About William Graham

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My Vision And Voice

What follows are notes that I made to myself as I thought about how I want to live my life. I share these ideas with my readers in hopes of creating a dialog with other environmental educators and stewards of Nature. Please share your ideas and comments at the bottom of this page.

My Objective:

To share ideas by translating the language of the natural world. Let what is out there speak to us clearly on its own terms using Nature’s three voices – factual, spiritual, aesthetic.

My Premise:

Nothing exists solely on its own. From the most minuscule atomic particle to the grandest galaxies, the past, the present, and the future of every animate and inanimate being in our universe, including human beings, is defined by its interconnection and energy flow with everything else.  If any of these links are broken, Nature at any scale would change or simply not operate.

We human beings are interdependent organisms with a legacy that is represented in both living organisms and non-living natural objects.  Like the rocks, mountains, lions, and ants, we are all made from the same basic atomic materials. We are equal partners with everything else in the Universe. The health of both our interconnected bodies and our interconnected surroundings is essential to our existence.

The Paradox:

The Anthropocene, the epoch of man, is a new geological epoch in which humans are drastically altering the planet. Humans have become the primary force for change on our planet. It is our actions  – from local to global – that now have a major influence on the health or the destruction of life on earth.

Human consciousness of the interdependence in Nature and the conservation of the resulting interconnections is essential for the survival of humanity on this planet. But, human consciousness is no longer connected to Nature even though Nature is highly interconnected with humans. 

To survive, humanity must protect connections in Nature.

The single greatest obstacle to sustainability is the erroneous human worldview that views humanity as disconnected from and superior to Nature.

The Question:

  • How can we create a new sense of stewardship to replace the destructive idea of “mastery”? 
  • How do we rapidly shift Western worldviews so as to re-establish humanity as an interdependent part of Nature?
  • How are we to go about connecting humanity with Nature?

My Vision:

  • Gain a further aesthetic, spiritual, and scientific understanding of Nature’s patterns and how they are connected.
  • Enter into a meaningful engagement with Nature.
  • Enter into a dialog with others regarding the vital importance of connections in Nature. Enlighten through my writing and teaching. Create knowledge and passion through my photography and videography.
  • Help build a renewed and large-scale consciousness of Nature through young people.

Goals:

Build A Revised Consciousness

  • A worldview that realigns the human-nature relationship to one of interdependence.
  • Build a sense of stewardship instead of “mastery”.
  • Build a consciousness of how we are all connected
  • Sustainability through education
  • Create passion
  • Offer enlightenment

Human Focus

  • Translate the language of the natural world into a language understood by humans.
  • Let what is out there speak to us clearly on its own terms.
  • Evangelize an ecological morality.
  • Our youth have the capacity to change humanity.

Needed Action

  • Read, read, read!!!!
  • Blog searches
  • Book highlights
  • Reread Silent Spring
  • Define target audience
    • Environmental educators
    • Students
    • All stewards of Nature
  • Read other blogs
  • Talk/comments to blog readers
  • Use Social Media
  • Amazon reader reviews

Write

    • Weekly Twitter
    • New essays

Photography

Videography

Blog Essays

This page lists all of the blog essays that are presented in this website. The essays are listed by category and date (newest to oldest). To go to an individual essay, simply click on its title in the lists shown below. To return to the category list, use the “back” key.

Conservation Issues

Ecoliteracy

Ecological Civilizations

Empowering Our youth

Engaging Nature

Environmental Education

Favorite

Human Worldviews

Moral Guidelines

    My Blog Essays

    Nature's Energy

    Natures Connections

    Natures Patterns

    Our Youth

    Systems Thinking

    Video

    web_resources

    Welcome

     

     

    Nature’s Energy Flow

    Human life, and all other life, is totally dependent upon Nature. Our arrogant modern humanity is unable to accept this dependency. However, it is a fact that Nature captures, contains, and operates the processes that provide you with the energy that you need to live.

    Energy Is Essential To All Life On Earth

    Nothing in our Universe happens without the existence of both energy and the pathways by which this energy flows. A destruction or hindrance of energy or its pathways, whether by man or by Nature, can bring ecological disaster.

