“We are Nature — Nature is us;
what we do to it, we do to ourselves.”
The next day, following her sunrise exercise and meditation routine on the forward trampoline and before the other passengers had come up onto the deck, Lua confessed to me that she felt deeply heartsick about how many people she had met over the years that see the world in the same way that Tucker does.
She said that she believed this was the fault of our narrowly focused and obsolete programs of education. The education required for thriving in the 21st century will need to be radically different than what we have become accustomed to, she asserted. It will have to draw on ecological design intelligence and systems thinking to understand the full context in which we live and to deal effectively with the complex and interrelated problems we will face.
We must transcend 'human supremacy', Lua insisted. This hubris of human exceptionalism is the delusional belief that we are somehow outside of Nature, that we are free to ignore the same biological laws as every other species on the planet. It is this delusional and dangerously false exceptionalism that deceives us into pursuing infinite growth and callously sacrificing countless other species against their will. All new education programs must embrace 'biospherism'. She explained it like this,
"Biospherism implies unity and connection. It addresses underlying root causes, not superficial symptoms. It seeks beauty and balance. And it re-asserts that we are Nature — Nature is us; what we do to it, we do to ourselves."
More generally, the education required to deal with our complex challenges will require that we think much more broadly and critically, that we treat radical new approaches and ideas with attention and respect, and that we perceive systems and patterns accurately as they are, not as we wish them to be. We must consider the long-term effects of our actions in the living world to help create healthy, durable, resilient, just, and prosperous human communities that maintain thriving, regenerative land and sea ecosystems and sustainable food supplies.
Education in this new century needs a radical upgrade, as it will have the daunting task of preparing us to deal effectively with mounting complex ecological challenges that are now global in scale. It will also need to equip us with the new problem-solving, co-creating, and leadership skills that will be required to safely navigate a more-likely-than-not fiercely difficult future.
I felt just as concerned as Lua about our lack of preparedness for dealing with our mounting ecological challenges — for I too had been following these disturbing trends for many years.