Tackling the climate crisis and associated eco-anxiety must start in the classroom

If children learn to love and value nature, they learn to love her and will live to protect and honour her.

The Time is Now to Explore the Benefits of Nature-Based Education in Our Teaching Models and Fill in the Missing Link:

Connecting Nature with Education and Teaching.

Calling All Teachers: Please Join Me in ‘Education of My Dream’ 

Nature-Based Education and Free Access to the Natural World as a Human Right in 21st Century

 Photo: The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) 

This presentation is dedicated to the youth of the world, our children and grand- children, who are the unfolding story of the decades ahead. May they rise to the challenge of leading our troubled world, with hope and wisdom in the interest of the common good to a better future

The Youth of the World: Their voices will be heard

Rethinking Education at the Time of Environmental Degradation and Eco-Anxiety Crisis: ‘The climate crisis  is taking a growing toll on the mental health of children and young people.’

The Time is Now to Explore the Benefits of Nature-Based Education in Our Teaching Models and Fill in the Missing Link: Connecting Nature with Education and Teaching. 

‘Mother Nature does not belong to us, instead we belong to her and we must respect all that she has to offer us: Strength, Perseverance, Patience, Optimism, Respect, Acceptance, Balance, Appreciation, Self-worth, and Happiness.’-The Enviromentor

Photo:Jerome Gilles/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Nota bene

You Live What You Learn

Photo: Dan Jensen

Individuals, like the ones you see above, and others like them,  did not get the kind of education I am suggesting below. They have devalued, debased and degraded mother nature and all the web of life, with highly consequential consequences for all.

Continue to read and see for yourself how easily and how effectively with a better education, dreams and imagination, we can construct the world we are all yearning for.

Education is not just learning the skills to make a living; it is learning to understand life itself.

“Don’t just teach your students how to count. Teach them what counts most.”

‘Children Learn What They Live’

Photo:EnchantedLittleworld

I must say, I cannot think of a poem that so simply, but most  eloquently explains the power that we, the adults, have over our children’s lives than the one written by Dorothy Nolte titled ‘Children Learn What They Live.’ This poem, to my mind, must also be the poem that every teacher should live by.

‘If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.’-Dorothy Law Nolte

Dorothy had composed this powerful poem in 1954. Now in 2021, if I dare, I wish to add the following line to her timeless words: If children learn to love and value nature, they learn to love her and will live to protect and honour her.

In recent years, more and more researchers are  reporting and confirming that active care for the environment in adulthood is frequently associated with positive experiences of nature in childhood or adolescence, in families and schools.

This posting is offered with respect to these findings and suggests that an education immersed in, and guided, by Mother Nature is what is needed and called for to educate and create a transformative leadership culture, to act as custodians and not exploiters of mother earth and nature.

Calling All Teachers: Please Join Me in ‘Education of My Dream’

What is the point of education with its strive for  ‘Excellence’, if it doesn’t make the students and teachers happy, healthy,  kind, caring and thoughtful?

If children learn to love and value nature, they learn to love her and will live to protect and honour her.

‘Children & Nature Are Meant to Be Together’

Photo:Pinterest

“All creatures of Earth are looking to us for their destiny.  Among these are our children and grandchildren, who depend on our decisions for the sustenance and flourishing of the life systems of the planet.This remains one of our primary challenges in the twenty first century.”-Father Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts  

Education of My Dream: Education to Make us Human

Education ‘to transfigure the ego - to liberate the soul’

‘Where is the life we have lost in living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’-T.S. Eliot

"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all."- Aristotle

“The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.”— Plato

"You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. 