    The major source of Earth’s energy is the sun. The sun’s atomic furnace transmits its energy outward in the form of photons – a fundamental particle of light. Our earth receives some of this photon energy, filters it through our atmosphere, and makes it available to the network of living and non-living objects on the earth’s surface.

    On Earth, the network of energy pathways begins with the leaves of green plants which receive the sun’s energy. A chemical within this leaf, called chlorophyll, receives the sun’s energy. Along with carbon dioxide from the air, chlorophyll creates a chemical called carbohydrate – a form of sugar. This carbohydrate is the warehouse that stores the energy that has been received from the sun. In this way, the sun’s energy is transformed into a form of energy that is useful to the plant and to animals that eat the plant.

    Animals, like ourselves, then eat the plant leaves. In doing so, the animal’s body transforms the stored sun’s energy within the leaf’s sugars into a chemical compound called “ATP”. ATP stores and then releases life energy for use by an organism.  In addition to eating plants, we humans, and other meat eating creatures, receive and transform energy by eating other animals who had previously eaten plants.

    Energy Is Both Transported And Transformed

    There are two important processes that take place within this energy chain. First, energy is transported from the sun and then from one organism to another. Then, within each organism, energy is transformed into a useful form. So, in order to live, every plant and every animal within the entire web of life both transports and transforms energy. The energy conduits that serve to transport and transform life energy of all plants and animals is a highly complex  network that is called an “ecosystem”. The energy networks within ecosystems are sometimes called food webs.

    The science of ecology focuses on how energy flows within ecosystems. The term ‘trophic’ refers to anything related to the flow of energy in Nature’s food webs.  In ecology, the term “trophic level” is the position that an organism occupies in a food chain. In other words, a trophic level describes what an organism eats, and who eats that organism.

    Nature’s Energy Flow Can Change Within Ecosystems

    A “trophic cascade” is a change in the transportation and transformation of energy flow. This is often triggered by humans adding or removing an organism within a food web. Often, a trophic cascade results in dramatic changes in the flow of energy which alters an ecosystem’s structure and nutrient cycling.

    The study of trophic cascades provides living demonstrations of how changes in energy flow can result in radical changes in ecosystems. In particular, these studies can show how mankind’s uninformed actions can alter Nature’s flow of energy with possibly disastrous results.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The story of the wolves at Yellowstone National Park is a living demonstration of mankind’s alteration of trophic cascades which resulted in an adverse alteration of Nature’s energy flow.  There is no better example than the Yellowstone wolf. The story of the eradication of the wolf in and near Yellowstone National Park in the early 1900s, and the wonder of Nature’s recovery when the wolf was reintroduced in 1995 is an amazing demonstration of the positive impact of key predators on an ecosystem’s energy flow.

    The story is best told through an amazing video, “Lords of Nature” which is narrated by actor Peter Coyote. There is a wonderful discussion guide  in PDF format that might be of interest to educators.

    Another amazing video is “How Wolves Change Rivers” . This short video, narrated by  George Monbiot, provides a wonderful description of the trophic cascade that starts with the Yellowstone wolves and ends with the alteration of the flow of rivers when wolves were eradicated. It is living evidence that mankind’s alteration of Nature’s web of life can produce unwanted and unpredictable changes to an ecosystem and its physical environment.

    George Monbiot narrates another wonderful video,  “How Whales Change Climate“. He describes how mankind has changed our earth’s energy flow by killing huge numbers of whales.

    “When whales were at their historic populations before their numbers were reduced, it seems that whales might have been responsible for removing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year. Whales change the climate. The return of the great whales, if they are allowed to recover, could be seen as a benign form of geo-engineering. It could undo some of the damage we have done, both to the living systems of the sea and to the atmosphere.”

    Here are some other examples of trophic cascades:

    • Sea Otters – Sea otters eat urchins, which eat kelp. Otters keep the urchin population in check so that the kelp population (and its reliant ecosystem) can flourish.
    • Blue Crabs of Salt Marshes – Blue crabs eat snails. Snails can threaten a salt marsh by consuming enough marsh grass to turn the marsh into a mudflat.
    • Jaguars & Other Rainforest Predators – Similar to the wolves of Yellowstone, jaguars and other rainforest predators keep the herbivore population from growing out of control.

