LIVING FOR CHANGE
EDUCATION WITH EARTH IN MIND
By Grace Lee Boggs
Michigan Citizen, Jan. 14-20,, 2007
Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment and the Human Prospect (Island Press, 2004) is a book which should be read and discussed by everyone who is seriously concerned about the pending climate catastrophe AND about the failure of our schools to engage the energies and imaginations of our young people in the reconstruction of life in our neighborhoods and communities.
The author, David Orr, is Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College.
When I first met Orr in the 1980s, he and his brother had founded Meadowcreek, an educational research center on 1500 acres in the Ozarks where dedicated individuals worked together as a community to create a decentralized system of sustainable living, relying for support on organic agriculture, renewable energy resources and wood products.
At Oberlin College he raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build the Environmental Studies Center, a solar-heated building with its own greenhouse which the U.S. Department of Energy has described as one of thirty “milestone buildings” of the 20th century. /color>/fontfamily>
/color>/fontfamily>A few years ago, at a gathering in this Center, I showed a video of Adamah, the vision of a Detroit community very similar to Meadowcreek, created by students in the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture.
The crisis of global ecology, David Orr maintains, is a crisis of mind, which makes it central to those institutions that purport to improve minds. It is a crisis OF education, not merely one IN education./color>
“The disordering of ecological systems and of the great biochemical cycles of the earth reflects a prior disorder in the thought, perception, imagination, intellectual priorities and loyalties inherent in the industrial mind. Ultimately, then, the ecological crisis concerns how we think and the institutions that purport to shape and refine the capacity to think.”/fontfamily>
/x-tad-bigger>/color>/fontfamily>In fact, much that has gone wrong with the world is the result of the process and substance of education at all levels, which “alienates us from life in the name of human domination, fragments instead of unifies, overemphasizes success and careers, separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical, and unleashes on the world minds ignorant of their own ignorance.”
Students worry about how to make a living before they know who they are, take classes to acquire the skills and knowledge that will enable the U.S. to compete on the world market, and end up as morally sterile technicians with BSs, MBAs, Ph.Ds and more know-how than know-why.
Nevertheless, at a time when the /color>skills, aptitudes and attitudes needed to industrialize the Earth in the 19th and 20th centuries are no longer those needed to heal the earth and to build durable economies and healthy communities, our schools and universities are still stuck in these processes and practices of the industrial age.
/color>That is why it is so crucial that we rethink and transform education at all levels from kindergarten to Ph.D. What we urgently need are school boards, school superintendents and college presidents with the imagination and courage to introduce innovative curriculums and structures that create a much more intimate connection between intellectual development and practical activity, root students and faculty in their communities and natural habitats, and engage them in the kind of real problem-solving in their localities that nurtures a love of place and provides practice in creating the sustainable economies, equality and community that are the responsibilities of citizenship.
Schools and colleges dedicated to this new kind of education would look and act very differently from today’s educational institutions. For example, much more learning would take place OUTSIDE school walls. INSIDE an integral part of the educational process would be the design and operation of the building. Classes would audit resource flows of food, energy, water, materials, waste and investments.
This kind of place-and -community-rooted education is what we need to address the deepening planetary and social crisis. It could also keep millions of teenagers in our inner cities from dropping out of school and make our communities safer, healthier and livelier almost overnight. I suspect it is also the kind of education that university students hunger for when they volunteer for community service-learning programs.
THINKING FOR OURSELVES
By Shea Howell
Michigan Citizen, Jan. 14-20, 2007
The U.S. military is in a crisis that is going almost unnoticed. The first mark of this crisis is the revolving door of leadership at the highest levels. By now it should be clear that the basis for military command is whether or not you are willing to go along with the president.
In the build-up to this war, top generals warned of the need for a large invasion force of about 250.000 soldiers. But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said we needed a leaner, more flexible force of about 150,000 troops. The generals who argued for larger forces found themselves retiring.
Now, as the press focuses on Bush’s plans, there is not enough notice of his decision to completely restructure the military command in Iraq. General George W. Casey, the top military commander, and Lt. General Peter W. Chiarelli, the commander of day-to-day operations, are gone. Both men advocated withdrawing U.S. troops more quickly and turning responsibilities over to Iraqis.
Their replacements agree with Bush’s so called “surge” in troops. The new overall commander, Lt. General David H. Petraeus, will be joined by Lt. General Raymond Odierno, the new operational commander. Both men advocate a tactical effort to move soldiers out of compounds and into neighborhoods. Both men acknowledge that this new strategy will most likely take “two or three years” before it succeeds.
While generals change, the troops on the ground remain the same. The “surge” will bring in few if any fresh soldiers. Rather it will demand extending combat time for some and an early return for others.
The conduct of this war and the drive to find generals who agree with Bush are taking a toll among those who are forced into fighting. Last week, as generals changed, troops made it known that they have lost confidence in their commander-in-chief.
At the end of last week the Military Times newspapers reported that for the first time more troops disapprove than approve of the president’s handling of the war. According to the new poll for the four papers (Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Times), barely one in three service members approves,
In another startling finding only 41% now feel it was the right idea to go to war in the first place.
Those who feel success is likely have shrunk from 83% in 2004 to about 50% today. A surprising 13% say there should be no U.S. troops in Iraq at all. This despite the fact that only about one in ten call their overall political views "liberal."
The annual mail survey was conducted Nov. 13 through Dec. 22. Among the respondents two in three have deployed at least once to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents think today’s military is stretched too thin to be effective. "The poll has come to be viewed by some as a barometer of the professional career military," according to the Military Times.
"While President Bush always portrays the war in Iraq as part of the larger war on terrorism, many in the military are not convinced," the Military Times reported. "The respondents were split evenly — 47 percent both ways — on whether the Iraq war is part of the war on terrorism.”
While Bush shuffles around his generals in search of those who agree with his plans, our men and women who are forced to carry out these foolish ideas are coming to very different conclusions. They, like 78% of the Iraqi people, know it is time for us to come home.
美国密歇根州人， 1月14日至20日， 2007
另一项惊人发现：只有41 ％ 的人觉得最初发动战争是正确的。那些觉得战争获胜的人可能已经从2004年的83％下降到现在的50％左右。令人惊讶的是，有13％的人说美国根本不应该在伊拉克驻军。仅有1/10的人认同他们所标榜为“自由”的政治观点。