"Teach your children what we have taught our children -- that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

"This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

"Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself ..."- Chief Seattle

'Let them (your pupils) study to be good rather than learned, for learning begets envy which goodness destroys. Goodness is both more useful to men and more pleasing to God than learning. It is also more enduring. We forget more quickly some facts which were quickly learned than we lose principles of conduct which we have attained by arduous daily practice. Learning in itself brings little of value, and that for only a short time, while goodness is eternal and leads to the realisation of God. Therefore, following the example of Socrates, advise your pupils to use human learning to dispel the clouds of the senses, and to bring serenity to the soul. Then will the ray of truth from the divine sun illumine the mind, and never in any other way. That is the only useful study. A man who acts otherwise labours vainly and miserably.'-Marsilio Ficino letter to Lorenzo Lippi 

Calling All Teachers: Please Join Me in ‘Education of My Dream’

In order to succeed and realise our dreams, we must come together and encourage others to join us too with our belief that the main purpose and reason for education and schooling should be to transform all pupils and students,  provide them with the tools of self-transformation, so that  they can connect, value and appreciate all aspects of the web of life and change the world for the better. 

Students and the youth wish to know more about their present and future. They want to be assured that their academic institutions care. They want to be inspired and they want hope. 

Furthermore, in contrast to the current and dominant education system, our schools  should strive to guide the students into finding answers to some of the most fundamental questions we face as human beings, namely: Who and what am I? What is the purpose of this journey we call life? What does personal transformation mean? What is my relationship with life, mother nature and mother earth? What is the meaning of life? What is success? What is failure? What is money? What is wealth? What exactly do I need to be happy? What is a job? What is a career? What is work? What is service? What is my vocation in life? What is me, what is us? What is community? What is the world? Where is my place?...

‘We become teachers for the reasons of the heart.

But many of us lose heart as time goes by.

How can we take heart, alone and together,

So we can give heart to our students and our world,

Which is what good teachers do?'-THE HEART OF A TEACHER

Given my own life journey, experiences and feelings, as well as my long and rewarding years of engagement, dialogue and sharing with my students, I, too, came to the same understanding:

If I want my students to be happy, successful, leading a meaningful life, then, I must cultivate kindness and compassion in education and my teaching. And I hope one day very soon, all the schools, high schools and universities, the world over, will teach modules on kindness, compassion, happiness, simplicity, beauty, wisdom, nature, poetry, philosophy, and more, regardless of what their students are studying for.

If they don’t, then, to my mind, they have failed, and failed very badly, in their pastoral care of their students. 

In order to achieve this, we should return to the time honoured wisdom and values:

In the beginning were the words...They became languages...They became poetry...They became how we express and project love, kindness, goodness, commitment and more

Let the words sing to you, dance for you, empower you to become the person you envision yourself to be: This is the mystery of values-led, purposeful and meaningful education.

Dear fellow educators,

This is How Wisdom Grows- Educating Hearts and Minds

‘Some say that my teaching is nonsense.

Others call it lofty but impractical.

But to those who have looked inside themselves,

this nonsense makes perfect sense.

And to those who put it into practice,

this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:

simplicity, patience, compassion.

These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and in thoughts,

you return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies,

you accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,

You reconcile all beings in the world.'- Lao Tzu

“When beauty touches our lives, the moment becomes luminous. These grace-moments are gifts that surprise us. When we look beyond the moment to our life journey, perhaps we can choose a new rhythm of journeying which would be more conscious of beauty and more open to inviting her to disclose herself to us in all the situations we travel through.”-John O’Donohue

Thus, Dear fellow educators, we must become instruments of change urgently, if we wish to leave a worthy and meaningful legacy to our loved ones.

To begin this journey, my first and foremost recommendation is for us to contact our elected representatives, the politicians, the school boards, community, cultural, spiritual leaders, everybody, and demand action for change.

To my mind, the first change must be the introduction of a compulsory module in every educational institution in the land, to teach the teachings of the wisest teacher that has ever been: Mother Nature!

In short, we must call for climate education to be integrated, become mandatory and be assessed throughout the education system, by embedding it in education policy and teacher training colleges across the world.

Furthermore, this nature-inspired education must also be utilised, especially at secondary schools and universities as the focal point of solutions to address issues such as eco-anxiety, climate injustice, poverty, inequality, employment, and more, which are of utmost concern to the young people.

