George Bernard Shaw, summed up a wise approach to life:
Other people, he said "see things and . . . say 'Why?' . . . But I dream things that never were-- and I say: 'Why not?'
We, the people, ordinary and humble as we are, with the power of our hope, confidence, imagination, and dream, will at the end triumph, and build a better world for all our loved ones and all that we value
Together for a Better, Healthier and Kinder Tomorrow
It is not about us and them: The Voices of the older and younger generations in the climate and ecological crisis
Paraphrasing the timeless words of Senator Robert Kennedy’s remarks at the University of Kansas on March 18, 1968, I want us to find out the promise of the future, what we can accomplish here in this world of ours. And I want all of us, young and old, to have a chance to build a better world together.
CLIMATE CRISIS – CHILDREN FACE LIFE WITH FAR MORE HEATWAVES, FLOODS,
DROUGHTS AND WILDFIRES THAN GRANDPARENTS
‘Almost half of the world's 2.2 billion children are living in countries that face an extremely high risk of the impacts of the climate crisis, including environmental shocks such as cyclones and heatwaves…
‘Children are more vulnerable to climate and environmental shocks than adults for a number of reasons including physical and physiological vulnerability and an increased risk of death. And many children live in areas that experience multiple, overlapping climate and environmental hazards. Droughts, floods and severe weather, coupled with other environmental stresses, compound one another. These hazards can not only exacerbate each other, but also marginalize pockets of society and increase inequality. They also interact with other social, political and health risks, including COVID-19. Overlapping hazards ultimately make certain parts of the world even more precarious and risky places for children – drastically reducing their future potential…’- UNICEF: The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis
Children are paying the price for their parents and grandparents degradation of Mother Nature
How climate change is making inequality worse, especially for children
'Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way… But you can never say again you did not know.’– William Wilberforce, British Parliamentarian, 1789
This is the time for us to take our responsibilities for the health and wellbeing
of the next generation far more seriously.
‘Children & Nature Are Meant to Be Together’
“All creatures of Earth are looking to us for their destiny. Among these are our children and grandchildren, who depend on our
decisions for the sustenance and flourishing of the life systems of the planet. This remains one of our primary challenges in the twenty first century.”-Father Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts
Increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are leading to higher temperatures, more intense storms, and lengthy droughts— all of which can deeply affect children’s health disportionately, physically, emotionally and psychologically.
‘The health connection:
Rising temperatures and decreased air quality affect kids by increasing asthma attacks and allergies, worsening pregnancy outcomes, creating food insecurity, increasing mental health problems, developmental delays, and changes in their genetic makeup.
- Warmer temperatures can allow insects that carry diseases to live in places where they couldn’t in the past.
- The blacklegged tick, which carries Lyme disease, has been expanding its northward range into Canada as annual temperatures warm.
- Mosquitoes that carry dengue, malaria, and zika are also expanding their range as temperatures rise and rainfall patterns change worldwide.
- Diseases spread through contaminated water and food may also be on the rise with more heavier rainfall that comes with climate change.
- Floods are associated with outbreaks of diarrheal diseases—which are particularly dangerous for infants and young children—and mold that grows in flooded homes can trigger allergies.
- Air pollution accounts for 20% of newborn deaths worldwide, most related to complications of low birth weight and preterm birth.
- Thousands of children under the age of 5 die prematurely each year from lower respiratory infections caused by air pollution from burning fossil fuels.
- Carbon dioxide, which fuels climate change, also causes more pollen production in plants that trigger seasonal allergies. Warming has also led to earlier springs and longer growing seasons for many allergenic plants.
- Hot temperatures lead to more ground level ozone, a pollutant that causes asthma attacks in children. Ozone is produced when chemicals released from burning fossil fuels are exposed to sunlight and heat.
- Hot, dry weather can fuel forest fires, creating harmful air pollutants and damaging agriculture. These fires are likely to become more common in the 21st century due to the effects of climate change.
- Children can experience trauma from major storms and fires. They can destroy homes, uproot families, and disrupt education by damaging or destroying schools, which can lead to higher rates of anxiety and post-traumatic stress. That stress can lead to illnesses later in life like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and cognitive decline.
