With the arrival of my first son, I’m tormented by the measured lack of vision of public education. I’m also tortured by our lack of practical application from the scientific discoveries opening in our universities like flowers in the spring. Healthy minds, bodies, and emotions, sustainable economies and environmental balances are within our grasp but we continue to practice short sighted profit as a society. A short sighted profit that not only damages the environment, but also costs countless lives in the endless conflicts that arise from our lack of economic balance and harmony.
During the Revolutionary war, we lost 25,000 Americans fighting for independence. Bennington, Vt. has a population of 15,737. During the Civil war we lost over 750,000 Americans, which is more than the entire population of Vermont (626,630). During World War I we lost over 116,000 and during WWII we lost 405,000 Americans. Miami, Florida has a population of 417,650. In the Korean war, we lost 36,000 and in Vietnam we lost 58,000 men and women. Burlington, Vt has about 42,284 people. And these numbers do not include the dozens of other conflicts we’ve had, nor the losses on the other side of the conflicts mentioned. It’s staggering to imagine.
In 1919, after WWI, Veteran’s Day was created in hopes of World Peace. However, when discussing the establishment of World Peace as an educational vision for public education, I hear that “World Peace” is silly, impossible, not practical, ridiculous, and ‘pie in the sky’. “Get a job” is the most accepted vision. But, what would our veterans say? What about our children headed for serious conflicts as our global economy and energy struggles continue to grow.
This Holiday Season, I’d like to honor our veterans, past, present, and future, with a dream for public education around the world. I’d like to give thanks to the fallen and the soon to fall in every country by working for a world where public education makes a serious commitment to the vision of a just economy for world peace. Just imagine if things looked something like this around the globe:
(non-violent means of handling our struggles)
(development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs)
Harmony with self
(healthy mind, body, and emotional organization)
Harmony with others
(Economy, Community, Family)
Harmony with Nature
(food, shelter, travel, energy)
Of course mathematics, the sciences, literacy, the humanities, and the arts are all important and must be taught. But they must be taught within a learning environment structured around world peace and sustainability. Is there any goal more worthy of our efforts?
Socrates once said that “education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” This Holiday Season, let us all kindle the flames of harmony within ourselves, our families, and our environment to bring our children the warmth of a sustainable peace this world has never seen.