“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
The common factor that connects the effects of climate change, the COVID-19 epidemic, and the stewardship of Nature is the destructive world view that drives many human beings. Manu’s worst enemy is man himself. 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 separates humanity from Nature. 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 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.”