- Children may be more likely to feel anxious or depressed when they are confronted with the prospect of climate change— either in the form of extreme weather or just the knowledge of climate change itself…’-The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University.
- See also: How climate change affects children's health
Can You Hear Our Cries? So, Why are You Not Responding?
‘We can’t ignore the profound and expensive human suffering triggered by climate change.’-
Australia's drought leading to 'suffering' of children, a UN report warns
This is a Blight on our Conscience
To think that children born today will live through even more cyclones, heatwaves, floods and other disasters than their parents and grandparents makes me feel despair and very sad. Children have contributed least to the climate crisis and yet they are the ones who are and will be suffering the most. This cannot be right This cannot be just.
“The recent heat waves in the US and Canada, the wildfires in Australia, the recent floods in Europe and China, the multiple droughts, which are driving food crises in places such as Afghanistan, Madagascar, and Somalia, have clearly shown that nowhere is safe. Without urgent action, we will be handing over a deadly future to our children.”-Inger Ashing, CEO, Save the Children International
Climate change is endangering children and threatening their futures
‘Climate change puts children’s most basic rights at risk, seriously affecting their access to health, food, water, clean air, education and protection. Around the world, the growing number of extreme weather events is putting more and more children’s lives in danger. Every year, environmental factors take the lives of 1.7 million children under five.
'For an even greater number of children, these events mean a reduced chance of a happy, healthy future. When floods hit, schools and health clinics are destroyed. When droughts occur, children spend less time in school because they have to walk miles to collect water. Rising sea levels and toxic air pollution turn children’s communities into hazardous environments to grow up in.’-UNICEF UK
A girl walks through a flooded road with red water due to the dye-waste from cloth factories,
in Pekalongan, Central Java province, Indonesia.- Photo:( Reuters )
‘Children set for more climate disasters than their grandparents’
‘Climate crisis brings stark intergenerational injustice.’
‘People born today will suffer many times more extreme heatwaves and other climate disasters over
their lifetimes than their grandparents'
This study is the first to assess the contrasting experience of climate extremes by different age groups and starkly highlights the intergenerational injustice posed by the climate crisis.
The analysis showed that a child born in 2020 will endure an average of 30 extreme heatwaves in their lifetime, even if countries fulfil their current pledges to cut future carbon emissions. That is seven times more heatwaves than someone born in 1960.
Today’s babies will also grow up to experience twice as many droughts and wildfires and three times more river floods and crop failures than someone who is 60 years old today…
“Our results highlight a severe threat to the safety of young generations and call for drastic emission reductions to safeguard their future,” said Prof Wim Thiery, at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium and who led the research. He said people under 40 today were set to live “unprecedented” lives, i.e. suffering heatwaves, droughts, floods and crop failures that would have been virtually impossible – 0.01% chance – without global heating…’- Continue to read
And now, finally, at long last, we all know who will pay for the cost of climate change Our Children and Grandchildren!
But when will the older generation admit to this?-Climate Action Australia
As a father and grandfather, I need the global leaders meeting at COP26 in Glasgow, to fully embrace and adopt policies towards a just transition
to a climate safe future, in order to protect my children and grandchildren’s wellbeing and chances for a better and healthier life.
Photo:AleksandarNakic / Credit: Getty Images/ iStock
For more on this request, ideas and possibilities, please see below.
Hope is the torch that shines light on the plague of darkness
A path to spiritual enlightenment and hope to heal and nurture our Mother Nature
Bereshit’ by Yoram Raanan
Yes, It is True, and You Better Believe It!
You, Me & Everyone Else: We Will, With the Power of Our Love, Kindness, Hope, Imagination and Dreams
We Will Make the World Better and kinder for our Children and Grandchildren
Education of My Dream: Education to Make us Human
Education ‘to transfigure the ego - to liberate the soul’
Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?-T.S. Eliot
"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all."- Aristotle
“The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.”— Plato
"You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.
"Teach your children what we have taught our children -- that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
"This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.
"Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself ..."- Chief Seattle
Sacred Beauty, Sacred Wisdom, Sacred Earth: Celebrating and
What is the point of higher education with its strive for ‘Excellence’, if it doesn’t make the students and teachers happy, healthy, kind, caring and thoughtful?
A Call to Action to all my fellow Parents and Grandparents: Please Join Me in ‘Education of My Dream’
'Let them (your pupils) study to be good rather than learned, for learning begets envy which goodness destroys. Goodness is both more useful to men and more pleasing to God than learning. It is also more enduring. We forget more quickly some facts which were quickly learned than we lose principles of conduct which we have attained by arduous daily practice. Learning in itself brings little of value, and that for only a short time, while goodness is eternal and leads to the realisation of God. Therefore, following the example of Socrates, advise your pupils to use human learning to dispel the clouds of the senses, and to bring serenity to the soul. Then will the ray of truth from the divine sun illumine the mind, and never in any other way. That is the only useful study. A man who acts otherwise labours vainly and miserably.'-Marsilio Ficino letter to Lorenzo Lippi
In order to succeed and realise our dreams, we must come together and encourage others to join us too with our belief that the main purpose and reason for education and schooling should be to transform all pupils and students, provide them with the tools of self-transformation, so that they can connect, value and appreciate all aspects of the web of life and change the world for the better.
Students and the youth wish to know more about their present and future. They want to be assured that their academic institutions care. They want to be inspired and they want hope.
There are many examples of older climate activism throughout the world, but these are often side-lined in public awareness by better known protests carried out by younger groups such as the youth climate school strikes.
With our positive, warm and supportive response to this ‘Call For Action’ we can energise and instill hope in our children and grandchildren’s campaign as they stand up for their lawful inheritance. Celebrating and honouring environmental concerns, campaign and activism by the younger generation can work to tackle unproductive stereotypes about older people’s views towards climate change and promote the importance of including the voice of older people in the climate debate, dialogue and conversation.
Climate change, health and wellbeing and other related issues must not be seen as about ‘us and them’. Climate change is affecting us all equally. Indeed, as we get older and more fragile, the urgency of the consequences of these changes on us, the older generation, becomes more profound and costly, lest we forget.
In short, all said and done, to truly tackle the climate emergency, the crisis of our time, we must ensure that climate change policy and activism works for older and younger people alike. We know that society is ageing and that climate change and its resulting effects are bringing considerable risks, not only to our children and grandchildren, but also to us, the older generation. How we respond to this hugely important issue will define us for generations. Together we can and for sure will, deliver a better future for all generations. (For further reading on intergenerational concerns see: The International Longevity Centre, Climate Just , Seniors For Climate Action Now!)
Furthermore, in contrast to the current and dominant education system, our schools should strive to guide the students into finding answers to some of the most fundamental questions we face as human beings, namely: Who and what am I? What is the purpose of this journey we call life? What does personal transformation mean? What is my relationship with life, mother nature and mother earth? What is the meaning of life? What is success? What is failure? What is money? What is wealth? What exactly do I need to be happy? What is a job? What is a career? What is work? What is service? What is my vocation in life? What is me, what is us? What is community? What is the world? Where is my place?...
‘We become teachers for the reasons of the heart.
But many of us lose heart as time goes by.
How can we take heart, alone and together,
So we can give heart to our students and our world,
Which is what good teachers do?'-THE HEART OF A TEACHER
Given my own life journey, experiences and feelings, as well as my long and rewarding years of engagement, dialogue and sharing with my students, I, too, came to the same understanding:
If I want my students to be happy, successful, leading a meaningful life, then, I must cultivate kindness and compassion in education and my teaching. And I hope one day very soon, all the schools, high schools and universities, the world over, will teach modules on kindness, compassion, happiness, simplicity, beauty, wisdom, nature, poetry, philosophy, and more, regardless of what their students are studying for.
If they don’t, then, to my mind, they have failed, and failed very badly, in their pastoral care of their students.