‘More than parent and student communities, the teaching fraternity needs to understand that the essential purpose of education is not to enable students to earn a living, but to learn how to live life. As the primal teacher, Mother Nature teaches both the secret of life, which is to respect all life, and also how to live one’s own life in harmony and balance with all creation, exemplified by the manner in which various species of the natural world live in peaceful co-existence.’

‘Picture a school where the natural environment becomes the classroom and Nature becomes one of the teachers. Even students who don't exhibit "nature smarts" will become more attuned and connected to the world around them. And as many wise people have said, we can't save something we don't love, and we can't love something we don't know. Don't we owe it to our students to help them develop their naturalist intelligence?’

We should look beyond ego, selfishness, competition, economics and money and open our eyes to beauty

“We seem to have forgotten that the human spirit is not satisfied by material progress alone. It’s time for us to reconnect with nature.”-Fiona Reynolds, former National Trust director general

William Wordsworth is Britain’s best-loved poet, whose thoughts, sentiments and writings about people, nature and society, are so topical and current they could have been written yesterday. Wordsworth is known to be a worshiper of Nature. His love of Nature is tender and truer than any other English poets. There is a separate status of Nature in his poems. He believed that there is a divine spirit in nature. He believed that the company of nature gives joy to the human heart and he looked upon nature as a healing force. Above all, he regarded her as a great moral preacher. He believed that there is a link between man and nature.In his eyes, "Nature is a teacher whose wisdom we can learn if we will, and without which any human life is vain and incomplete. "He believed in the education of man by nature. "Sweet is the lore which Nature brings”.

When there is no Mother Nature Present- There is no Balanced, Values-led Education

By Forgetting Mother Nature- We have Now Ended Up with This unenviable World

A Time to Rethink What is Valuable, What We Teach, What We Learn, and How We Live 

Dear fellow educators,

Learning from wise Mother Nature

Small is Beautiful: The Wisdom of E.F. Schumacher

In all my academic life, spanning over four decades, I have been dismayed, frustrated and overwhelmed with pain to notice that our education model has not embraced the beauty and the wisdom of our mother nature and our sacred earth, incorporating them into the teaching curriculum.  

This, to my mind, has seriously deprived the students, our future leaders, or indeed, our current leaders, to get a wholesome, values-led education, and thus, has prevented them, to vision and implement policies to heal our world, to better our lives.’- Kamran Mofid

Envisioning the Future of our Children’s Education

Photo:loudsmiles.com

Social and Emotional Learning and acquiring skills such as active listening, self-awareness, empathy, kindness, love, trust, respect for others, care of mother nature and suchlike, will empower us all to lead a better and a more rewarding life, now and forever. 

‘The past year has been tough on all of us, though perhaps on children most of all. A crucial stage of their education and growth is taking place under the shadow of disorder and uncertainty. Difficult times give rise to difficult emotions - anxiety, frustration, boredom, melancholy, self-pity, and many more besides.

‘When dealing with such feelings, we face the problem of articulacy. To fully process our emotions, we first need to be able to recognise, name, describe and give voice to them - a skill we call emotional literacy. Sadly, it’s an ability traditional education often neglects to teach sufficiently.

‘Though developing emotional literacy is particularly crucial for the young (who may be processing such emotions for the first time), it’s just as important for adults. All of us, young and old, need regular help to find words for our difficult feelings.’ - Excerpts from The School of Life 

“Our societies have a huge collective regard for education; but they are also oddly picky in their sense of what we can be educated in. We accept that we will need training around numbers and words, around the natural sciences and history, around aspects of culture and business.

“But it remains markedly strange to imagine that it might be possible – or even necessary – to be educated in our own emotional functioning,...’-Emotional Education: An Introduction

Dear fellow educators,

To my mind, this is where and when, the healing power of Mother Nature, is so important and needed in our classrooms and beyond.

