Scientists believe that we have entered a new era called the Anthropocene, an age where humans shape every aspect of the biosphere. I too believe we have reached a tipping point; a point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change; an act or process through which something becomes different.
In order for electricity to flow through to a light bulb it needs both a negative and a positive charge. For the purpose of this article I use this as a metaphor to highlight our need to look for the positives (in the negatives) as our world continues to transform.
As a collective there has been a shift in mindset that we no longer are living on a planet, that our value systems are a reflection of an economic model where ‘land’ is seen as no longer a limiting factor for exploitation (figure 1). Yet, as the emergence of a ‘green economy’ takes hold it is an opportunity for us to reconnect our value systems, reconnect pathways to realign our thinking and reflecting, in sustaining the health of our biosphere (figure 2).
The future is bright and in order for electricity to flow we need to embrace the positivity, embrace the opportunity for change. The change by no means rest with just the individual but with everyone and in everything. The future requires us to acknowledge our roles and responsibilities. As educators we should find positivity in the fact that we are the facilitators in making the ‘natural capital’ visible again. We can help shape the future by reconnecting pathways; by reinforcing new generations in what it means to be part of a greater ecosystem.
A green print for change
Everything is hyper-connected
In every breathe we take we play a part in influencing that environment. For every tree, every breathe we make, contributes to its growth. Inspiring one to learn is to place the learner in a position on the ‘web of life’. Any pedagogical framework should reflect the interconnectedness of our existence; context, mutuality and relativity.
Expect the unexpected
The element of surprise leads us down pathways that inspire new perspectives. We enjoy the spontaneity that imagination shared to us by young minds creates and this should be a basis for learning. Instead of building responsibility, nature builds ‘response-ability’. In the past, we could assume that to ‘educate we relied on stability and predictability in order to achieve an end result’. In the future, the only constant will be change and therefore there is a 'need to reinvent the wheel'.
Instead of focussing on 'survival of the fittest' taken to mean the strongest/biggest/toughest, nature focuses on survival of the fittest, meaning the one who is best at fitting, best at being able to adapt and to fit into new conditions and context.
Open your eyes
By being aware of our surroundings, we learn to respect (our) boundaries. By identifying the non-negotiable planetary preconditions that humanity needs to respect- in order to avoid further harming our home- new ways of seeing our world, ourselves and our purpose becomes clear.
Rockström, J., W. Steffen, K. Noone, Å. Persson, F. S. Chapin, III, E. Lambin, T. M. Lenton, M. Scheffer, C. Folke, H. Schellnhuber, B. Nykvist, C. A. De Wit, T. Hughes, S. van der Leeuw, H. Rodhe, S. Sörlin, P. K. Snyder, R. Costanza, U. Svedin, M. Falkenmark, L. Karlberg, R. W. Corell, V. J. Fabry, J. Hansen, B. Walker, D. Liverman, K. Richardson, P. Crutzen, and J. Foley. 2009. Planetary boundaries:exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and Society 14(2): 32. [online] URL: http://www. ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art32/
tipping point. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved February 7, 2017 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/tipping-point