     

    Empowering Our Youth (Free eBook)

     Lessons From the Web of Life

    This free PDF bookEmpowering Our Youth – Lessons From The Web Of Life” and this website advocate a human worldview that includes a deep consciousness for an interdependent and connected Nature. With this “Living Earth” worldview, we are empowering humans to partner with Nature rather than unsuccessfully trying to manipulate and control Nature. Without interdependence and connectivity in Nature, all life on Earth, including we humans, would cease to exist because the energy necessary to sustain life could not flow Everything must be connected. Everything, including humans, is interdependent.  Nothing is self-sufficient.

    Click Here To Download Your eBook

     The words and ideas in this website and the PDF book are directed to all stewards of Nature, elementary, high school, and university students, and all environmental educators including classroom teachers, park rangers, docents, and nature guides. In turn, it is hoped that you, the reader, will promote the idea that Nature’s processes of interconnection and interdependence are vital to the welfare and harmony of both Nature and humanity on this Earth.

    The strategy of the material in this book and website is to demonstrate the vital importance of identifying, understanding, and protecting the interconnections that provide energy flow in Nature. Equipped with this consciousness and knowledge, you are in a position to help current and future human generations respect and preserve the Earth’s interdependent environment that is essential for all life to exist.  You, the reader, become the messenger.

    This book and this website are designed to help you become an effective and knowledgeable messenger to both current adult generations and to future human generations — our young people. The material offers a series of teaching resources that include teaching strategies, case studies, activity sets, and lesson sets that focus on the theme that “Nothing In Nature Exists In Isolation”. The methodology for presenting this material to human beings of all ages is to set aside the formal presentation of facts in favor of individual exploration and discovery. Instead of being a purveyor of facts, you, the messenger acts as a mentor and facilitator.

    Through seminar-style discussion groups accompanied by hands-on place-based education in the outdoors, this material will help the “student” in any age group to build a healthy consciousness for Nature by engaging, exploring, and discovering Nature’s interconnected world.

    For the past 15 years, much of the material in the book and this website have been used as teaching aids in the “Journey” program in the primary and secondary levels of instruction as well as in high school courses, university curricula, and public presentations. The themes include the following:

    * Identify and describe unsustainable human population growth on a planet with limited resources.

    * Using modern systems science to more fully describe our planet as an interdependent living system.

    * Evangelize the deep dependency of humans on Nature’s energy flow within Her ecosystem

    * Examine current scientific facts as the basis for creating an environmental ethic that will guide humans toward sustainable harmony with Nature.

    * Focus on conservation practices that identify and preserve the pathways of energy flow in Nature. By identifying and conserving energy flow networks, mankind does not get involved in trying to predict what an unpredictable Nature will do. Instead, Nature makes the decisions that best serve Her and Her creatures.

    * Emphasize the fact that the environmental education of our youth produces a powerful legacy of effective conservation practices in Nature.

    The PDF book is organized into the following sections:

    • Introductory material that describes the book’s purpose.
    • Teaching concepts – suggested methods for effectively presenting the material provided in this book to different audiences.
    • Case studies for seminars – basic study/research material that describes 28 different ecological subjects to be used for conducting inquiry-based (Socratic) seminars.
    • Suggested activity sets to be used for hands-on, place-based outdoor activities in Nature.
    • Suggested lesson sets created by professional biology/ecology teachers.
    • Epilogue – Summary of the ideas presented in this book.

    Your feedback to me about this free ebook and this website is an extremely important part of my work. Whether you have found this useful or not, I ask that you provide your critique by offering your comments in the comment section at the bottom of this page. It is through your comments that I build the foundation for future editions of this book. I have found that comments from students are a very important part of any critique and I strongly encourage students to offer their opinions and suggestions.

     

    Click Here To Download Your eBook

     

    Environmental Education

    This web page offers environmental educators and other stewards of Nature ideas that I consider vitally important when I am working with my young students. I urge you to offer your comments in the space provided at the end of this essay.

    The photo at the top of this page portrays Jorge Beltran, a high school student of mine, working with a group of primary students to demonstrate how Nature is connected and interdependent. For me, it is a captivating photo because it demonstrates the power of legacy where one young person is able to pass along the power of his knowledge to younger people. 

