Addressing Climate Change Requires Reclaiming Our Creativity That’s Been “Strip-Mined” By Our Education

Our children’s future, we now know, will include the effects of a warming planet, although how much the planet will warm depends on all of us right now.  This different planet,  “Eaarth”, as Bill McKibbon points out, will require the best of human ingenuity and creativity to help humans change and adapt.

In the video below, Sir Ken Robinson speaks at the 2006 TED Conference about whether schools kill creativity.  Robinson is a former professor of arts education at the University of Warwick who has written a number of books on the subject, including “Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative” and “Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything”.  It is an entertaining and profound presentation, and I hope you find 20 minutes to sit down and watch it.  Robinson concludes his talk with this admonition:

What I think it comes to is this: Al Gore spoke the other night about ecology and the revolution that was triggered by Rachel Carson. Our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology. One in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. Our education system has mined our minds the way we have strip-mined the earth; for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won’t service. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we are educating our children. There was a wonderful quote by Jonas Salk, who said, “If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.” And he’s right.

What TED celebrates is the gift of the human imagination. We have to be careful now that we use this gift wisely, and that we avert some of the scenarios that we’ve talked about. And the only way we’ll do it is by seeing our creative capacities for the richness they are, and seeing our children for the hope that they are. And our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face this future — by the way, we may not see this future, but they will. And our job is to help them make something of it.


More links:

Sir Ken Robinson’s Website

Written transcript of “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

TED (Technology-Environment-Design) home: Ideas Worth Spreading

*Thanks to Joanne, from my Wednesday night Creative Writing class, for sharing this video*

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