SNS Press: Seeking New Solutions

June, 2010
Vol. 9, Number 6


Home Page About SNS Press Author Richard Sidy Contact Us Buy Publications


A hopeful approach for the future of international relations.

Redirect teen rebellion towards idealism and self improvement.

Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.

Poems of society, the human condition, and spiritual discovery.

Our student activities and curriculum materials instill an environmental, cultural, and global perspective, and integrate various academic disciplines.

Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds





This Month's Article

Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy

In our schools we emphasize and test the teaching of literacy. We tout literacy as a decisive factor in the education and development of children and civilization. Nevertheless, many children remain ecologically illiterate. As population pressures put the ecosystems that support us at risk, it is more urgent than ever that environmental literacy be taught. Education must teach the interrelationships between a healthy body, a healthy environment and a healthy economy. This is nothing short of teaching a way of life that is sustainable.  No matter where children live, they need to develop an awareness of the kinship and responsibility of their own lifestyle as consumers and producers with the life of the planet, and help create a future economy that supports both.

On hot summer day-camp days some years ago I used to take children to the creeks and rivers in our area. It was so beautiful to float on an inner tube through these lifelines of the high desert and listen and watch cliff swallows dart and swoop, or see blue herons wade and fish. Hawks would circle on the rising heat high above the colonies of other birds, lush plants and creatures that the watershed supports. The children’s play and explorations enabled them to experience the environment with an unhurried intimacy, and they became friends with it.

We always took large bags with us and cleaned the shores of trash thoughtless visitors left after their days of pleasure and play. I would always point out to the children that most sources of trash that polluted the beaches and rocky banks were things that were really not good for peoples’ health.

The lesson in this is that people who pollute the environment are first polluting their bodies. How can we teach people to take care of the environment if they don’t take care of themselves? Environmental and economic catastrophes that darken our spirit these days are the results of unhealthy living. When we look at the earth holistically as an organism we gain a new perspective of the human being’s place in it and our responsibility.

Sustainability is a consequence of responsible living, and the keynote of health. It is based upon the balance of taking and giving back — of using resources in a way that is not wasteful or damaging. When an organism is healthy it sustains its life and other lives. Environmental sustainability follows the same law of give and take, and succeeds when one nurtures it as a good partner and a good custodian.  Our well-being as living organisms is connected to the well-being of our environment. The environment is not separate or alien from us; rather it follows the same principles of life in the same cooperative and interdependent system in which we all live.

Economic activity is the manifestation of human interaction with the environment. The tragic and deadly tar and chemicals gushing from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico are symptoms of an unhealthy addiction to a toxic-dependent lifestyle with a dead end. This crisis demonstrates the consequences of ignoring the interrelationship between the health of our body, the environment and the economy. A healthy economy is a continuous cycle: conservation, growth, use, renewal. These qualities are what make for healthy living and healthy environmental practices as well. We need to be aware that we live on an island in space with finite boundaries and finite resources that must be continuously cared for.

As we teach children the academic tools for success, we need to also give them the tools for applying their knowledge and meeting their needs in a sustainable way. Individual success is empty if it does not contribute to a healthy and happy life for oneself and others. The essence of ecological literacy is the realization that one is an important agent in the healing and transformation of oneself, the environment and the economy. When all individuals participate in this transformation, we will create communities that are cohesive, prosperous and sustainable.

© 2010 Richard V. Sidy


Read Related Articles on SNS Press

Series on Global Consciousness from the book World Diplomacy

Criminal Justice Part 2 — The Ethic of Custodianship

"Fast Food is really Slow Food"— A New Look at the Food Chain

Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity

Energy Independence

Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival

Sustainable Development is Nature's Way

The Imaginary Economy — Part I

The Imaginary Economy — Part II


You may email this article by using the link below:


Archives Column Menu
archives archives archives
Archives 2002:
Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003:
Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life
Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004:
Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity
Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"
Archives 2007:
Vol. 6, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
State of Fear
Criminal Justice
Culture Shock
Personal Ecology
Exploring the Mind - Parts 1 and 2
How Much Pain Can We Stand?
Archives 2008:
Vol. 7, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Beyond Ideology
The Imaginary Economy
Tribalism and the 2008 Election
Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice
Have We Been Willing Slaves?
Are We Ready for the Future?
Archives 2009:
Vol. 8, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
The Good New Days
The Time is Right
The New Anarchy
The Art of Living
Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?
From Cowboys to Cowed
Who are the Real Game Changers?
Archives 2010:
Vol. 9, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
The Music of Place
Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
The Sense of Place
Why do People Serve?
Ecological Literacy
Organization or Organism?
Are we afraid of our Better Angels?
Choosing our Battles

Meeting the Need
Diplomacy Help for Teens Science and Religion Poetry Archives
© 2010 SNS Press
All Rights Reserved

Web Design: Richard V. Sidy
SNS Press: Seeking New Solutions Home