    Prepare Our Youth For  A Changing World

    Many things in our world will be changing soon. Our world will become an uncertain and very different place for all life on Earth including our young people, their children, and their grandchildren. Here are four examples of what is predicted by many scientists and sociologists :

    • By the year 2050, the effects of climate change will start redefining how we live. Locally, climate change will cause rising sea levels that will flood many coastal regions worldwide.
    • We humans are over-consuming the resources of the Earth at a rate that will not sustain human life after the year 2100. As a result of these and other human-caused changes in our planet, the ethics of a civilized society will be gradually displaced by the ethics of a hostile society that is competing for limited resources.
    • The human population could increase from the present 7.6 billion people to an environmentally unsustainable population of 10 billion people by 2100 but perhaps as soon as 2050. With a population of 10 billion people, there will be no more land available to grow food.
    • Economic inequality among humans will continue to increase. Only a small percentage of the human population will own a huge percentage of the economic wealth. This trend will promote the uncontrolled expansion of multi-national corporations which will result in a negative impact on our environment.

    These and other environmental and social crises are caused by human adults, mostly older than age 25, who have a very inaccurate worldview of how Nature operates.

    Most of our adults do not believe that we humans are totally dependent on Nature for our life’s energy. They erroneously believe that we humans have dominion over Nature and are able to control and predict Nature and its environment. Our disconnected elders erroneously believe that our technology will save us if anything bad, like climate change, takes place. The result is the growing crisis that we humans are now facing. Indeed, the destructive worldviews of our elders are leaving a horrible mess for our young people. No matter what career students choose, these young people will be forced to plan their lives based on political instability, economic instability, and environmental instability in the years to come.

    In the face of this crisis, what can educators do to offer our youth a chance for a productive, sustainable, and happy life? The answer lies with environmental educators because these people have the capability to empower our youth with a worldview that is compatible with the way Nature and society do operate.

    The fact is that all of Nature, including we humans and human society, is interconnected and interdependent. Life on Earth depends upon the flow of life’s energy from our sun to our Earth. This energy is then transported and transformed from one organism to another organism. These processes are both ecological and social. They form networks of interconnection and interdependence. The greatest gift that we can offer our youth is the power of a worldview that sees everything on Earth, including Nature and our human society, as interconnected and interdependent. With this way of thinking, called “systems thinking”, our young people and future generations will be empowered to understand and resolve current environmental and social crises.

    About 50% of all humans on earth are 25 years old or younger. For the most part, these young people have fresh minds that have not been corrupted by the disconnected worldviews of their elders. The relationship between our educators and our youth is a critical connection if our teachers are able to offer their students an education that stresses systems thinking in every subject including biology/ecology, history, social studies, and mathematics. In doing so, our youth can acquire the wisdom of interdependence and systems thinking. This form of education stresses that human society, like Nature’s ecosystems in which we humans live, are intimately interconnected where the relationships between each part in a system are more important than the parts. In other words, we must first understand how the connections are made between things before we can understand the whole system. Education of our youth must be based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace.

    However, there is one characteristic of modern education that may stand in the way of achieving a meaningful holistic education. In order to understand our world, young people and adults must be able to see life as a collection of systems and elements that interact and are dependent upon one another. But in school, many of us are taught subjects in a compartmentalized way, with history in one class, natural science in another, social studies in yet another, and so on. In other words, we are taught to understand Nature and society in parts. We are not taught how these parts are connected. We are not taught how and why things in life are interdependent. Yet most real-world issues, like climate change, terrorism, and water use, are understood by connecting disciplines such as politics, geography, history, and biology. The current compartmentalized approach in most schools reinforces the incorrect idea in the minds of our students that knowledge is made up of many unrelated parts that are not connected. This lack of systems thinking provides little opportunity for students to see recurring patterns of behavior across subjects and disciplines in their real world. Our students need to find identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace. Indeed, with an understanding of living systems like ecosystems, climate change, and other ecological challenges, we humans will be able to assess what we are doing wrong that causes bad things to happen.

