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Learning at its Best, Philosophical Meanderings

The Solution to Every Problem That Impacts People, Animals, and the Planet

Image courtesy of CERTs via Creative Commons.

I wanted to share a recent post I wrote for One Green Planet, a website dedicated to ethical choices. Here’s an excerpt from “The Solution to Every Problem That Impacts People, Animals, and the Planet”:

“About 25 years ago I submitted a question to a local newspaper contest about what I perceived as a largely unaddressed quandary: Since we measure the health and well-being of our nation primarily as growth in the GDP; and since unlimited growth is destructive (and ultimately impossible) because of the negative consequences that arise with more people, more resource depletion, more pollution, etc.; our primary indicator for health and well-being was ultimately one that led to numerous dangerous systems. Given the negative repercussions of such growth, why was (and is) our national conversation about how well our nation is doing limited to the growth of GDP?”

Read the complete essay.

~ Zoe

About zoeweil

I'm the co-founder and President of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). IHE works to create a world in which we all live humanely, sustainably, and peaceably. We do this by training people to be humane educators who teach about the pressing issues of our time and inspire people to work for change while making healthy, humane, and restorative choices in their daily lives. We also work to advance the field of humane education, and to provide tools and inspiration to people everywhere so that they can live examined, meaningful lives. I'm also a writer. So far I've written six books and several articles.


2 thoughts on “The Solution to Every Problem That Impacts People, Animals, and the Planet

  1. It is Interesting to me that there are such parallels between the paths to effective learning and sustainable, humane, happy living – beyond the link between the two that you so appropriately and correctly noted in your commentary. A few include:

    (1) While most people, when given the opportunity to investigate the research and “sign on” for either one, would do so enthusiastically, there will be a small determined group that would remain set in their thinking. I would suggest the real issue is that the larger proportion are – through their relative silence – enabling the smaller proportion to maintain control.

    (2) Within the larger proportion, there is dedication to the three C’s applied in response to the three R’s – except for some unexplained reason (for me at least), we in the choir don’t cooperate among ourselves and the important AND NECESSARY / CRITICAL potential remains unrealized.

    (3) Ironically, that unrealized potential not only prevents meaningful and defendable outcomes, it in my view also sucks all the joy and satisfaction out of our lives.

    (4) From Dan Pink’s excellent writing in “Drive,” he talks about the three elements (autonomy, mastery, and purpose) as the keys to intrinsic motivation so important to successful outcomes. Clearly, the sense of purpose for the larger proportion will sustain the motivation leading to successful outcomes. From my experiences with students dedicated to successful outcomes / effective learning, the motivation from the three elements not only leads to success BUT ALSO THE SATISFACTION THAT PROVIDES THE JOY AND SUSTAINABILITY THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. There is no doubt in my mind that similar outcomes will happen in the other area(s) with similar mentored and cooperative efforts.

    (5) As for the seemingly large variation in proposed solutions among the choir of any topic such as sustainable and humane growth or education, these different approaches provide an excellent foundation for collaboration. But the goal is not the best compromise; the goal is the BETTER ALTERNATIVE. Through effective collaboration, following the writings of Stephen Covey in his latest book, “The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems,” that better alternative (one each party to the effort believes is better than the one championed at the start of the effort) will emerge. For education, I’ve been calling the group a local Education Community; similar “communities” can and should be organized in response to sustainable, humane development and all other important issues.

    (6) Finally, I’ll make two predictions for responses to the emerging better alternatives from these communities: (a) the communities will gain participation from the smaller portion as these people acknowledge the impact of the better alternative; and (b) the new issues for the communities will be to rein in the enthusiastic participation to maintain an appropriate and sustainable balance.

    It starts with organizing and then growing the choir …

    Posted by John Bennett | April 30, 2012, 10:58 am
  2. Thanks so much for your insightful and interesting comments here that really add to my own thinking. Appreciate it!

    Posted by Zoe Weil | May 3, 2012, 8:13 am

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