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Sustainable ideology emphasizes durability, longevity and environmental respect. Sustainable practices take the health of the future into consideration. This idea isn't just reserved for the physical, material world- but also applies to thought, belief, human conduct and society as a whole. (Zeitgeist .10)
Our current education system was born out of the Industrial Revolution for the purpose of serving Industrialization. With the needs of the labor market dictating education’s path, a left-brained approach to thought was designed, emphasized and delivered. The concept was to provide jobs for Americans and in turn grow the industrial economies they served.
As we collectively embark on post-industrialization, we now face a new set of challenges. Climate change, economic turmoil, political power struggles, and health concerns litter our perceptions of the world in which we reside. “Change” is a prevalent buzz word, however tangible action is a scarce reality.
If students today are expected to endure the obstacles of the future and create new solutions to old problems, it is time we equip them with the tools to do so.
When one compares the skills and processes taught in today’s schools with those needed for tomorrow’s problems, our current education system is falling short.
Upcoming planetary change will directly influence and create hundreds of thousands of jobs and careers. A more “earth centric” knowledge-base drawing off of creativity and innovation is a necessity for future professionals. Yet, instead of spending more time in nature, students spend the majority of their school hours in concrete buildings exercising the left brain. This is not sustainable education.
Most professional sectors have embarked on a movement towards understanding and implementing “sustainability”. From business to architecture, design, urban & rural planning, agriculture, local & state government, and even higher education - a transition in thinking is underway. Creativity and innovation are being emphasized and rewarded for their ability to usher in new ideas and help to answer problems posed by sustainability challenges. Current academic and professional research, experience, wisdom and debates across the disciplinary spectrum are all de-emphasizing practices that destabilize and threaten our future. It is time our public education system embraces these new transitions in thinking.
Fluid social change at large can only materialize if the human value system (our understandings and beliefs) are updated and changed through education and thoughtful introspection. Transforming education has to be at the root of everything we hope to achieve and nothing we do in the short-term will be sustainable otherwise.
A sustainable education will develop in students the capacity to create a remarkably different future - one that brings forth innovation, prosperity, meaningful work, and true security. It must take the future health of this planet and its occupants into consideration.
This new education system will accomplish these goals by fostering and supporting creativity: the ability to form new solutions to old problems. It will require new knowledge and new ways of thinking making room for more creative play, problem-based learning, and out-of-the-box thinking by teachers and students alike. Future thinkers will be able to analyze and synthesize information from various fields, work with others, and learn from their perspectives. The new system will provide leadership at home and abroad to promote deeper forms of cultural understanding and cooperation. Sustainable Education will not only create intellectuals....it will create action takers.
Your MapMaker Documentary Team is on a mission to further the evolution of our public education system. We are mapping out some of the components of a sustainable education, a school of thought based on an evolving belief system - one of mutual benefit and cooperation (rather than scarcity and competition). By providing students with visions of opportunity, responsibility, and a sense of place and purpose, we can reverse the damage being done by disconnection and hopelessness.
We are exploring what it means to live sustainably and learn sustainably….we are documenting a transition for the purpose of spreading useful insight and sharing knowledge.
Our next documentary is a map of the understanding, beliefs, skills, and habits of the mind and heart that will enable students to fashion a sustainable world. We are focusing on individuals and organizations that are committed to resolving core problems in education. We are traveling to explore the “unconventional” ideas and expertise surfacing in education.
As our social, ecological, and economical futures shift towards increased interdependence and integration, the core of our ethical belief systems must also align in a way that supports cooperation in the relationships upon which this new future is built.
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