Thursday, March 13, 2014

Missing Water, Dirty Air and Opportunities for Personal Growth.

The haze outside must be way over 100 with little seen even across the street. Add the water rationing situation and we are experiencing first hand what we often talk theoretically about in terms of global issues. Except now we're no longer talking about smog in Beijing or water limitations in Africa that we see on YouTube. This is here and now. 

The silver lining is the singular opportunity to experience water shortages and dirty air (though still nothing severe or chronic) and the learning that these difficulties lend themselves to. Parents as well as teachers should take this opportunity to partake in conversations with their children/students. Not to complain about it, but to step outside of it and look at it from a global and local perspective. 

For example, the water outage on Tuesday prompted a stop-gap purchase or paper plates and plastic single use utensils as an immediate solution. It did provide opportunity to eat, but also added waste. This, in turn, resulted in frank conversations about alternative solutions such as the bringing of personal containers and utensils or interacting with our vendors to promote the preparation of foods that will not generate excess waste. There are probably as many solutions as there are creative minds and we might need a more systematic approach if the water shortages continue for long. 

Similarly, the haze offers itself to some deep and powerful conversations within the social studies and humanities classes school-wide. It also offers an excellent opportunity for the discussion of the connection between economy, environment and society at school and at home. Recognition of connections both in terms of the "global issues" and in terms of local and/or personal solutions provides tools to increase our knowledge and skills with regard to dealing with such issues.

This is how growth takes shape. So even if we're stuck with the current problems, we might as well get started on understanding and solving them!  

1 comment:

Robert Steele said...

Great example about the challenges of sustainability explained here, especially regarding the story of the water outage event, which lead to purchasing and use of one time plastic utensils. This is a great learning opportunity, as the author states (I think it is Laurence) and also brings up great discussion materials/opportunities for looking at global issues and more importantly, trends and limits of existing system conditions. Where is ISKL and the state that it resides in with regards to water security, or energy security? In many ways, sustainability is also about building resilience to the growing stresses and adapting with new practices and innovations to be able to continue to flourish within the changing system conditions.
Robert Steele - Compass Education