Garn Press Asks What Teachers Can Do to add to David Suzuki’s 5 Things We Must Do Immediately to Stop Humanity’s Collision Course

“The longer we delay addressing environmental problems, the more difficult it will be to resolve them,” Suzuki writes (EcoWatch, 2017).

Suzuki Identifies Five Things we can do to Respond to the Existential Risks Confronting Humanity

  1. Bring environmentally damaging activities under control to restore and protect the integrity of the earth’s systems we depend on;
  2. Manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively;
  3. Reduce and eventually eliminate poverty;
  4. Ensure sexual equality and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions;
  5. Stabilize population.

The most urgent thing is to develop a new ethic that encompasses our responsibility to ourselves and nature, and that recognizes our dependence on Earth and its natural systems for all we need.

“Forewarned is forearmed,” Suzuki writes. “We can’t let the lure of the almighty buck blind us. We must come together, speak up and act for the good of all humanity.

Garn Press Asks what Teachers can do to Respond to the Existential Risks Confronting Humanity

Teachers and administrators in public schools are positioned advantageously to respond to the five things Suzuki identifies:

  1. Connecting children to the planet – which is their home – should be a high priority, and protecting earth’s systems should be central to the public school curriculum;
  2. Making managing resources crucial to human welfare an essential component of children’s educational experience;
  3. Ensuring the elimination of poverty is central to the management of all public school resources, and that all children have the opportunity – from kindergarten through graduate school – to become active participants in initiatives and projects to eliminate poverty;
  4. Making equality a reality by recognizing the equal status of all children and adults, and building on the democratic principle that the ascription of hierarchies is an artificial contrivance that has negative consequences in human societies;
  5. Providing young people with thoughtfully and sensitively presented scientifically grounded information on human sexuality and reproduction.

All these “things” are open to discussion within the education community, and there are no sure ways to mitigate the existential risks our children face. The one point that is indisputable and rock solid is that teachers and administrators have an important role to play in ensuring public schools change rapidly to accommodate the needs of children in these life threatening times.

Make no mistake, corporate reform of public schools and the privatization of public schools is a hostile act that will adversely impact the ability of the nation’s children to respond to their rapidly changing social and physical worlds. Sticking with the five “things” Suzuki outlines above, corporate education reform is designed to:

  1. Harness and profit from the talents and resources of children to continue the wealth concentrating, commerce driven human activities that are damaging the planet;
  2. Disregard the importance of teaching children to manage the sustainable resources crucial to human welfare, and inculcate in them attitudes and dispositions that make plundering the planet to increase corporate wealth a noble ideal;
  3. Transform the idea of “eliminating poverty” into a persuasive propaganda device that can be used to corporate advantage to hoodwink the public – especially people living in poverty who are unethically manipulated;
  4. Verbally attack and physically threaten teachers while expressing a desire for equality, yet living self-aggrandizing lifestyles which are based on unacceptable artificial human hierarchies that are indisputably causing damage to the planet;
  5. Ignore human sexuality and reproduction rights and responsibilities, because many corporate school reformers who wield enormous power are also members of political organizations that are intent on reversing Roe v. Wade, and they support the steps that have been taken in many states to control women’s human reproductive rights.

The bottom line is that the rejection of corporate school reform is one of paramount importance and should have the highest priority to ratchet-down the existential risks our children face, while ratcheting-up the opportunities our children have to respond to the threats to human existence both known and unknown. There is no doubt the lives of all our children are on the line, and our task is to make them as safe as we can in this very dangerous time.

More about David Suzuki: David Suzuki Reflects on his Last 80 years

David Suzuki, CC OBC is a Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist.Environmentalist David Suzuki sits down with Peter Mansbridge as he prepares for his 80th birthday. 


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