    In summary, a system of education that teaches how all of life interrelates and is interdependent should be a fundamental part of 21st-century education and anyone’s lifelong learning plan. It will be this revised system of education that will give our youth a worldview of connection and interdependence in our moral philosophy, our society, and in Nature. It will be this revised worldview that replaces the destructive worldview of our elders. It will be this worldview of interdependence that equips our youth to solve our problems of over-population, unsustainable consumption, climate change, and other issues.

    Educators are a critically important influence in making this change. What follows is a preliminary list of important things that our educators must do to begin the process.

    A Curriculum Must Be An Interrelated Collection Of Subjects

    If educators are going to emphasize relationships and interdependence in the hearts and minds of our students, these concepts must be reflected in the curriculum. We must stop teaching such subjects as mathematics, history, or literature as separate subjects. In addition to teaching facts in each class, we must now emphasize how the material relates to the other subjects we are teaching. For example, a history class must now explore the interrelationships between human actions and historical events including what might have happened if the human actions were different. A math class should now emphasize applied mathematics where the student uses new math/statistical skills and network diagrams to calculate events and relationships in Nature. A religion or ethics class should conduct seminars with case studies about how religion and ethics can guide social systems. All of these classes should now employ an inquiry-based (Socratic) seminar approach (described in the next section) where students participate in seminar discussions rather than listen to lectures.

    Use Inquiry-Based Learning (Socratic Learning)

    Imagine, for a moment, teaching and learning that looks like this:

    • Picture a seminar-style setting where the teacher is a facilitator and the students consider assigned questions and do their own research to provide answers in front of their peers and their teachers.
    • Young people continually question why things look and function the way that they do.
    • Their natural sense of wonder is at the center of their learning and drives the direction that learning will take.
    • Knowledge is dynamic, collectively constructed, and provided by many sources instead of being contained in a single textbook or classroom lectures.
    • Information is investigated, analyzed, and negotiated between students and their teachers.

    This is process is called “Inquiry-Based Learning”.

    Education is much more than force-feeding information to students and measuring how well they regurgitate that information back to the teacher on command or through testing. With the facilitator asking questions instead of lecturing, the student is required to think and probe. This process of critical thinking embeds knowledge and creates curiosity and a yearning to learn more. Critical thinking encourages the exploration, adventure, and discovery that we see in outdoor education.

    When I was a student, one of my truly great life experiences was two years working on a Master’s degree at Harvard University. In this program, we used no textbooks. There were no lectures. Classes were totally inquiry-based where the professor played the role of facilitator by continually posing difficult questions. We students would prepare for a class by doing research and gathering facts to support conclusions. That preparation was vital to building a knowledge base for a given class session. We learned the value of good research. We gained the ability to think about and defend our ideas. Most importantly, we built critical thinking skills as we defended our ideas in front of our peers and our professor. This Harvard experience became the model for my role as an educator. I was amazed to find that the inquiry-based approach to learning worked well with my university graduate students as well as my primary (5th grade and up), secondary, and high school students.

    Benefits of Inquiry-Based learning include:

    • Honoring students’ questions increases their motivation, leading to higher levels of engagement, improved understanding, and a love of learning.
    • Inquiry stimulates students’ curiosity, leading to progressively deeper questions and habitual critical thinking.
    • Inquiry builds lifelong learning skills that become greater than simply learning facts, listening to lectures, and taking tests.

    Eliminate Exams. Use project-based learning.  Grade each student based on preparation and participation

    What is needed are tools to help the student explore relationships in our world. Exams do not accomplish this. However, a student project provides the opportunity for the student to learn about relationships, exercise that knowledge in a practical way, and be evaluated.

    While both projects and exams will get a student to memorize new information, the skill that is needed is applying the information. Project-based learning will teach the material, and then guide the student to seek out information, then apply the new knowledge to explore real-world examples, and encourage working in groups to reinforce the new knowledge.

    When we eliminate the compartmentalized idea of exams in the curriculum, how are we able to evaluate student progress? Inquiry-Based learning provides an automatic tool for evaluating progress. That tool is to grade students at each class or seminar session according to their participation and preparation. When the facilitator calls upon a student to explore a certain issue in class, it will become quickly apparent whether the student has prepared for the class. In addition, active and voluntary, meaningful participation should be rewarded with a higher grade.

