Tuesday, 10 July 2007

EE note on Live Earth Concert 2007

Yesterday, as Al Gore's 'Live Earth' 2007 concert came to a close--one word deserved more mention than others: sensitivity. The concert itself is an effort of mass-transitional medium to raise what Madonna calls  'an avalanche of awareness'. However, as in natural occurring avalanche, it needs a trigger--the accumulating 'snow' of awareness--that is the accumulation of our [rich-industrialised North and its satellites] unfriendly habits towards our home planet.

The question is whether this accumulation has peak? Many environmentalists, green economists or California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger believe it has or at least nearing to its peak. Much debate on this 'peak oil' situation and depending on your stance--your opinion is formed. If you are supporter of the oil-industries my assumption is, you will say: 'True, many of the known oil wells in the world are falling in its production. But there are many more unknown oil fields waiting to be discovered'--you may even add:'furthermore, our advanced technology may save us from energy depletion'.

Conversely, hardcore greenies and realist-economists will voiced the opposite, they will probably say: eventhough there are many more unknown oil fields to discovered they are not earth-friendly even with the best of advance technologies. Coupled with the current practice of 'un-economic' system (industrial scale and short term profit orientation) we subscribed, it would be hard to see any substantial reduction in our polluting habits. As the saying goes: 'it will take few months for a child of 5 to change his/her habits, it may take a few years for teen-ager to achieve the same result and for those who claimed to be adults...well it may take generations in other word: FOREVER.

Given the long time span required to change their outlook for those 'wise-adults'--in my humble opinion it is best to focus on the young in age and the 'young at heart' as they are more open, malleable and not hardened by the glitters and 'blings' of the world. And in the case of the latter, the 'young at heart' are probably in their second 'rebellious' stage of life so just like 'teenagers' they are in the path of a new discovery. Anyway, the point is this: we don't want to waste our precious time and energy to cater to those who refuse to change, so why bother.

Before we take the plunge however, it is recommended to have some coherent structures to adhere or a system. These includes and not limited to learning or re-learning the basic of biology, the socio-ecological principles(including studying the 'mysterious' subject of economics but as a sub-system of ecology), system designs(such as 'permaculture' and older traditions conducive and useful to our change of outlook). All these knowledge, body of science and traditions may be embodied in somekind of 'integrative-studies' or '[w]holistic' science framework, fortunately some schools and universities have started the application of this approach to its curricullum, however most of these institutions are not mainstream yet.

Education institutions, universities, schools and informal learning places have  the great responsibilities to instill and invoke in students sensitivity towards Nature and her environment. Sensitivity that will lead to love of Nature something that eminent biologist E.O. Wilson called: 'biophilia' (bio=life and philia is Greek for love) hence the 'love of life'. It is basically here that the future of our planet is decided. As students later discovered with new 'eyes' the beauty and complexity of our home planet, they will make an 'automatic-connection' to their sensitive-self and it will guide them to a higher level of awareness/consciousness each time they have to make a decision. Under these conditions, the outcome of decision making process  will lean towards 'long-term' rather than 'short-term' as inter-generational and sustainability issues get better understood and appreciated.

I think education for the environment is not only critically important but also invaluable as it holds the key to real change of our behaviour and attitudes towards our home planet. Unless of course, one prefer the shocking realization of suddenly finding 'all is at sea' as climate change advances and we are all forced to meet the fate of the polar bears. This reminded me of Phil Collins song 'Home by the Sea' -- except this time it's home under the sea...ironically our ancestor 'genesis' is indeed from the seas of many million of years ago.