Teach THIS generation, not the next one

June 10, 2023 by Joshua
in Education, Leadership, Nature

I constantly hear people saying teaching the next generation will solve our environmental problems.

They’re sloughing their problems onto others, abdicating responsibility.

Overflowing trash can

Nobody taught older generations today to wreck the environment. I learned to protect it so presume most others were taught so too. Most people continue wrecking the environment.

It didn’t work for us. Why should we think it will work for them?

I learned “leave it better than you found it.” I don’t know a single adult who lives this way. If we ever say “leave it better than you found it” anymore, we don’t practice it.

If we tell, or lecture, children to do what we don’t, we’re just teaching them to learn “the environment is one of those things grown-ups tell us one thing and do another.” They learn that when they grow up, they’ll just do what we did, which is not to leave it better than we found it.

Children don’t vote, own assets, run companies, hold office, or do anything that can change culture, institutions, or organizations.

What to do instead

Instead of teaching children, lead adults, especially influential ones who can change culture, institutions, or organizations. Lead CEOs, elected officials, movie stars, star athletes, entrepreneurs, and so on. If you want to influence children, lead teachers and principals. So far, they know little of how to lead on sustainability, so largely do what I call “stepping on the gas, thinking it’s the brake, wanting congratulations.”

If we teach teachers, they’ll teach kids, or at least kids will figure out how to learn. If we don’t teach teachers, they’ll think they’re teaching stability, but they won’t be. Teaching sustainability for them will be like teaching piano from only reading books, never putting your fingers on the keyboard.

Why we suggest teaching them

The people I see wanting to teach children pollute. I think they don’t want to stop and don’t know how to lead, so they want action to happen later, after they’ve bought all they want and have flown more.

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