Education is the only foundation
upon which lasting fundamental change
can be built.
I've given many presentations explaining how ecosystems work and describing the world's environmental challenges. Locations include schools, social halls, churches, and restaurants. Demographics include first graders, after school teen programs, high school, colleges, adult social clubs, church groups, and environmental groups.
My presentations to high school and older groups include the following elements:
1) Population growth through the ages with emphasis on the rapid population explosion during the 20th century and its effect on the environment. We are destroying and polluting ecosystems and depleting essential resources many times faster than nature can clean and regenerate them.
2) The way we relate to the environment is unsustainable and must undergo a fundamental change, in our lifetime. The world is becoming increasingly unlivable. Billions of people already malnourished and living without sufficient water. Everything is connected. Whatever goes wrong in one place will affect the whole.
3) Our social, political, educations, economic, and religious institutions evolved without sufficient consideration for minimizing their impact on the environment. It was never a severe problem before the middle of the 20th century. Environmental organizations, likewise, do not have the capacity or mission to take the lead role in reshaping world attitudes.
4) The technology and knowledge needed for all people to live in sustainable harmony with nature is known and can be available in short order. Living sustainable does not require halting progress and giving up luxury and convenience.
5) Politicians are followers, not leaders. They will take appropriate action only when there is overwhelming demand from a knowledgeable public.
6) Achieving sustainability requires societal transformation unparalleled in human history. The tools are available and the goal is attainable. The strategy is to bypass government and build the institutions that can make sustainability desirable and doable. We can make it as important as Email, learning how to browse the internet and using a cell phone.
We can engage and motivate the public using the same tools employed by the institutions of commerce, politics and religion.
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