Young Minds

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Could Do Better: Why we must set young mind free

How should he lay plans for a life-path into a future characterised by ecological disintegration and loss, and by sporadic, violent societal convulsions as the sickening realisation that our species has conspired to destroy its own habitat sinks in?

What line should he follow in order to gain skills and knowledge that might facilitate some meaningful contribution to this world-on-the-brink, while keeping himself fed, housed, possibly even happy?

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The apprenticeships are unashamedly geared to vocations in the “industrial world” – a world that depends on cheap energy, lax pollution legislation, an abundant, never-ending supply of minerals and fresh water, and an infinitely large landfill hole in which to dump billions of toxic, obsolete products each year.

[…] Even if it offers careers in the short term, the long-term is considerably more shaky, to say nothing of soul-destroying: where is the satisfaction in working for the pointless, hopeless goal of contributing to consumption rates until the planet can’t take it any more?

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proof of competence comes from feats of memory, and modernity and growth go largely unchallenged.

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The unstated assumption is that the conveyor belts are all working fine, and a cheerfully unquestioning outlook of hard work and compliance will bring fulfilling working lives for all.

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Being grateful for having one of the least bad jobs in a system of accelerating destruction and inequity is neither individually nor societally empowering.

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I want them to know, before they get strapped into debt and career ladders and blinded by business bullshit, that the world out there is theirs and that they must grasp it.

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“That would entail resetting the global economic system so that young people are largely employed in locally-focused, eco-restorative livelihoods!”

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I didn’t need to tell [my youngest son] that school is a factory; he knows that. He knows how it feels to have to ask permission to move. He knows that much of the natural world is dying. He knows that his teachers can’t see what he sees. He understands that they are no longer aware of the bars behind which they go through the motions. He indulges them in their world.

His childhood is not their childhood. Unlike many kids, my son knows all this consciously and can articulate it. His adjustment to high school could well be slow and difficult. I pray that it is incomplete.

 

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