you have read the blog written b Dave Pollard. Here's a couple of thought-provoking articles that I read the other day.
Dave uses visualizations in his blog article, which are a sophisticated way to try to create understanding. The problems of planet earth, and of the people on planet earth, are related. We can't solve one without trying to solve the other.
I don't think the billions of dollars being spent by government will do much to change the future. It's the dollars that individuals and organizations provide to innovative thinkers and people who see solutions where others only see problems that might bring us a path that saves future generations from what we're all leaving behind.
I am reticent to add this to the discussion, but not having participated in some time overcame that initial feeling. In thinking about Earth Day and the state of the planet I am filled with enormous ambivalence. Mostly, my thoughts are filled with doom, doom, doom. I worry that the damage that we have done over the last 150+ years is irreversible in our lifetimes. What is most disheartening is how great the acceleration of destruction has been in just the past 30 years.
I mean discussions about the environment have been a mainstay of public life for as long as I can remember and yet it seems like we make even less progress. Coal power plants are still our largest source of energy in this country, possibly the dirtiest fuel available on the globe. Plus, I find the whole notion of clean coal technology the most insulting of spin jobs, and that comes from a kid with a family tree whose roots reach deep into the ground of coal mines.
It all prompts deep concerns for the world that my young daughter and unborn child will inherit. I hope that we humans will get smart enough to develop solutions that will help address the myriad of problems.
I guess that is what makes events like Earth Day so important, without it there would be even less awareness and urgency to change. If only every day could be Earth Day.
...greetings from British Columbia, Canada.....as to the Earth Day.....my wish would be the increase of local agricultural production on a small, local scale....increase of family gardening, incl. animal husbandry, beekeeping, many more.......with the overall goal to drastically diminish (or even eliminate) the transportation component of food cost....have a good one.....Otto
As a new parent, I am finding restored relevance in all sorts of things, including Earth Day. This recent photo of my son, daughter, and a young neighbor says something about "heart-felt" hopes, does it not?
There's pros/cons to most alternative energy sources, but there are a scant few who would argue that reduced consumption is bad for the planet. Question is, how do you develop a change-management plan that is going move the world's population in the direction of less consumption?
Earth Day reminds me of my past life/job as an environmental activist organizing Earth Day events in Boston and Cleveland. I remain hopeful about the future of the earth, but concerned about the long-term survival of our species. The earth has survived ice ages, meteors, skies darkened by volcanoes, and the planet will survive the activities of humans. Humans are less adaptable than the planet, but I am still hopeful that our intelligence will triumph over greed and the misuse of our natural resources. As a teacher, I see everyday how children respond to animals, being outdoors, and their respect for the natural world. They are the future and they will create ways to wisely use our natural resources.
I am most concerned about social equity. The current paradigm supports the sustainability of richer citizens. They are the ones who have the means to switch to solar, drive a Prius, etc. I hope for de-development and de-consumption.
I agree that as educators we must not only set the example of wise consumption but also address the issue in our daily teaching.
This year, I am thinking of the incredible impact our food has on personal, societal, and environmental well-being.
As an avid meat eater, it saddens me to learn about the environmental impact of large-scale cattle farming and I wonder, if I hate watching the normal treatment of cows as they are branded, neutered, and later butchered, how I can justify being the cause of that inhumane cruelty.
I think about the global market for food as a readily-understandable analogy for globalization as a whole. I live in a semi-rural area, but other than what we buy at the farmers' market and what we grow in our garden, most of what we eat comes from halfway around the world. It's a dilemma; how do we respond to the ecological impact of our habits without destroying the livelihoods of developing nations? How do we firmly root ourselves in our neighborhoods and communities without cutting ourselves off from global diversity and social justice issues?
I've been enjoying some shows from iTunes lately like "Stuff Happens" (Bill Nye is back, baby!) and Ecopolis and the 30 Days episode "Off the grid". I believe people will act for the benefit of each other up to the level of the enlightenment and education they have attained, which really puts an onus on us as educators to not let these kinds of things fall by the wayside or be swallowed up by the "tyranny of the urgent" in our daily routines.
Wow--what a wonderful set of responses; I'm feeling a commonality in our thoughts, and am grateful for all the ideas, perspectives, and links.
What's on my mind? Here's what I think about, straight out, this day in the life, this life, actions and purposes... I think of:
Valuing and supporting the Encyclopedia of Life, E.O. Wilson's ambitious project: "Imagine an electronic page for each species of organism on Earth, available everywhere by single access on command." - Edward O. Wilson. Yes, get information, as much as we can, while we can, the more information the better, share it all, have scientists and citizens worldwide contribute to this project.
Supporting nature education because the more people experience nature (especially young people), the more they are motivated to respect and preserve it.
Teaching with a systems-approach. How are living things connected?
Teaching with a problem-solving perspective: tease out the variables that affect living things; find out how the variables are interconnected, find out what we can do to begin to solve complex, multifaceted problems. Start early, preschool... continue forever.
Fueling young people's problem-solving energies by providing them with examples of individuals and groups who make a difference; encouraging young people to share examples of this that they come across; supporting each and every person's caring--in whatever form it takes.
Networking--finding ways to connect, to form communities who are interlinked in their caring; sharing thoughts, sharing projects, sharing readiness to know and do more.
Thank you, everyone. Keep the thoughts coming. As several have said, Earth Day should not just be a day, but rather a way of life.
I'm moved by all the responses and heartened by the growing sense of responsibility for and acknowledgment of our relationship with the earth — the call for and to leadership; awareness of such issues as consumption, energy use, conservation; concern about the ever increasing degree of impact that our modern ways of life have on the natural world; the rising consciousness of the Go Green movement; the great and worthy work of professional environmentalists; the importance of teaching kids regarding the value of reduce, reuse, recycle, and picking up trash; the need to replant trees; to monitor and protect water quality; to find alternatives to landfill, and myriad important areas for increased consciousness and responsible action.
And what I continue to return to is what I consider to be the fundamental basis for all of our concern — our profoundly intimate, life sustaining, spiritually enlivening relationship with Earth. To me this is the essence of what brings the necessary changes, actions, awareness, and impetus for increased consciousness. Our earth is the very ground of our being. It's astounding, really, that we would treat the earth with anything but reverence and full-out gratitude.
What earth offers us is far more than the resources for living that we tend to think of these days. This was not always the case in the early history of humankind. But it is very much an issue of our modern times. And, of course, everything we can do, any small change we can make, any increased awareness and responsibility makes a huge difference today.
But my deepest concerns lie in the degree of humankind's disconnection from nature that seems ever on the rise. I agree with Connie that nature education is absolutely essential for our children. Not just learning "about," but first hand experiencing, examining, participating in the wondrous world of nature while its wildness is still available to us.
With that wildness comes its profound beauty, inspiration, and awesome spirited essence. When we give ourselves the gift of direct contact with nature, immersion in its rich, ever changing, interactive, multilayered, mysterious, wondrous being-ness, we get a glimpse into the depth of our own existence and the awesome miracle of our short, and precious lives upon our planet.
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