The primary objective of current educational practice in Western countries is to produce students who are equipped with skills and competencies necessary to engage effectively with the labour market. Instead, education needs to teach creativity, innovation, and adaptability for a turbulent and uncertain future. Children should be spending more time outdoors with more hands-on learning. Universities need to produce eco-conscious problem solvers and critical thinkers, not simply efficient workers.
How can you make a difference?
- Allow children to cook, clean, cut, sew, climb, explore, and ask questions.
- Encourage coordination and sharing of responsibility for educating children between those groups? home schooling expanded into/through the community. of course, ideally, that would be/need to be in tandem with drastic reduction in expectation/need in hours spent in labor market work.
- Take kids outdoors in all seasons and kinds of weather, to let them explore nature in a child-led way (i.e., allow them opportunities to find what they are interested in, and allow time for them to explore it. Adults can bring suggestions and inspirations, but let kids be kids)
- Lobby your local educational governing body to include environmental programming and significant outdoor time for children of all ages
|Local and Municipal||Federal & Provincial/State|
|Enforce minimum mandatory outdoor programs for kids at all school levels, children need to be outside for their mental, physical, and environmental health||Shrink and reorganize higher education including limits on graduates and PhDs and recreation of polytechnic craft colleges with emphasis on practical, and traditional craft and engineering skills with high tech autonomous fabrication/additive manufacturing|
|Provide outdoor cultural, educational, and relational activities for people of all ages||Require publicly funded universities to have equitable gender and racial representation on governing Boards|
|Make knowledge free – open access knowledge portals through schools, libraries, universities, etc. to expand learning opportunities|
|Build community relationships and community-engaged / service-learning courses. This can provide an opportunity for students to learn from experiential experts, rather than academic experts (who often don’t have much relevant personal experience). Agriculture is a great example here – we can pay farmers who are willing to share their expertise with students through applied, experiential courses.|
|Redevelop elementary and secondary curriculum include:|
a) Slow down, put into perspective and eventually quit “toxic teaching”, i.e. the teaching of toxic principles (e.g., growth at all costs, even at the cost of sending people to work when it’s unsafe, just to keep the GDP up)
b) Create curriculum that includes alternative pedagogical approaches (e.g.: child-led learning, with teachers-learners relationships being more mentorship-based)
c) Curriculum redevelopment that improves critical thinking, hands-on skills, ecological and community based morals, and resilience building
Allies, Related Resources, and E4A Publications
- Uneven Earth Green New Deal Series: Education
- From the Anthropocene to Mutual Thriving: An Agenda for Higher Education in the Ecozoic by Ivan Vargas Roncancio, Leah Temper, Joshua Sterlin, Nina L. Smolyar, Shaun Sellers, Maya Moore, Rigo Melgar-Melgar, Jolyon Larson, Catherine Horner, Jon D. Erickson, Megan Egler Peter G. Brown, Emille Boulot, Tina Beigi, and Michael Babcock
- Jstor Makes Information Accessible to the Public
- A 2020 manifesto aimed at a conservative audience, with green political economy in mind
- An example of an Ecozoically aligned university – CIDECI in Chiapas, Mexico
Change in Action
While not all of these projects direction involve E4A, they are great examples of diverse examples of socio-ecological change in action.