Rethinking Education at the Time of Environmental Degradation and Eco-Anxiety Crisis: ‘The climate crisis  is taking a growing toll on the mental health of children and young people’

Time is Now to Explore the Benefits of Nature-Based Education in Our Teaching Models

‘Coronavirus shows us it’s time to rethink everything. Let's start with education.The pandemic is a tough lesson in the workings of the natural world – and proves how vital a knowledge of ecology really is.’- George Monbiot

When there is no Mother Nature Present- There is no Balanced, Values-led Education

By Forgetting Mother Nature- We have Now Ended Up with This unenviable World

Eruption of Corruption in British Education:Debunking the Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of Values-free Education

University Corruption and the Financial Crisis: The Theft of the Century by the Most 'Educated Thieves'- All with MBAs and PhDs

A New Decade and a New Vision for Education: Seizing the Moment, Realizing the Value of Values-led Civics Education

Reimagining Leadership: A Human Centered Approach to Finance, Banking and Business

A Time to Rethink What is Valuable, What We Teach, What We Learn, and How We Live 

Learning from the wise Mother Nature

A painting by Lori Roberts, Little Truths Studio

On the 250th Birthday of William Wordsworth Let Nature be our Wisest Teacher

In this troubled world let the beauty of nature and simple life be our greatest teachers 

Land As Our Teacher: Rhythms of Nature Ushering in a Better World

Our Heritage is Arboreal and interwoven with the Life of Trees, OUR BEST ALLY FOR THE CLIMATE

‘More than parent and student communities, the teaching fraternity needs to understand that the essential purpose of education is not to enable students to earn a living, but to learn how to live life. As the primal teacher, Mother Nature teaches both the secret of life, which is to respect all life, and also how to live one’s own life in harmony and balance with all creation, exemplified by the manner in which various species of the natural world live in peaceful co-existence.’

‘Picture a school where the natural environment becomes the classroom and Nature becomes one of the teachers. Even students who don't exhibit "nature smarts" will become more attuned and connected to the world around them. And as many wise people have said, we can't save something we don't love, and we can't love something we don't know. Don't we owe it to our students to help them develop their naturalist intelligence?’

Nature the Best Teacher: Re-Connecting the World’s Children with Nature

Dear fellow educators,

‘Imagine mentioning William Shakespeare to a university graduate and discovering they had never heard of him. You would be incredulous. But it’s common and acceptable not to know what an arthropod is, or a vertebrate, or to be unable to explain the difference between an insect and spider. No one is embarrassed when a “well-educated” person cannot provide even a rough explanation of the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle or the water cycle, or of how soils form.

All this is knowledge as basic as being aware that Shakespeare was a playwright. Yet ignorance of such earthly matters sometimes seems to be worn as a badge of sophistication. I love Shakespeare, and I believe the world would be a poorer and a sadder place without him. But we would survive. The issues about which most people live in ignorance are, by contrast, matters of life and death.

I don’t blame anyone for not knowing. This is a collective failure: a crashing lapse in education that is designed for a world in which we no longer live. The way we are taught misleads us about who we are and where we stand. In mainstream economics, for example, humankind is at the centre of the universe, and the constraints of the natural world are either invisible or marginal to the models.

In an age in which we urgently need to cooperate, we are educated for individual success in competition with others. Governments tell us that the purpose of education is to get ahead of other people or, collectively, of other nations. The success of universities is measured partly by the starting salaries of their graduates. But nobody wins the human race. What we are encouraged to see as economic success ultimately means planetary ruin.

The Age of Inhumanity: Selfishness, Competition, Digitalisation, Virtualisation and Neoliberalisation, Creating a Zombie World!

Large numbers of people now reject this approach to learning – and to life. A survey reported this week suggests that six out of 10 people in the UK want the government to prioritise health and wellbeing ahead of growth when we emerge from the pandemic. This is one of the most hopeful results I have seen in years.

I believe that education should work outwards from our principal challenges and aims. This doesn’t mean we should forget Shakespeare, or the other wonders of art and culture, but that the matters crucial to our continued survival are given the weight they deserve. During the lockdown, I’ve been doing something I’ve long dreamed about: experimenting with an ecological education...

