Is an education replete of nature literacy of lesser value than an education which incorporates values and skills that enable a person to live responsibly within nature?
Reflecting on meeting a woman who held a doctoral degree, but who admitted that she was unaware of the annual migration of cranes in her own state, Aldo Leopold questioned whether modern education has “traded for something of lesser value”. He said this in the context of being aware, of paying attention to the goings and comings of wildlife and seasons, and by that, knowing fundamentally where you live and how to live there without destroying it.
David Orr goes further by asking What is Education For?
This is not an argument for ignorance but rather a statement that the worth of education must now be measured against the standards of decency and human survival-the issues now looming so large before us in the twenty-first century. It is not education, but education of a certain kind, that will save us.
Orr points out in this essay that its educated people who are most destructive to the Earth and ecosystems. What went wrong?
What do you think? Should education ensure that all American students will graduate knowing their place within the natural world, and understanding the responsibilities therein? Would you consider that kind of education basic literacy? Higher education? Why or why not?
Other Interesting Reading Along These Lines:
Richard Louv: The Nature Principle
What 20th Century Nature Study Can Teach Us