Are We There Yet?

In a classic case of better late than never, an international panel of scientists has warned that we have passed the global-change tipping point. Actually, in this case, it is not better late than never: it’s so late, it might as well be never.

Fortunately, these scientists fail to recognize the importance and timeliness of the good news. The Boston Globe is calling the financial system a doomsday machine, and the vaunted journal of record for the financial industry, the Wall Street Journal, is using the words, “pandemic of fear”. Neither publication is explicitly acknowledging the link between the economic mess and cheap energy (although some of the on-line comments are doing it for them). The New York Times points out there’s not much hope for new oil and gas discoveries to restore economic growth: “The great American drilling boom is over.”.
I spent the last two days at the mud hut with two students. They are developing K-5 curricula for the post-carbon era, so they visited home-schooling kids and parents, the guy in the area who has been literally living on the land for two decades, the live-in cave built by an artist and former UPS driver (he started digging the cave with a spoon, but now he uses a small pick), and other folks living at the periphery of empire. One of the students co-authored a report last year based on an independent-study project, and they both visited the mud hut before it was completed. I’ll be posting a link to this year’s report when it’s available, probably in May.

Comments 1

  • Teaching children is a surprisingly economical venture. My kids, by and large, have been home educated. We dabbled in traditional school, but found the experience stifling in the extreme. The only reason we did it was to meet more neighborhood kids for the sake of my oldest–who recently discovered there weren’t many worth knowing available at the school. (There were plenty of future thugs, mindless consumers and middle-managers, though.) For all the whining done by the school about lack of money, it seemed creativity and genuine interest in fostering a resourceful “next generation” were the items most noticably lacking. Meanwhile, they had bureaucratic bullshit and crushing conformity in abundance.
    I have to say, I love how most calls to reform school involve lengthening compulsory education, dumping in money, and adding administrative crap to the already enormous pile of dung that is public education. But, it does fit with the whole “Well, X didn’t get us to Y, so clearly we just need more X!” way of thinking…
    I’m very interested in what your students have to say on the topic–if they post it.