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What went wrong?

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    A decade or so ago I was excited to see how school curriculums were quite green – teaching the harmful effects of chemicals on soils and waterways and seeing many schools setting up organic gardens for teaching. As far as I know they’re still doing this. I anticipated that generation would grow up with a desire to live in a manner friendly to the Earth, but I have to say I’m disappointed. I was even happy to be criticised as one of the Baby Boomer generation for our obsession with wealth creation and spending, thinking they wouldn’t go down this road. From what I can see they’re outdoing anything we did on a much greater scale. So, what went wrong?


    Unfortunately, Greed is what went wrong. There is much greed in the world and its the cause of pretty much all the problems on the planet – wars. racism and the state of the environment. Communism, in theory, could be wonderful, but not while there is any greed in existance.

    without greed…. well I could waffle on about it for ages but you get my point…


    I’d say fear, for greed is a result of fear, the fear of not enough. Fear drives us to ignore what we feel we cannot do anything about. I’m probably in the age group you indicate, (only just as green thoughts were seeping in as I went through school, but still only on the fringe) and our greatest fear was nuclear war. Such a fear of imminent death drove us to live for today, as there might not be a tomorrow…


    To answer your question, I don’t know but if you think about their teachers, (parents/community) they primarily are not setting a good example.

    I was reading an article a few weeks back and it basically said that the Y generation and Internet generation are the groups that advertisers target these days and it certainly works.


    Hello Warm earth

    I am a primary school teacher. Every year I would teach a focussed unit on Refuse/reuse/reduce/recycle and recycle within our own classroom all year. I’d also teach about ecosystems. Another area of concern was health so I’d teach about nutrition and exercise. I am not a chalk and talk teacher in these areas (although that method has its place). So we did a lot of hands on student centred activities.

    What did I repeatedly find? Students were enthusiatic and excited to share. Made great observations and were more caring about things – at school! But if the awareness and ideas are not supported at home then the studentsare torn or put in a never never.

    We might keep a diary on how much fruit and veg we eat every day for a week, analyse this at the end, graph it and compare it to the healthy food pyramid but children were still sent to school with individually wrapped minis of various junk food. We might sort our paper in the classroom but I’d see some of those same students drop litter down the street.

    I often reflected on my teaching practice and on how I could make activities more meaningful and ways in which students could generalise concepts learned in one are to others. But even though I am ‘in loco parentis’ I am not the parent.

    At highschool level – well there are a whole heap of factors that affect the hormone plagued, peer pressured student who doesn’t have to even study science or health if that is not a topic chosen.

    I see life as a jigsaw puzzle. Each person has a piece. No ONE person is to blame or in charge of the entire puzzle. We all have to work together to achieve the picture. So when it comes to a child’s life – placing those pieces in the correct spot, the most harmonious and effective way is up to all of us. Some people choose to jam a piece n that doesn’t quite fit, lose thier piece or just toss it back on the pile in any haphazard way trying to maybe look for a new one.


    My son is very “green” aware thanks to his school (and probably me lol)


    It can get a bit depressing can’t it, Warwick?

    And Newepoch, I’ve spent a lot of time in schools and know what you’re talking about.


    There’s greed, there’s peer pressure, and all of what’s been said above. As a parent I wonder how much of an impression I’ve made doing the things I’ve done. I know other parents whose children have gone off the rails or succumbed to peer pressure in some way, or ditched a green/conservative/simple living lifestyle, only to go out there and live life their own way for a few years and then realise that what they learnt at home wasn’t so wacky after all, and alter some habits they’d taken up. Of course they’d be the lucky ones whose parents cared for them and demonstrated a responsible way of living to begin with. There are many children who don’t have this background and hopefully what they learnt in school would hopefully kick in at some stage.

    Young people seem to need to rebel a bit away from their parents ideals, although none of mine have done it in any significant way at all.

    Newepoch, don’t all highschoolers have to study science/health until Year 10, after which subjects become elective for the final two years and only English is compulsory? I’ve been out of highschools for a few years now, homeschooling instead, so I’ve had a memory blank on highschool subjects!



    i understand what you getting at but we all learned maths at school and not all of us are mathematicians…so why would you think we all would turn out greenies or greedy…we are human and all differant


    Maths, Stark – just what I was discussing with a friend yesterday…

    Very smart and highly intelligent, she rang me yesterday (I should be flattered!) as she’d totally forgotten a measurement rule and needed to work something out in a hurry.

    The discussion led to how what we learn in school doesn’t always make sense (and therefore may not fully sink in) unless/until we’ve used it in real life and are able to apply it and fully understand and appreciate it. If that makes sense…


    Sometimes it takes an event or situation (sometimes drastic) in our adult life to recall what we’ve learnt in childhood and learn all over again to integrate into our lives now.


    Don’t we just bumble in the wrong direction? DDT was a life saver initially and welcomed with open arms. Airtravel became economical so we all want to travel. Now we have polution from jet fuel and vapour trails. Rip out the trees and put sheep on the land. Now we live with the legacy. It is the cane-toad story time and time again. We think we have found the solution only to discover we have created a problem. There are any number of examples and we don’t ever really learn.


    As a recipient of the education you speak of (and my mum is a primary school teacher, teaching it all) I reckon I can say a few things… Firstly, the lesson is only as good as the teacher – if 50% of the students of the 80s had teachers who thought recycling, and anything else environmental was bollocks, then 50% of the kids will probably think that. Also, they way we were taught tended to centre on things like recycling, so I think a lot of mid-20 to mid-30 yos think that if they recycle then they have done their bit.

    Greed, fear and the marketing machine play a big part, too. “Greed is good” was the motto of the 80s so children of the 80s still have it programmed into their brains.

    TBH I think we were taught that recycling, planting a few trees and donating to a “green” charity would take it all away – we were never taught about reducing consumption etc.


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