    I start each school year by giving each student a grade of 10.0. This grade can be reduced if a student fails to prepare or participate. In addition, a student can receive a restored good grade if the student demonstrates improvement in participation and preparation.

    Hospitality – People Learn From People/Things That They Love

    The metaphor of hospitality is an extremely important part of education that is often forgotten by educators. Henri J.M. Nouwen was a Catholic priest, author, professor, and pastor who wrote over 40 books about spiritual life. One of his books, “Reaching Out” uses the metaphor of hospitality – a gracious host serving the needs of a guest – to describe many different human relationships. One of the relationships that Fr. Nouwen examines is the relationship between a teacher and a student. He does so in a very profound and effective way that becomes a guide for any teacher who cares to challenge his/her students to reach new horizons.

    In his book, Fr Nouwen said:

    One of the greatest tragedies of modern education is that millions of young people spend many hours, days, weeks, and years listening to lectures, reading books, and writing papers with a constantly increasing resistance. Students perceive their education as a long endless row of obligations to be fulfilled. They are considered as poor needy, ignorant beggars who come to a man or woman of knowledge. Teachers are perceived more as demanding bosses than as guides in the search for knowledge and understanding.

    While the ability to think critically and the opportunity to develop one’s talents are far more career-defining than any subject matter that is taught, educators continue to define themselves by offering memorized and regurgitated knowledge. The teacher is trained to offer solutions without the existence of a question. Consequently, critical thinking skills are never developed and talents are never encouraged because the student rarely gets the opportunity to argue a question.

    Hospitality is the creation of a friendly empty space by a host where a guest can fearlessly reach out to fellow human beings and invite them to explore new relationships. Hospitality is much like gardening. We cannot force a plant to grow but we can take away the weeds and stones which prevent its development.

    Hospitality can take place on many levels and in many kinds of relationships. One such relationship is that between a teacher and a student where the student is treated like a guest who honors the host’s house with his/her presence and will not leave it without having made a unique contribution.

    The good host (the teacher) is the one who not only helps guests (the students) see that they have hidden talents, but who also is able to help them develop and deepen those talents so they can continue their way on their own with new self-confidence. “

    This journey of discovery can be accomplished through inquiry-based  (Socratic) learning.

    Add seminars in systems thinking to the curriculum

    All of life in our world, from a molecule to the entire earth can be defined as systems of relationships that permit energy or social interaction to flow from one organism to another organism. The study of these relationships has matured over the years into a discipline known as “systems science” or “systems thinking”.

    Systems thinking is the study of the causes and effects of relationships. Systems thinking allows us to visually portray what is happening as we study a particular system. It allows us to see and analyze our world in simpler terms. Systems thinking focuses on the characteristics of the connections in a system. Systems thinking helps us define what is going on in our world. On the Internet, there is a huge wealth of information about systems thinking and the teaching of systems thinking. Many lesson plans are offered.

    In my view, an excellent way to introduce systems thinking to students is through biology or ecology classes because these subjects introduce interconnected and interdependent energy flow in Nature. In my program, systems thinking is introduced to primary (4th grade and older)  secondary, and high school students. Both in-class inquiry-based learning and field trip experiences are offered with the primary goal being to develop a love relationship between a student and the student’s world.

    Integrate Ethics Development In All Classes

    One must love something in order to protect it. If we are to succeed in helping our students live in the world that they face, the faculty must cause a love relationship between each student and the world as it is today. This love must include a growing passion to protect what we love.

    Ethics is a set of guidelines that we must exercise regularly if we are to protect our world. Ethical guidelines lead us as we apply what we have learned in biology, mathematics, history, and all of the other subjects that are taught in school. A suggested list of ethical principles might be:

    • Everything in Nature, including we humans, is interdependent.
    • The actions of one can affect the whole.
    • Nature is always changing.
    • Conservation is a necessary part of human morality.
    • Compassion means that we humans cannot assign a greater value to one person or species over another.

    Ethics development should take place in every class. Ethics development should not be compartmentalized into a single subject or class. Through inquiry-based learning, teachers should regularly ask their students to discuss “what if” scenarios that relate to the ethics of the subject matter being taught.

