So, I’ve taken education very seriously for quite some time. Probably going back to my days as a philosophy student at U of W in the mid-1990s, when I was really learning to think critically. I began to realize then – though it took studying ecology from my mentor, the late Vere Scott of the green movement in Manitoba, to understand the application – that systems can suffer from intertia and that when we try to solve problems using the logic of the system that is failing, we miss out on opportunities to correct failures, and often cause new problems.
In other words, a redesign of our system could be more efficient than the problem management approach we so often see. Caught in the politics of panic, we do not step back and re-evaluate. We forget the forest for the trees, forget the values that we wish to instill in our children, not to mention the values by which we conduct our society.
We find ourselves in the midst of several crises: the massively high levels of poverty highlight our economic crisis, as the gap between rich and poor increases; we just passed 400 ppm of atmospheric greenhouse gases and the City of Winnipeg released at least 1 million litres of raw sewage into the very Red that transects this most diverse Ward 7 of the Winnipeg School division. Many reports have been written about the nature deficit that city dwellers experience, bereft of wild places as development continues to encroach (consider the Parker Wetlands) and we lack time in our busy lives to go off of the beaten track. On top of this all is a technological crisis: we continue to unleash digital technologies without stopping to consider the impacts they are having on our bodies, minds and collective culture.
Children are acutely affected by these changes. They are inheriting a world of great uncertainty, and are perceptive to our at times indifference to our natural surroundings. They sense our struggles, that we are forgetting something, that there is a break in the transmission of our natural human heritage, evolved over thousands of years.
We owe it to them to not inherit this massive ecological and social debt we are leaving. As the traditional indigenous saying goes, ‘we do not inherit the world from our ancestors so much as borrow it from our children.’ Continue reading