Friday, October 26, 2007

The Global Environment Outlook-4

Khadimir alerted me to the UN's "The Global Environment Outlook-4," a 5-year report about the sorry state that the whole world is in. The BBC headline:
Continuing destruction of the natural world is affecting the health, wealth and well-being of people around the globe, according to a major UN report.

In the report, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon writes
This assault on the global environment risks undermining the many advances human society has made in recent decades.

Bad news all around.

Since David Sobel’s book Beyond Ecophobia, there has been some debate about whether reporting of environmental news in such dire terms is serving to fuel political change. Or if, by creating an association between fear and the environment, apocalyptic reports will push people to tune out.

Sobel recommends that education introduce students to nature with an eye to play, empathy, and exploration. Only once people (children) have cultivated an attachment to natural landscapes should the environment as problem be introduced.

There is some reason to this. But political change to address environmental problems cannot wait for us to reform education and then for biophilic children to grow into environmentally-aware adults. Tell-it-like-it-is reports are necessary for motivating global political change NOW.

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