    Empower Our Students To Change The World

    An important part of the education that schools and teachers offer students is in guiding them to act upon that which they have learned. In particular, with the climate crisis, educators need to help students act in a way that might help them cope with what they might be facing after they graduate. Here is my suggestion:

    Students should be working with student groups in their local community, their state, their nation, and around the world to bring awareness and to protest to the adults who have allowed the climate crisis to happen. One possibility might be to join with students from other schools to work with their government to lower our carbon footprint. As successes become a reality, our students will then have the opportunity to set an example for the world.

    There are a number of youth groups forming worldwide. Students would have the opportunity to communicate with these groups by way of the Internet, seek their advice and learn from their experience, and join forces with these groups.

    Below are three Internet references that talk about the power of youth to act and to resolve current environmental issues:

    The Climate Kids Are All Right

    Youth around the world are rising to the climate challenge — and they don’t care what the trolls have to say about it.

    Youth Activists Are Building A Climate Justice Movement

    Youth are building new models for social movements. Young people are no longer sitting back and waiting for older generations to make the change we know needs to happen.

    Greta Thunberg gives a speech at UN Climate Change COP24 Conference

    Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist, has become very famous and has developed a strong following all over the world. You can Google her name to see many of her activities concerning climate change and the power of young people. Your students can communicate with her.

    It is my hope that, after reviewing the ideas in this section, you will communicate with me in the space provided below. You are free to agree or disagree with me. In addition, the contribution of your ideas will help us all become more effective educators that give our youth new power.

    Welcome

    I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these problems.

    But I was wrong! The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.” 

    – Gus Speth

    “When our central organizing priority becomes the well-being of all life, then what happens through us is the recovery of the world”

    -Joanna Macy – Active Hope

    “The world was not left to us by our parents. It is lent to us by our children”

    -An African Proverb

    Our Stories Describe Who We Are and How We Conduct Our Lives

    Like all human cultures before us, modern humanity has created a collection of stories to explain the way that our world operates. These stories include the story of our origins and an account of our role and function in the universe. These stories are partly inaccurate and fabricated. They are partly a window on the truth of how the universe operates. Many of these stories are seen through the distortions created by our culture’s prejudices.

    Author Charles Eisenstein says:

    Our stories are mostly unconscious. A story paints a particular picture of how life is or should be. A story directly describes and shapes our lives and our vision of the world, often without us even being aware of its influence. Another word for story is ‘worldview’. Worldview is commonly defined as a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world that guides us.”

    The worldview of a large percentage of human beings over age 35 is believing that we are separate from Nature and that our technologies have complete control over Nature. This worldview is called “The Story of Separation” – a story that is not supported by modern science. The result is that many older human adults are apathetic about Nature even though Nature is our home upon which we all depend.

    We see this apathy expressed in human attitudes about the climate change crisis and a deep distrust of scientists and educators. In addition, our older adult population has actively participated in the pollution of our society’s value system resulting in an economic free-for-all that has caused the over-consumption of Nature’s resources.

    I offer this question to you:

    How can humans thrive within a natural world that has the ingredients necessary for our survival but, at the same time, is threatened by human destruction of that world?

    In answer to this question, Earth Charter offers a challenge to we environmental educators and to all stewards of Nature.

    As an environmental educator, I have grown to believe that the future welfare of my students is in jeopardy. Many of these fine young people are unaware of the world that much of the adult generation over age 25 is leaving for them — a future world that includes limited food supplies, less land available to support all life on earth, and social unrest. Many of us older adults are apathetic about Nature even though Nature is our home upon which we all depend. Much of the human adult population over age 25 harbors a worldview that humanity is not connected to Nature. We see this apathy expressed in human attitudes about the climate change crisis and a deep distrust of scientists and educators. The fact is that Nature can operate without humans but humans cannot survive without NatureIn addition, our older adult population has actively participated in the pollution of our society’s value system resulting in an economic free-for-all that has caused the over-consumption of Nature’s resources.

    I have asked myself the following question:

    How can humans thrive within a natural world that has the ingredients necessary for our survival but, at the same time, is threatened by human destruction of that world?

    In answer to this question, Earth Charter offers a challenge to we environmental educators and to all stewards of Nature.

    We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. … a future that at once holds great peril and great promise. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.”