...There’s nothing radical about the things we’re learning: it’s a matter of emphasis more than content – of centralising what is most important. Now, perhaps, we have an opportunity to rethink the entire basis of education. As local authorities in Scotland point out, outdoor learning could be the best means of getting children back to school, as it permits physical distancing. It lends itself to re-engagement with the living world. But, despite years of research demonstrating its many benefits, the funding for outdoor education and adventure learning has been cut to almost nothing.

This is the time for a Great Reset. Let’s use it to change the way we see ourselves and our place on Earth. The conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote that “one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen.” But if everyone has an ecological education, we will not live alone, and it will not be a world of wounds.’- Read the original article HERE

See also: Rethinking Education at the Time of Coronavirus Crisis: The Time is Now to Explore the Benefits of Nature-Based Education in Our Teaching Models

COP26 Glasgow: Hope and Humanity to Save Our Mother Earth and Nature, History Will Judge the Complicit

A Selection of related and inspiring articles from the GCGI Archives:

A Call to Parents and Grandparents to Protect and Save Mother Nature in the Interest of Their Children and Grandchildren

Photo: Sheeba Magazine

‘Nature and Me’: Realigning and Reconnecting with Mother Nature’s Wisdom- A Five Part Guide

A Call-to-Action to all Parents and Grandparents: Hearing and Answering the Cries of our Mother Nature, our Children and Grandchildren

The future that awaits the human venture: A Story from a Wise and Loving Teacher

Celebrating the life of William Stanley Merwin, poet of nature, a lifetime worker for peace and social Justice (September 30, 1927 – March 15, 2019) 

A Sure Path to build a Better World: How nature helps us feel good and do good

Do we love the world enough to look after it, to save it?

My Economics and Business Educators’ Oath: My Promise to My Students

‘What They Forget to Teach You at School’: Fix Education to Fix the World

Brexit, Trump and the failure of our universities to pursue wisdom

What is Happiness? What is the Good Life? Lessons from the ancient philosophers to help improve our lives today.

Happy Teachers, Happy Pupils, Happy Schools, Better Education, Better Lives, Better World

Finding sanctuary in poetry during lockdown

Poetry is the Education that Nourishes the Heart and Nurtures the Soul

The healing power of ‘Dawn’ at this time of coronavirus crisis

Coronavirus and the New Tapestry of Life: The time is now to rediscover our true selves

Coronavirus and Easter: Message Remains the Same

Celebrating the joyous Spring with Hopkins and Wordsworth

‘In Pursuit of Spring’

The beauty of living simply: the forgotten wisdom of William Morris

Are you physically and emotionally drained? I know of a good and cost-free solution!

Meditation at the Shore

The GCGI-SES Lucca Forum: Here's to 2018, Our Journey of Hope, caring for Our Sacred Earth

Worshiping “economism” with no time for natural beauty: Pity the lot of us

The Journey to Sophia: Education for Wisdom

Nature is the model to teach business how to thrive

Small is Beautiful: The Wisdom of E.F. Schumacher

‘Why Are Our Politicians So Crap?’ The rise and fall of Britain’s political class

Neoliberalism destroys human potential and devastates values-led education

The World would be a Better Place if Economists had Read This Book

Britain today and the Bankruptcy of Ideas, Vision and Values-less Education

What if Universities Taught KINDNESS?

To All Striking Academic Colleagues in Britain: Turn the Strike to a Force for the Common Good

Neoliberalism destroys human potential and devastates values-led education ...

Kamran Mofid, Keynote Lecture, GCGI Dubai Conference, 2004

What might an Economy for the Common Good look like? 

What is the Value of MBA and Business Education?

The Value of Values: Values-led Education to Make the World Great Again

Is Neoliberal Economics and Economists 'The Biggest Fraud Ever Perpetrated on the World?'

The Destruction of our World and the lies of Milton Friedman

The Value of Values: Values-led Education to Make the World Great Again

Ten Steps to Build a Better World

Top