Today I participated in an event which was held simultaneously held in 16 other cities around the world organized by 350.org and the Vancouver Public Space Network.
On a very cold day in Vancouver, we headed to David Lam park and stood around a field holding green umbrellas. We arrived early in the morning and draped green across our umbrellas and held them up in the air. Our objective was to focus attention on climate change and participate in a community building activity.
My son was a little trouper for most of the event, but eventually we went to a nearby coffee shop, grabbed a hot chocolate to fortify ourselves, and then came back to the field just in time to be photographed from space and from an airplane.
Human beings are capable of organizing themselves into such intricate and amazing patterns. This particular project was dealing with climate change, which is a serious issue for our planet. The reform over how we utilize resources on our planet is under way and although it has not made enough of an impact to slow climate change, already there are many things that we do differently because of it.
Similarly our entire education system is a such an amazing machine when you look at all of its pieces. So many different people have to cooperate to make our education system run.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the machine though because it is no longer functioning as it should. The machine was built for a very different world than the one in which we live. Just like we need to change how we consume everything our planet has to offer, we need to change how we educate our youth. The changes that are needed for either problem are not small, they will require wholesale rethinking of our resource and education systems. We need to rebuild our machines.
The problem is that both of these machines have a tremendous amount of inertia behind them. Most people who are bound by these systems can’t see a different way of doing business. Worse, even those who have the ability to step outside the box and visualize these problems from a different perspective cannot agree on what that perspective should be. We are trapped by our inertia and it will only be through great effort and quite possibly sacrifice that we will solve either of these problems.
We must solve these problems. It is not acceptable that we continue to plunder our planet the way that we are whether or not you believe that we are causing great damage to our climate. It is similarly not acceptable that our schools are not preparing our students properly for life. The machines of education and resource management do not require some grease or some minor fixes to start working again. Both of them need to be rebuilt completely.
Thankfully, there is hope. So many people came together today to support a climate change awareness initiative and so many continue to work on solving this important problem. Similarly there are so many educators now who are aware of the issues we are having in education, and who are working to try and affect changes in their schools. The only question will be, will we be able to make the changes we need before both systems collapse completely?