Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy Planet Index for the US

On Clay Burrell's blog, Bill Farren writes about education and the state of the planet.

The Happy Planet Index determines how ecologically efficient the country is at delivering well-being for its people. Bill writes:
the USA ranked at 150. My experiences overseas, in countries considered poor, confirmed to me what was in the report: nations where people have more stuff and are able to hire more services, don’t necessarily produce more well-being for their citizens. The well-being that wealthy countries produce comes at a high price to the planet.
I am surprised that we even ranked at 150 out of 178. What really is happening here is so upsetting.
Put forward the idea that most of our biggest problems aren’t due to lack of technology, lack of resources, lack of knowledge or lack of intelligence, but instead, are due to a lack of congruence with what it is we are told to believe and with the way a planet with a finite biosphere actually functions.
Most of this is what I talk about (generally met with rolling eyes - now where did they learn that?) Many students do not understand many of the issues, they believe anything they read, and feel they can do nothing to solve current environmental problems. I continue to use project based learning in order to help them understand material that applies to their lives, learn how to understand problems for themselves, think critically, and become an agent for change by making a positive impact.

In my family I am a recycler (in an area where curbside recycling is not present), I have always reduced what we use, and reuse as much as possible. I am modeling to my kids how to best live in the world and learn to live differently. Am I perfect? No, but I try. And I always improve. If we can inspire one person to think differently, then it can get passed on.

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