In order to achieve this, we should return to the time honoured wisdom and values:
In the beginning were the words...They became languages...They became poetry...They became how we express and project love, kindness, goodness, commitment and more
Let the words sing to you, dance for you, empower you to become the person you envision yourself to be: This is the mystery of values-led, purposeful and meaningful education.
This is How Wisdom Grows- Educating Hearts and Minds
‘Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.
I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.'- Lao Tzu
“When beauty touches our lives, the moment becomes luminous. These grace-moments are gifts that surprise us. When we look beyond the moment to our life journey, perhaps we can choose a new rhythm of journeying which would be more conscious of beauty and more open to inviting her to disclose herself to us in all the situations we travel through.”-John O’Donohue
Thus, Dear fellow parents and grandparents, we must become instruments of change urgently, if we wish to leave a worthy and meaningful legacy to our loved ones.
To begin this journey, my first and foremost recommendation is for us to contact our elected representatives, the politicians, the school boards, community, cultural, spiritual leaders, everybody, and demand action for change.
To my mind, the first change must be the introduction of a compulsory module in every educational institution in the land, to teach the teachings of the wisest teacher that has ever been: Mother Nature!
In short, we must call for climate education to be integrated, become mandatory and be assessed throughout the education system, by embedding it in education policy and teacher training colleges across the world.
Furthermore, this nature-inspired education must also be utilised, especially at secondary schools and universities as the focal point of solutions to address issues such as eco-anxiety, climate injustice, poverty, inequality, employment, and more, which are of utmost concern to the young people.
‘More than parent and student communities, the teaching fraternity needs to understand that the essential purpose of education is not to enable students to earn a living, but to learn how to live life. As the primal teacher, Mother Nature teaches both the secret of life, which is to respect all life, and also how to live one’s own life in harmony and balance with all creation, exemplified by the manner in which various species of the natural world live in peaceful co-existence.’
‘Picture a school where the natural environment becomes the classroom and Nature becomes one of the teachers. Even students who don't exhibit "nature smarts" will become more attuned and connected to the world around them. And as many wise people have said, we can't save something we don't love, and we can't love something we don't know. Don't we owe it to our students to help them develop their naturalist intelligence?’
We should look beyond ego, selfishness, competition, economics and money and open our eyes to beauty
“We seem to have forgotten that the human spirit is not satisfied by material progress alone. It’s time for us to reconnect with nature.”-Fiona Reynolds, former National Trust director general
“William Wordsworth is Britain’s best-loved poet, whose thoughts, sentiments and writings about people, nature and society, are so topical and current they could have been written yesterday. Wordsworth is known to be a worshiper of Nature. His love of Nature is tender and truer than any other English poets. There is a separate status of Nature in his poems. He believed that there is a divine spirit in nature. He believed that the company of nature gives joy to the human heart and he looked upon nature as a healing force. Above all, he regarded her as a great moral preacher. He believed that there is a link between man and nature.In his eyes, "Nature is a teacher whose wisdom we can learn if we will, and without which any human life is vain and incomplete. "He believed in the education of man by nature. "Sweet is the lore which Nature brings”.
"The Tables Turned”: 'Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher'.
When there is no Mother Nature Present- There is no Balanced, Values-led Education
By Forgetting Mother Nature- We have Now Ended Up with This unenviable World
A Time to Rethink What is Valuable, What We Teach, What We Learn, and How We Live
Learning from wise Mother Nature
‘In all my academic life, spanning over four decades, I have been dismayed, frustrated and overwhelmed with pain to notice that our education model has not embraced the beauty and the wisdom of our mother nature and our sacred earth, incorporating them into the teaching curriculum.
This, to my mind, has seriously deprived the students, our future leaders, or indeed, our current leaders, to get a wholesome, values-led education, and thus, has prevented them, to vision and implement policies to heal our world, to better our lives.’- Kamran Mofid
Thus, dear Parents and grandparents, this, to my mind, is how we will secure a worthy and meaningful legacy: Happy, healthy children and grandchildren
Photo: Sheeba Magazine
So, there you have it! The path to better, healthier, happier and contented children and grandchildren. We can do it, if we work together. I wish us all the best wishes and good luck.