By Laurence Myers
Sustainability & Service Learning Coordinator
International School of Kuala Lumpur
Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced its recommendation that humanity had 86 years to rid itself of fossil fuels altogether. I couldn't help but think about the enormity of that statement. Could an international organization of scientists really be asking the world to change everything it has done over the past 150 years so drastically?
When I saw the news on BBC I was sitting in a hotel room in Borneo. I had taken two taxis and a plane to get there. I would do the same to return home. If the statement was correct than these two modes of transport, for one, would need to be redesigned in order for someone in my shoes to be able to have a similar experience and result in zero carbon emissions. Is that even possible? The stress that could cause is already palpable to many - particularly in our global community - but humanity is already in a position to deliver.
Humanity's ability to create, to think divergently, to problem solve, and to deal with crisis is singular. It is the reason at ISKL we focus so heavily on our School wide Learning Results: Think Creatively; Learn Enthusiastically; Communicate Effectively; Reason Critically: Collaborate Effectively: Live Ethically.
The days in Borneo were crystal clear and brilliantly beautiful, a far cry from the haze we sometimes experience in Kuala Lumpur. It was looking up to that that I realised just how wonderful the vision of a carbon emission free world could be. How fantastic for all of us to think of new ways of being, living, doing. How wonderful to take the great minds that already collaborate but do so with a higher cause in mind: Humanity.
Optimism replace the initial dread. My concern about how I might address it in this very post was replaced with a sense of faith and purpose for all of us, whether we work in schools or businesses or embassies or energy. Faith that, though there is much to be done, and our existence is bound to be shaped in ways that we cannot yet fathom, we have the tools to build a pretty awesome future.
And therein, I found a strange sense of calm and urgency both in one. Calm in that it can be done. Urgency in that, if we have 86 years to change the world we have to get started today. Education, though powerful, takes time to take shape, meaning that now is an apropos time to start. They say hope springs eternal. There is work to be done by us all. The future awaits. Our students have the power and skills to invent it. I find that - our students - the best reason for hope of all.
This blog is currently being updated by Laurence Myers, K-12 Service Learning Coordinator at the American School of Dubai. We are hoping the blog becomes a compilation of posts from a variety of people in the region and around the world. Want to add something? Send it along!