On 22 April, a Webinar hosted by Mirian Vilela titled Restoring our Relationship with Earth: An Educational Approach to a New Civilization took place in celebration of Earth Day with Lynne Twist and Satish Kumar as participants. The underlying premises were: everyday is Earth Day and restoring our relationship with the Earth. Approximately 120 people participated in the live event.
The following questions were addressed:
- What is the kind of education that is needed to address the challenges of current times?
- What are the keys of transformative learning?
- How could the connection with nature be included in education processes?
- The Earth Charter mentions: “We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.” How can we cultivate that?
Themes of transformation of education, the need for the feminine of humanity to rise, and that human development is about being more not having more, as stated in the preamble of the Earth Charter, ran through each intervention.
Education requires fundamental changes in its philosophical foundations and attitudes as we enter new times. We are entering the age of ecology, of nature, and education for the industrial age is outdated as humans and nature become the end, rather than wealth. Education needs to enforce the notion of being more, rather than of having more.
Change can occur and can come fast when the world view shifts. Transformational education is essential in order transform and awaken to new ways of seeing. There is need to educate in emotional intelligence and in how to cope not only in our own survival but focusing on evolution, transformation and dealing with every day life.
Reality is made of relationships between objects and subjects, not of disconnected items or subjects as viewed in most educational systems. Subjects and objects exist only in relationship with each other and education needs to evolve into an interrelated, interconnected, interdependent view of the world.
Having is the curse of modern civilization (Kumar) and education has played a mayor role in sustaining and developing that view. Having transforms abundance into scarcity of resources and impossibilities for many who don’t even get enough. The world needs to be a you and me world, rather than a you or me world (Twist).
Institutions, including religion promote a scarcity mentality, thus the need to have more for survival. Society will need to generate institutions that are true to the world and shift to a new view of enough and sufficiency where the feminine and the young will bring about an evolutionary stage.
It is important to stress that nature is the source of life, not a resource for the economy. Humans are not resources either, economy is a resource and production and consumption are the means to an end, that is, the well being and integrity of the Earth is a revolution. Economy has become a religion that needs to be changed so that nature and Mother Earth become the religion and all forms of being become a family.
Revolutionary changes will only come from the fringes through grass-roots movements, not from the centers of power. Ideas of holistic education involving the brain as well as the body and student’s connections to communities at the grass-roots level will exert influences that the big centers will not be able to hold and they will necessarily have to change. The younger generations are moving and the older generations will have to join and work on such movements.
The dream of infinite growth is a fairy tale, and that dream needs to be changed to one of wellbeing of the world. That is, as the EC mentions: We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more. The key to sustainability lies precisely there.