We live in a time of unprecedented change and face a perilous future. Already we are beginning to experience the early stages of climate change, global economic collapse, social unrest and resource depletion. Our children face an uncertain and scary future, and our education system is not preparing them with the skills they will need to confront the difficulties they face as they mature. The old values and models of the education system are no longer appropriate.
They are the values and models that have led us into these crises that we now face.
- They were the values that shaped the identities, careers and actions of the Wall Street investment bankers and traders and the corporate and political leaders who profited hugely by making countless others homeless.
- They were the values that have led to the exhaustion of the world's resources for the benefit of the very few, leaving millions of others to pay for the cleanup and remediation.
- They are the values that threaten to make the planet literally uninhabitable for our childrens' children.
They are the values that must be abandoned and replaced if our children are to have a life worth living. We need to change the education system fundamentally to cope with this new reality. It's no good just adding or subtracting a course or part of the curriculum here or there. It is the values at the heart of the system, not the bits and pieces of knowledge and information that are the problem.
The economic, environmental and social problems that have appeared in the last five years are not goijng to go away. We are not going to bounce back and "recover". This situation is here forever, unless we take drastic and immediate steps to change things. The reason that we can say this with confidence, is that globally, we have reached, but are as yet unwilling to accept, the limits of growth.
For 500 years we have been plundering and exploiting the Earth's resources as though they were infinite. They are not. We exist unsustainably in a finite environment, to which we will ultimately succumb if we do not change. The economic collapse of 2007-8 was not just the work of a few deviant and immoral investment bankers. That was just the tip of the iceberg. The deeper realities - Peak Oil, diminishing resources, escalating food and commodity prices , population growth and widening disparities of wealth and power are the driving causes. This essay explains the linkages between oil depletion, sub-prime mortgage fraud, economic collapse and the risks to our future survival.
Unless we educate our children to address and solve these and other problems, they will not survive.